Friday, November 19, 2010

last minute decsions put government and Victoria's stability at risk

ED Baillieu and the anti-John Brumby vote hold the keys to the 2010 election, strategists on both sides of politics believe.
Source Herald-sun

Labor strategists believe the Opposition Leader will need to have a near-perfect final week of campaigning to give himself the chance of falling over the line.

But the wild card is how many last-minute voters have tired of Labor after 11 years in power.

"You can call it the f--- you vote, the people who walk into their local hall and decide the Government's had enough time," a senior Labor figure said. "They will decide the election."

In 110 years of fighting elections in Victoria, Labor has never won a fourth term.

Yet of the 11 most marginal seats, swings of as little as 0.4 per cent are needed to change the outcome compared with 2006.

In straight mathematical terms, the Coalition needs a swing of 6.5 per cent to seize power in its own right.
This would normally be too great, casting aside a Joan Kirner-style landslide election in 1992. But strategists suspect there will be a South Australian-style outcome where results will be not be formulaic.

Because the electorate has been disengaged, the result will be decided in the final days. Seats will fall where they are not expected, seats will stay with the incumbent where they were expected to go. "Despite your cynicism," another powerbroker said, "the seats that matter are on a knife edge."

These Labor seats are Mt Waverley (0.4), Gembrook (0.7), Forest Hill (0.8), Mitcham (2), South Barwon (2.3), Frankston (3.3), Mordialloc (3.6), Prahran (3.6), Burwood (3.8), Ripon (4.4) and Bendigo East (5.4).
Labor does not expect the two Ballarat seats to be in play but senior Liberals have indicated that seats such as Yan Yean (7.9) might swing sharply.

Bendigo East is held by minister Jacinta Allan and is in real danger of falling, with questions also over Bendigo West (10.6), vacated by former police minister Bob Cameron.

Another interesting seat is Gippsland East, held by independent Craig Ingram by a healthy margin. The Nationals are hopeful of big gains there, though there is a strong push by independents in the National seat of Mildura, once a party stronghold.

Momentum is definitely swinging towards Mr Baillieu, who has had a good campaign.

He performed well in the debate and the Herald Sun/ Sky News forum at the Burvale Hotel.
He has kept on message and was buoyed by the decision to not preference the Greens in the inner city.

To gain government in its own right, the Coalition must win 13 seats.

"It's a bridge too far," one Coalition observer said.

But it can't be out of the question if the momentum continues to shift towards Mr Baillieu.
Labor's biggest challenge is that it has been in power for 11 years and has considerable baggage.

The Coalition's baggage is the prevailing sense of economic uncertainty.

Voters don't tend to change governments if they think there is a financial risk.

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