Well, what's an amateur psephologist to do?

I'll stand by the comment I made to a very very small number of people at the start of the election: it will be much closer than anybody expects. And so it has turned out...

The day before the 2010 Victorian State Election and Friday's two polls show it as neck and neck.

The final Galaxy poll had it at 50/50. The final Morgan poll has it 51/49 in favour of the Coalition. But even though the Morgan poll had a large enough sample of 990 voters, it has a concentration on inner city voters, so its margin for error is 3.5 to 4%. (See Poll Bludger's comments.) The betting markets are still confident that the ALP will win. Once upon a time, people betting real money seemed to be the best predictor of elections, but recently their accuracy seems to be dropping.

The hint from the poll trends is that there a swing on. Labor will take as much comfort as they can that 25% of people voted ahead of time. People: this is an annoying thing to do. Stop doing it (unless you're sick or infirm.) You're voting before all the policies have been launched and - worse - your votes don't get counted until the Monday after the election, which spoils election nights.

So if the election turns out to be close, which are the seats to watch?

The current state of the Assembly is:

  • 55 seats to the ALP
  • 32 seats to the Coalition
  • 1 independent (Craig Ingram)

A total of 88 seats. If the ALP loses 12 seats to the Coalition, it is either an evenly split ALP/independent vs Coalition parliament or - if independent Craig Ingram so chooses - a one seat Coalition/Independent majority. Here are the seats at risk according to their margin.

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The four seats coloured green won't go towards a coalition win. There's some chance the Melbourne will fall from the ALP to The Greens, and a smaller chance of Richmond, Brunswick and a tiny chance that Northcote will do the same.

If the swing were even, the loss of every seat up to and including Eltham would be a definite Coalition victory.

That's a 6.7% swing since the 2006 election.

Because swings are never even, some seats with a margin of less than 6.7% may stay with the ALP, while some seats needing larger swings (perhaps Bellarine, Yan Yean) might come into play.

You can play this game yourself by using Antony Green's Amazing 2010 Victorian Election Calculator.

By this time (8:30pm) Saturday evening it may all be clear. Or we may still be waiting in 17 days time.

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Anthony Holmes November 26th, 2010 08:30:12 PM