Tomorrow’s larger but less interesting election is in South Australia
– less interesting because there is no real doubt about the outcome.
The Rann Government will be returned with a substantial majority. There
was a brief flurry of excitement yesterday when The Advertiser released a poll showing Labor in trouble in two marginal seats (Hartley and Norwood), but one swallow does not make a Liberal summer.

Just as I don’t believe the Liberals have a chance, I also don’t believe Gary Morgan’s latest poll,
which is at the opposite extreme: it says Labor will win 61% of the
two-party-preferred vote, a swing of 12%. That would wipe out about
two-thirds of the parliamentary Liberal Party, giving Labor an
additional 13 seats. (See Antony Green’s pendulum here.)

More probably the swing will be somewhere around 6%. The most recent Newspoll said 5%, but there should be a newer one in tomorrow’s Australian.
The Liberals have seven seats vulnerable to swings of up to 5.5%, but
nothing else below 9%. So, allowing for one to fall over somewhere,
let’s say six Labor gains (plus Mitchell, which they will win back from
defector Kris Hanna).

That doesn’t mean the swing will be uniform; they never are. Like other
incumbents, the Rann government will probably do best in the mortgage
belt and less well in the established suburbs. That means that a
Liberal seat like Hartley (2.1%) may put up unexpected resistance,
while seats that look safer on paper such as Heysen (9.6%) could be in
trouble.

There will also be interest in the fate of the independents. Peter
Lewis is attempting (with little hope) to move to the upper house, so
the Liberals will win his seat. Bob Such in Fisher and Rory McEwen in
Mount Gambier are both under threat – McEwen from the Liberals, and
Such in a three-cornered contest. Both look too close to call but, for
what it’s worth, my guess is that they’ll both hold on. The National
Party’s one seat, Chaffey, looks safe.

That gives a total of Labor 29, Liberals 15 and three others. Political scientist Clem Macintyre this morning is tipping 28-17-2, while the Poll Bludger is saying 29-16-2.

Peter Fray

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