Voters in Victoria will be voting today in their state election – except, that is, for those who have already voted, in record numbers.
As of Thursday night, 1,184,095 early votes had been cast. This is already well ahead of 2014, when a total of 912,967 early votes were cast, and doesn’t take into account those votes cast on Friday (likely in excess of 200,000 votes). As of Wednesday night the VEC reported that early votes cast so far was 65% above the 2014 level.
We’re up to 970,454 votes on Day 9 of early voting – 585,869 was the Day 9 early voting total in 2014. The number of postal votes received has risen to 177,572. Want to see how your District’s early voting tally compares to others? Check out https://t.co/atyKd6fR2J #VicVotes
— VEC (@electionsvic) November 21, 2018
This is part of a long-running trend of more and more voters casting their votes early. I have blogged about this issue a number of times – for example this article from the 2015 NSW state election.
After a drought of statewide polls we’ve had two last-minute polls putting Labor in the lead. A YouGov Galaxy poll has Labor on 53% of the two-party-preferred vote, while a Reachtel poll gives them 54%. This wouldn’t necessarily translate into a big seat gain for Labor. According to a uniform swing based on the pendulum, this would only give Labor two extra seats, and the two-party-preferred vote doesn’t tell us much about Labor’s battles with the Greens.
I won’t be actively blogging tonight due to another commitment, although I will post an open thread for discussion of the results.
If you are looking for something to read before results start to flow in, can I suggest checking out some of the seat guides for a few of the key seats.
The first area to watch is the marginal seats of the sandbelt in south-eastern Melbourne. These four seats were the only Labor gains from the Coalition in 2014, and remain extremely marginal. This area covers Bentleigh, Carrum, Frankston and Mordialloc.
You’ll also want to check out my guides to the Labor-Greens contests in the inner city. There is four head-to-head inner city races: the Greens-held seats of Melbourne and Northcote, and the Labor-held seats of Brunswick and Richmond. There is also the three-cornered contest in the Greens seat of Prahran, a seat they won off the Liberal Party in 2014 after the Liberals won it off Labor in 2010.
If the polls are correct and Labor is on track to gain seats, it would be worth watching hte regional Liberal seats of Ripon near Ballarat and South Barwon near Geelong, both of which are held by margins of less than 3%.
There are also a number of regional races where independents could be in play. Independent MP Susanna Sheed will be defending her seat of Shepparton. Russell Northe, who has been re-elected three times as a Nationals MP, and survived a close contest against a Labor and independent candidate in 2014, is now an independent and will be facing multiple rivals to win a fourth term in his Latrobe Valley seat of Morwell.
That’s it for now, happy electioneering!