I thought readers of Crikey may be interested to know the predictions of us psephologists of the number of seats we expect Labor to win on Saturday. That is an interesting exercise because of the widespread view that this 16 seat gain needed by Labor to win outright is so often described as “a big ask” or “like climbing Mount Everest”. We psephologists can see that this is nonsense. Once the swing sets in the number of seat gains can be quite large.

A problem I have is this fellow Possum Comitatus. I have a mental blockage against anyone who is anonymous so, of course, I have not corresponded with him. Anyway if he (or any of the others) think I have misrepresented them they can correct me through Crikey.

In ascending order of magnitude the number of Labor seats predicted by the psephologists is 80 for Adam Carr, 84 for William Bowe, 88 for Simon Jackman, 89 for Malcolm Mackerras, 90 for Peter Brent, 94 for the Possum and 97 for Geoff Lambert. Since Labor won 60 seats in 2004 the number of gains predicted is 20 for Adam Carr, 24 for William Bowe, 28 for Simon Jackman, 29 for Malcolm Mackerras, 30 for Peter Brent, 34 for the Possum and 37 for Geoff Lambert.

In his blog Adam Carr has a brilliant essay on five reasons why Labor will win. If it is so probable that Labor will win the question I have asked Adam is why he gives the number of Labor seats at only 80? After all, if the number for Labor is only 80 then the majority for the Rudd Government would be only ten seats in the House of Representatives.

In his e-mail letter to me Carr wrote that his 80 seats for Labor “may turn out to be too conservative”. Anyway my point is this. With 80 seats as the minimum psephological prediction that means we all expect the Rudd Government either to have an eminently workable majority or to win the election in a landslide.

The word “landslide” is beautifully undefined so I can use it with gay abandon. Does it refer to a large number of seats changing hands? If so we are all predicting a landslide. Does it, alternatively, mean a large majority? If so then most of us are predicting a landslide Labor win on Saturday.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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