NSW 2011: reckless predictions


With two days to go, it’s time to make some predictions.

Lots of predictions have been made, some on individual seat threads and others on general NSW threads, but I thought it was time to bring them all together and make a stab myself.

I expect to get plenty of seats wrong, and in some cases there are seats which were a flip of a coin, but I have made a prediction for all 93 races.

As a disclaimer, I should make it clear that I am not putting any weight behind these predictions. It is no guarantee of a result and is likely to be wrong in details. My information varies between seats, and in some cases my limited information has forced me to make an estimate that is not strongly informed. In many other seats, however, I have a much stronger understanding of the local campaign.

The overall prediction is for a result of 50 Liberal, 19 Nationals, 15 Labor, 2 Greens and 7 independents.

I am predicting that the Coalition will hold on to their current 37 seats, although some not so comfortably as they wish. I will get into some of those below.

As far as Labor seats are concerned, the following table shows which party I predict will hold each of the 50 seats currently held by Labor.

BathurstAuburnBlue MountainsBalmain
East HillsHeffron
HeathcoteMacquarie Fields
KeiraMount Druitt
The Entrance

In addition to these changes, I am predicting the Nationals will regain the independent seats of Dubbo, Port Macquarie and Tamworth, in addition to winning Cessnock, Monaro and Bathurst off the ALP.

Largely the pattern of Coalition gains follows the pendulum, with a swing of approximately 15%. A number of seats, however, have been predicted to buck the trend. I’m predicting Macquarie Fields (11.1%), Toongabbie (14.5%) and Strathfield (15.1%) will all buck the trend due to local factors.

On the other hand, I think the ALP will be hit particularly hard in Smithfield (15.5%), Maroubra (16.1%), Kogarah (17.7%), Campbelltown (18.5%) and Keira (22.0%).

In terms of geography, there are a number of interesting trends. The ALP will be decimated along the Georges River, with Wollondilly, Campbelltown, Menai, Miranda, East Hills, Oatley, Kogarah and Rockdale all falling. Only Macquarie Fields is predicted to survive, although Campbelltown is knife-edge.

In Central Sydney, Labor will lose Drummoyne, Cooogee and Maroubra to the Liberals and Balmain and Marrickville to the Greens, but I predict them holding on narrowly in Strathfield and Heffron.

In the north-west of Sydney I see Labor being mostly wiped out in Parramatta, Granville, Smithfield, Londonderry and Riverstone, but prominent figures John Robertson and Nathan Rees should hold on in Blacktown and Toongabbie.

In the Illawarra, I expect easy Liberal wins in Kiama and Heathcote, and a close win in Keira due to local factors and the candidate. Noreen Hay is likely to lose to independent Gordon Bradbery in Wollongong, with only Shellharbour remaining Labor.

In the Hunter and Central Coast, I expect Labor to lose eight of their nine seats, losing Gosford, The Entrance, Wyong, Swansea and Maitland to the Liberals, losing Newcastle and Charlestown to independents, and losing Cessnock to the Nationals. Wallsend is likely to be the only surviving Labor seat.

Outside this region, the Nationals will gain five seats: Monaro, Bathurst, Dubbo, Tamworth and Port Macquarie.

It was hard to predict which seats independents will gain, with Newcastle the only gain I am confident of. I feel strongly that Bradbery will win in Wollongong. I tend to think Mays will win a close race over the Liberal in Blue Mountains, with Mays taking most of the Greens vote. The Greens could come fourth in what has been one of their strongest seats.

In the Hunter, there are strong independents running in Cessnock, Maitland, Wallsend and Swansea, but I only credited a win in Charlestown. This could well be wrong. In addition, the Nationals are under threat in the Upper Hunter from independent Tim Duddy, but should hold on.

In addition to winning Balmain and Marrickville, the Greens will come second in a series of other seats. I expect the Greens to come second in Heffron, and could come quite close to winning. In Coogee, I expect that sitting Labor MP Paul Pearce will fall to third, but the Liberal Party will be too far ahead for the Greens to win on Labor preferences.

