Time to stick my neck out and make some predictions for tomorrow night.
The overall result is not in doubt, and hasn’t been for some time: Labor will be returned with a comfortable majority. Such interest as there’ll be tomorrow night will be in seeing how individual seat races come out. So here’s my attempt at a seat-by-seat analysis.
There are 12 Labor seats that the Coalition would win with a swing of 10%. Although occasional noises are made about seats further up the pendulum (eg Londonderry (10.9%)), realistically the opposition’s targets are confined to this band. They would want to win all of them to be confident of forming government.
Of the 12, The Entrance (9.7%) and Drummoyne (8.7%) are universally held to be out of reach. Another six, for various reasons, I think Labor should be confident of retaining: Monaro (4.4%) (sophomore surge), Wollondilly (4.6%) (strong Labor candidate), Penrith (6.6%) (artificially low Labor vote last time), Gosford (8.6%) (independent taking away Liberal votes), Menai (8.9%) and Miranda (9.1%) (margin just too big).
That leaves four possible losses: Tweed (4.0%) to the Nationals and Port Stephens (7.2%), Kiama (8.3%) and Camden (8.7%) to the Liberals. Labor is badly on the nose in the Hunter, so I’m going to pick Port Stephens to go. I think that will be the only Liberal gain from Labor, although Camden is a real toss-up.
Tweed and Murray-Darling (notionally Nationals by 1.4%, but with a Labor member) are also very hard to pick. William Bowe, the Poll Bludger, has tipped Nationals in Tweed and Labor in Murray-Darling, but if incumbency is powerful enough to keep Murray-Darling Labor I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in Tweed as well, where the demographics are better. In the end I’m going with the pendulum: Labor in Tweed and Nationals in Murray-Darling.
Some of the Liberal marginals are dicey as well; I’m tipping they’ll all hold, but Terrigal (0.6%), South Coast (1.6%), Lane Cove (2.8%) and Epping (7.6%) will all be worth watching. Somewhat reluctantly, I’m going with the consensus that the Liberals will win Pittwater back from independent Alex McTaggart, but I think they’ll miss out again in Manly. The other independents all look secure, although Tamworth might be interesting.
There are also possible independent gains, particularly Newcastle (from Labor), Goulburn (from Liberals), and maybe even Maitland (from Labor), but my guess is that they’ll all fall short. The Greens will miss out again, although they’ll be within striking distance in Balmain.
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That’s a total of Labor 54 (down 1), Liberals 21 (up 2), Nationals 12 (unchanged) and independents 6 (down 1). If I’m right, it’s very much a status quo result.