Archive for December, 2010

Liberal vs Independent in Goulburn

I have now finished maps for 88 of 93 seats in the NSW Legislative Assembly and plan to finish the remainder in the next few days. Throughout December and January you should see profiles of each seat go up on the site, but I don’t plan to put any more posts on the front page until after the Christmas/New Year break.

As a final point of interest, just yesterday I produced a map of the seat of Goulburn in southeastern NSW. The seat was created in the 2007 redistribution, and covers most of Goulburn Mulwaree and Wingecarribee councils. Wingecarribee covers the Southern Highlands, including Bowral, Mittagong and Moss Vale.

In 2007 the seat was contested by the Liberal Party’s Pru Goward and independent Mayor of Goulburn Mulwaree, Paul Stephenson. Goward held on in 2007 with 51.3% of the two-party preferred vote.

The interesting thing about the map is how the vote varies wildly between Goulburn and the Southern Highlands. Goward polled just under 60% in the Southern Highlands part of the seat, while Stephenson polled over 62% in Goulburn itself and almost 60% in the remaining booths in the western parts of the seat. As the Southern Highlands made up a majority of the seat’s population, Goward came out on top.

Goulburn is one of a number of seats where the Coalition won a seat with an independent as their main rival, including Barwon, Manly, Pittwater, Hawkesbury, Orange and Willoughby.

Two-candidate-preferred votes (Liberal vs Independent) in the seat of Goulburn at the 2007 state election.

Two-candidate-preferred votes (Liberal vs Independent) in the town of Goulburn at the 2007 state election.

Two-candidate-preferred votes (Liberal vs Independent) in Bowral, Mittagong and Moss Vale at the 2007 state election.

Labor and the Greens in Ballina

Following on from my post on the Greens overtaking the ALP on the north shore of Sydney, I have just been working on the booth map for the north coast seat of Ballina. The seat covers Ballina Shire and most of Byron Shire. Byron in particular is heartland territory for the Greens. It is the only council area to have a directly-elected Greens mayor in Australia. The ALP came second in the state seat of Ballina in 2007, with 23% to 19% for the Greens. The Nationals’ Don Page won the seat in 2007 with 54% of the primary vote and winning 64.5% of the two-party-preferred vote against the ALP.

This map shows which out of the ALP and Greens came second in each booth. The Nationals polled the most votes in every booth, although it was a close contest in Byron Bay and Mullumbimby.

Greens booths are marked in green and Labor booths in red. The green line marks the local government boundary, Ballina Shire covers the southern half of the seat and Byron Shire covers the northern half.

The Greens clearly came second throughout most of Byron Shire, but the ALP came second throughout most of Ballina Shire, which makes up a majority of the seat’s population.

Labor vs Greens on the North Shore

I’m currently rushing to prepare my guide to the NSW state election prior to Christmas. In the last ten days I’ve made booth maps for 55 out of 93 seats, which covers most of the Sydney basin and all of the Illawarra. I’m hoping to get those maps finished soon and then begin posting profiles.

Yesterday I was working on maps for the northern seats in Sydney. Every seat in that area is held by the Liberal Party, who regained two seats from independents in 2007 and then won Ryde off the ALP at a 2008 by-election. The area is particularly weak for the ALP. The only seats in the area that are at all close to being marginal are Epping (8% margin) and Ryde (13% after a by-election).

In four of these seats, the ALP did not come in the top two. In Pittwater and Manly sitting independent MPs were defeated by the Liberal Party but still came in the top two. Independent Mayor Pat Reilly was the runner-up in Willoughby, while the Greens came second in North Shore. The Greens also came second in Vaucluse, the only Liberal seat on the southern shore of the Harbour and a seat with a lot of commonality with the north shore. In Pittwater, the ALP were relegated to fourth place with only 7%, behind the Liberal, the sitting independent and the Green.

When I have been making the booth maps for these seats I noticed a number of seats where the ALP and Greens are neck-and-neck, and it was worth examining in which booths the Greens managed to outpolled the ALP. After doing this for a number of seats I thought it would be worthwhile to make one for the whole region, stretching as far west as Hornsby, Epping and Ryde.

Polling booths on the North Shore, coloured to show which party out of the Greens and the Labor Party polled more votes. Nearly all booths were won by Liberals or independents, with the exception of Ryde, which was won by the ALP in 2007. Click to enlarge.

The Greens have surged in the north shore, and there is potential for the Greens to become the primary organised opposition to the Liberals following the 2011 state election. The Greens have already overtaken the ALP in North Shore and Pittwater. In Manly, the Greens were outpolled by Labor by only 50 votes. If strong independents do not emerge again in Manly and Pittwater, they will likely become Liberal-Green contests.

In Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell’s seat of Ku-ring-gai, the Greens only fell 24 votes short of overtaking the ALP at the key point in the distribution of preferences. The Greens are only behind Labor by 3% in Davidson and 4% in Willoughby.

The Greens are a long way from challenging the Liberal Party’s hold on any of these seats, but there is certainly potential for the Greens to substantially increase their vote in the area at the expense of Labor. The ALP is weak on the ground in the north shore, with no state or federal members of Parliament and few councillors. Without any infrastructure it will be hard for the party to maintain its presence, particularly when marginal seat campaigning means that the region is pretty much ignored by the party’s head office. The Greens in contrast have a lot to benefit by increasing their upper house vote substantially by poaching the roughly 10% of north shore voters who remain with the ALP.