Greens will also overtake Labor in the Coalition seats of Manly, Wakehurst, Davidson, Pittwater, Willoughby, Lane Cove, Ku-ring-gai, Ballina and Lismore, in addition to the seats of North Shore and Vaucluse where they came second in 2007.

So what are your predictions? Please post them below. But first, here are some maps of my prediction.

Predicted result of the NSW state election.
Predicted result of the NSW state election in the Greater Sydney area.
Predicted result of the NSW state election in the Hunter and the Central Coast.
Predicted result of the NSW state election in the Illawarra.
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  1. The interesting question will be to what extent do local campaigns matter when you have swings of the order projected by the polls?

    I don’t know and the outcomes of this election might give us some evidence to chew over.

    I suspect that within the Sydney metro area where people seem to have been shaken loose on the ALP side from traditional habits on a large scale the effects of this will swamp the effects of local campaigns.

  2. Only the best on the ground efforts will save local Labor MP’s on a swing that big. I’m thinking places like Blacktown, Toongabbie, Maroubra, etc. Most other places will be a nightmare.

  3. I’d expect the largest swings to be in seats that were battleground last time but not receiving funding this time. Plus, many of these seats have retiring MPs and the replacement candidates are of a lower quality.

    It’s probably stating the obvious, but I would expect the seats with popular/quality sitting MPs, ala Toongabbie, Maroubra, Heffron, Mac Fields to have below average swings and seats with retiring MPs like Menai and Miranda to have above average swings.

  4. If Labor gets more than 15 seats then NSW voters should take a hard look at themselves. Labor deserve to get totally annihilated in this election and if voters dont give them that message then they will continue with the old ways and think that “it wasnt that bad, therefore we are good”…

    Just look at the smear campaigns they are running… do you think they will learn anything from this unless its a total elimination?

  5. Boutros – that really is a bit extreme. A party losing nearly 50% of its vote in the course of one election looks like pretty severe punishment to me.

    If they don’t learn anything from that then they will be pretty slow learners. Total elimination of the ALP as would leave us with effectively a one party state. Do you really think that is a good idea?

  6. Yes, I’m worried that NSW Labor after the weekend will be reduced to a rump incapable of mounting any sort of opposition to the O’Farrell “Dictatorship”.
    I guess Labor’s chances of renewal depend on the number of capable MPs that manage to retain their seats – the likes of Rees, Borger, Whan, Mcdonald, Daley etc.
    Worst case scenario for them is that they’re left with 10 or 11 lower house MPs, and these are hacks, like Nick Lalich/Noreen Hay/John Robertson.

  7. I’m gonna go out on a limb here guys and boldly tip a marginal win for the Liberals in Cabramatta. As a local resident, I have seen the strong campaigning by her and the locals warming to the idea of voting for a Liberal.

    Previously the asian voters there hesistated to vote for the Liberals due to the perception of racist party policies and candidates who were out of the touch with the community. Dai Le in this case solves both of those problems.

    In the 2008 by-election, the massive swing she gained was achieved with only 3 weeks of campaigning as a last minute candidate. I have personally witnessed since 2008 that she has worked tirelessly with the local community to prove her credentials.

    When she declares victory, it will be thanks to the shifting demographics towards the younger generation of tertiary-educated and professional occupation voters who are more open-minded to change.

  8. Boutros: your fear really isn’t too founded. No matter if labor gets 13 pr 26 seats tomorrow, the lesson has been learnt. most of the machine responsible for the last 16 years are already gone, and the rest are going fast (ie. Roozendale, Obeid etc.).

    The alp has learnt its lesson and after Saturday will begin the long process of rebuilding and soul searching. We expect to spend at least 8 years in the wilderness.

    But meanwhile its not like we can just roll over and not campaign or act as opposition. We have to, politics isn’t a match where quarters are spared and if we don’t campaign hard and desperate, we will see good people lie Rees, Whan and Borger go.

  9. Boutros

    I for one would like the ALP to have about 20 members, I would like some checks and balances to ensure the Liberals are made accountable for their excesses and there are a lot of ALP candidates, who makes good contribution to politics, who would be a loss

    I am thinking the likes of Reese, Wran, Carmel, McDonald and Broger

  10. So does that mean that local Labor branches will be able to contribute to policy making now that they have apparently learnt their lesson. Most tradies I know dont even belong to a trade union any more so why should the labor party be dominated by them?

