Something worth taking a look at is how the new electoral redistributions have changed the pendulum in the context of how the current polling is playing out. If we apply the latest combined Nielsen/Newspoll quarterly aggregates at the State level to the new pendulum,it gives us an idea of which Coalition members are fighting for their life. The Coalition held seats below are those where the ALP has theoretically overtaken Liberals on vote estimates. All the figures are in the form of ALP two party preferred vote – where the 2007 election results on the old boundaries for each seat is given, the projected ALP two party preferred vote based on the current polls as they apply to the new electoral boundaries is given, and the practical swing (the difference between these outcomes) for each seat is given. (Note – please don’t call this a generic “swing” or Antony will put you over his knee and spank the crap out of you 😀  It’s simply the difference between the 2007 election result and the current polling )

Keep in mind this is based on a pendulum, so even though the results are given to 2 decimal places (just to show how close some of these seat results would be) we can’t be that accurate in the real world – but it’s certainly indicative of the likely results were an election held in the past three months and where the results reflected the polling over that period.


In the real world, some of these seats wouldn’t fall, some would fall with much much larger swings, and possibly a few seats much further up the pendulum would fall – but just using the pendulum and applying the current polling, these are the seats now notionally sitting in the ALP column which are currently represented by members of the Coalition.

We can also take a look at what Coalition seats the pendulum suggests would become very marginal, seats that the Coalition would hold by less than 2%.


This last one is interesting because of the Liberal Party Heartland nature of seats like Menzies, Higgins and Goldstein turning up in the list – all in Victoria. Because these three seats – and we can also probably throw Casey and Aston into the mix here as well – are unlikely to be swinging as much as the nominal polling is currently suggesting, it means that other places in Victoria are swinging more than is suggested simply to make up the weight. The problem this causes for the Liberals is that either other seats up the pendulum are moving instead by significant margins (possible for one or two seats, but unlikely as a general across the board case), or alternatively, Labor held seats and marginal Coalition seats are experiencing a much larger swing, building a formidable safety margin into Labor’s currently held seats and possibly even seats that are currently Coalition marginals in Victoria.

At the last election, of the 37 House of Representative seats in Victoria, the ALP won 21 of them, where 11 of those 21 ALP seats had a two party preferred vote of over 60%. On the current polling applied to the pendulum in Victoria, the ALP would win 26 seats in Victoria – but get this – they would hold 19 of those 26 seats with a two party preferred vote greater than 60%

But it gets worse for the Coalition in Victoria. Because seats like Goldstein, Higgins, Menzies, Aston and Casey wouldnt be expected to swing as much because of their demographics, other seats would have to pick up the weight of the swing. Similarly, if we look at the ALP side of the pendulum, it has Batman sitting on a two party preferred of – and I shit you not – 81%!

You just dont get seats sitting on margins like that. If we look at the ALP seats that would be sitting on a TPP of greater than 70% under the new polling, we have nine of them:


So we would expect those seats to swing smaller than is suggested as well, leaving other seats to take up the weight of the swing. If that “swing weight deficit” from the heartland Liberal Party seats and the ultra-safe ALP seats was distributed across the rest of the pendulum, the most likely outcome is that of the 26 seats that Labor would likely win were an election held recently, around 22 of them would have an ALP two party preferred of more than 60%!

That would make 60% of all Victorian seats ultra-safe Labor.

The only place looking worse than Victoria for the Coalition is South Australia. If we apply the current polling to the pendulum in SA, the only Coalition representative in the entire State would be Pat Secker, holding on to what would be the marginal seat of Barker by 1.6%.


Yet here, again, Mayo, Barker and Grey shouldn’t swing as much as the state average (although Grey caused a scare for the Coalition in the lead up to the last election) because of the demographics of those seats and Port Adelaide is already ultra safe for Labor, making it unlikely it would reach 77%. That suggests that the rest of the State would be swinging more to make up the weight, turning all of Labor’s currently held seat into ultra-safe ones, and washing Boothby and Sturt into the ALP columns with significant Labor  margins.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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