Friday, March 23, 2007

NSW Elections 2007 - Strangeness continues

Graphic: Results of public opinion poll, Sydney Morning Herald.

In a way the attached graphic from the Sydney Morning Herald says it all.

Fifty two per cent of the electorate believes Labor does not deserve to be elected. Normally this would be the kiss of death for any Government. But in this case 57 per cent of the electorate believes the opposition does not deserve to win. That 5 per cent gap translates to a significant Labor victory as measured by the latest poll.

Neither the pollsters or commentators including myself have ever seen an election like this. Well, I am now going to stick my neck out.

My original forecast on this blog was that neither Government or opposition would get a majority, with independents holding the balance of power. I have changed my position, although there is a chance that this outcome will still happen.

I now forecast this. I believe that the ALP vote will collapse back to the true believers, those who cannot vote any other way. Part of this vote will go to the Greens and certain of the independents, especially independents standing in blue ribbon ALP seats such as the Lower Hunter seats. The rest will flow to the opposition leading either to an opposition win or a hung Parliament.

Now I have no scientific reason for saying this, only straws in the wind.

Straw one was the switch in my youngest daughter's vote. You will remember that she is a Green/ALP supporter.

Straw two is the reaction of the staunch ALP people I know, and I know a fair number of them. Never in my years following politics have I seen a situation where the Party faithful so universally say that their Party does not deserve to win. They will vote ALP, but without enthusiasm. This has to flow through to people less committed.

Straw three is the independent vote as shown by the polls. Now this one is a bit technical, so bear with me.

In very polarised elections such as the national election in1975, smaller parties and independents suffer because voters go the major parties in each electorate.

As I understand it, the polls are showing a state wide independent vote of 8 per cent. This is a good vote, but is also roughly the same as the percentage independents received in the last state election.

This time there are some high profile independents standing such as the Lower Hunter mayors who appear to have a good chance of winning. There is also widespread dissatisfaction with the Government. Yet the independent percentage in the polls does not appear to have not increased.

All this suggest polarisation, with a decline in the in the independent vote outside those electorates where they are the natural alternative.

The last straw, so to speak, is the metropolitan newspapers. Today the Sydney papers the Daily Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald came out telling voters that they must vote for the opposition, as did the national daily, The Australian.

The Herald editorial began on the top of the front page under the banner Why New South Wales cannot afford four more years of Labor. All the papers are critical of Mr Debnam, but I have never seen such a concentrated and withering attack on a Government on the day before polling.

I have no idea how all this will play out, other than my gut feel as to the results. I do know that I will be glued to the TV Saturday night while also having the computers on.


Anonymous said...

Go Jim!! And congratulations to all on the marvellous wedding anniversary.

Your secret admirer

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you SA. The anniversary greetings much appreciated.