    If the Trade Unions and the Labor party actually stood up for workers then they wouldnt be in this situation…

  11. I dont know why people are scared of liberal domination… Do you think they could possibly do worse than NSW Labor??? If O’Farrell was Ghaddafi then I would agree with you all but he is not Ghaddafi… and besides in 3 years time if the Liberals stuff it up then you will get the chance to vote them out and vote ALP back in…

    seriously we need another strong party in this country – centrist party…

  12. Boutros: I don’t like domination by any party – getting rid of a corrupt, out of touch, self serving political operation is one thing, handing a blank cheque to their replacement of whatever political complexion is not an outcome that I view with any enthusiasm. People develop a sense of entitlement to power very quickly and the corruption begins from there.

    The only way we can breakdown the ‘two party” ALp coalition oligopoly is by a move to a proportional voting sytem of some form or another.

    The ACT and Tasmania are part of the way to breaking that oligopoly with the Hare-Clark system and multi member electorates and the Robson rotation that takes away the power of party machines to the extent that it enables people to vote out candidates for their preferred party without having to vote against the party.

  13. Interesting ad in the Newcastle Herald from the Libs today which included photos of all the lower Hunter candidates except Garry Edwards the candidate for Swansea.

  14. Well Boutros will you be surprised to know I actually agree with you?

    I think the ALP lost sight of the two pillars who out them there, primarily the working class, but also secondarily progressives.

    Although on the subject of union domination, i don’t agree. labors primary vote is at most no more than 40 these days, and unionisists are 20% of the populace. Unions get 50% delegates…. seems like correct maths to me…

  15. I have copied a post I put on the ALP website lat year in September. I would be interested in getting people’s opinion of what I wrote.

    Labor needs to get back to it’s true Belief’s & what the party has always represented the community for. Building a strong economy for today, tomorrow & the future & when I say building a strong economy this takes into account Health, Education, Environment and all responsibilities that a govt. is accountable for. The Labor Party needs to continue doing what is right for the everyday Australian, this was shown with the changes to workchoices, the changes to health & the major infrastructure & technology that is being implemented into our schools. It is important not to lose focus on what the true beliefs are of your party, once the focus changes then it is the unfortunate start of the everyday Australian losing confidence & belief in what you supposidly represent. The everyday Aussie relys on The Labor party to do what is right for them, lets all ensure that they continue to represent the countries best interest along with ensuring our best interest are looked after.

  16. I would love to know what the ALP believes in and stands for. At the state level it seems to have been over the past decade to be nothing more than gaining and retaining power for helping out your mates and passing on the positions of power to your family and friends.

  17. ALO

    I am not sure what it is you want Labor to stand for. Typically, a strong economy is not really an ALP desiderata. The core of ALP philosophy has always been focussed upon equality, and the support for the oppressed. If the ALP puts too much emphasis on the economy, it will always lose to the Coalition which has a justly earned reputation as good economic managers. Labor is all about taxing and spending so as to create a large bureacracy which can look after a large number of clients on welfare.

  18. ALO

    I tend to disagree that the ALP wants a good economy. A strong economy means people are making lots of money and are generally happy and are generally borrowing more money.

    In times like this, cost of living, interest rate and high taxes are the biggest hate of people in a strong economy, which makes the Liberals the natural party to led during this time

    Where the ALP does well is when ther are lots of world issues (1970s) or when the economy is not doing well (1980s) and the ALP has to make large changes to the tax system and the economy. That is when the ALP policies becomes useful and when people are happy to pay higher tax (if they see where they are going)

    The Carbon tax could be that policy for the current ALP, but there is a lot of baggage with it atm. Is it the Green policy? Did Julia lied? Is it even possible to get to a CO2 atmospheric level of the 1800s? Is Nuclear the Solutions?

  19. Dovif

    The Coalition made large changes to the Tax System in 2000. Labor was only half respectable in economic management for a few years in the 80s, and even then they were follwing a lot of right-wing policies. Other than that, