February 11, 2011

Horse 1149 - NSW Election 2011 - A Turn on the Swings

The 2011 NSW State Election will be an interesting one, though one that's perhaps mind-numbingly easy to predict.

Given that:
- the 2009 Queensland Election saw a 4.6% swing away from Labor,
- the 2010 Tasmianian Election saw a 12.3% swing away from Labor,
- the 2010 Victorian Election saw a 6.8% swing away from Labor,
- the 2010 South Australian Election saw a 7.8% swing away from Labor,
- the 2010 Federal Election saw a 5.4% swing away from Labor,
it's pretty obvious right now that "brand Labor" has a whiff of "off cabbage" to the electorate.

In NSW in particular where the Liberal Party is now totally unknown to the majority of the electorate and the Labor Party is really on the nose, then it's not much of a jump to suggest that a swing against Labor of 12% or worse is highly likely.

What's really intriguing though is the fact that if it wasn't for the by-election in Penrith, the preference for the local candidate is almost entirely determined by geography.
Provided you lived south of the Parramatta River and to the West in Sydney, you got a Labor member. If you lived on the North Shore and Sutherland, you got a Liberal member. If you lived in the two steel towns of Wollongong and Newcastle, you were likely to get a Labour member. And if you lived in the country, you'd usually get a National member except where a Liberal was running alone, or in places like Bathurst, the Blue Mountains or the Snowy.

If we assume a roughly uniform swing of 12% against Labor in NSW (which is probably likely given the results in Tasmania and the general loathing in NSW), then it's likely that the results will be as follows:
Liberal 44
National 14
(making a coalition of 58, 11 seats more than the 47 required for government)
Labor 26
Greens 2
Independents 7

Interestingly the seat of Kiama which is currently sitting on that 12% line and is currently considered to be a safe seat, might come down to a matter of tens of votes. The actual result would be irrelevant considering that 11 other seats would flip before it, but it produces an interesting statistic.

Also of note is the seat of Port Stephens. What I find utterly mind-blowing is that the 2007 result was eventually decided on 5th preferences and still managed to come down to just 66 votes in 2007. Yet for some reason that still totally mystifies me, there are only two candidates running in the 2011 election. You'd think that even if an independent stuck their name on the ballot paper, they be able to blow the whole seat open. But then again if this seat was a barometer for the whole election, it would swing 12% in favour of the Liberal candidate.

Still, come 27th March, Barry O'Farrell is likely to be the next Premier of NSW and I bet that within a week the "decent and respectable people of New South Wales" will wake up with a post-election hangover and realise that the water companies, schools, and the railways will all be on eBay.

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