Will Labor be saved by the goldfields?

The basic point about elections are that they are usually competitions about the provision of goods and services valued by all voters. Everybody wants better schools, hospitals, public transport etc. For this reason electoral swings tend to be fairly uniform as Gary King argues. Ryan Sheales complains:

Both major parties want to create more jobs, increase public safety, oversee a better health system and have public transport services run more smoothly. Both are proposing an anti-corruption commission, more police, to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent, cheaper electricity for pensioners and to push for a national disability support scheme. As such, the campaign has become a debate about which party voters can trust to deliver on these undeniably worthy objectives. But there’s been no serious clash of ideas. As much as both parties would dispute it, this election has become a contest of managers – not leaders.

But this is what you would expect under a democracy. Divergent swings can occur when some voters don’t want the good on offer: Howard’s cultural politics in 2001 & 2004 or the mining tax in 2010. In Victoria in 1999 voters diverged by region as to whether the Kennett government was supplying  quality government services. Most of the marginals seats are in Melbourne and those issues working against the government, such as public transport, seem to have the most traction in Melbourne and Geelong. John Ferguson declares:

Any anti-Government swing will not be uniform. Ministers will probably lose seats. Labor seats in real danger of falling are Mt Waverley, Gembrook, Forest Hill, Mitcham, Frankston, Prahran and Bentleigh. Seymour, the main Black Saturday seat, is tipped to stay with Labor. But Melbourne could fall to the Greens and speculation abounds of Bendigo West falling.

But those elctorates listed as in ‘real danger’ are marginal you would expect them to fall with a swing to the Coalition.

Attempting to discern any pattern from hints of party polling is difficult. But both published polls for South Barwon had Labor in deep trouble and seems reasonable to expect this could be common across Geelong. Will the Libs on Monday wish they had done more on the ground campaigning in Geelong & Bellarine rather than just swamping voters in mail-outs? A big swing across Geelong could still yield the Liberals only South Barwon. But Geelong electorate & Bellarine were both Liberal on their current boundaries on the 1999 figures. The JWS poll had Labor performing well in the rural marginals. Will Labor be saved by the goldfields? On 50% 2PP Labor still has a majority. My prediction is that Labor will lose South Barwon and several seats in Melbourne, it may all come down to the other Geelong seats. A swing against Labor in Geelong is bad news for the Greens in Western Victoria province however. The Labor/Green battle is difficult to read, can the Greens take yet more votes from Labor? The Liberal preference decision has empowered the Green narrative of Labor/Liberal identity but this will not outweigh the preferences lost. Still you would expect somewhere the Greens will win a seat their primary vote is now so high that they would be unlucky for this not to occur.

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