What do the country folk of Wagga and the eastern suburbs sophisticates of Wentworth have in common? Not, you might think, that much, except that both signal a new era of independent threat to conservatives. The good burghers of Wagga showed that just over a month ago when they elected local independent Joe McGirr to replace the disgraced state Liberal MP Daryl Maguire, off a 28% swing against Gladys Berejiklian's government. That was in the aftermath of the knifing of Malcolm Turnbull.

There won't be a 28% swing against Dave Sharma tomorrow in Wentworth. But there "only" has to be an 18% swing for him to lose. Sharma, who parachuted into the seat from the North Shore, has done himself no favours by campaigning as though he's entitled to the seat, rather than having to earn it (remember that "Sharma is the Liberal Obama" garbage peddled by Fairfax a few weeks back?). But this normally wouldn't count against him in such a blue-ribbon Liberal seat. The problem is well above Sharma's pay grade: such is voter disgust at the self-indulgence and right-wing leanings of the current Liberal Party, a centrist, well-known and well-regarded local can pose a major threat to them.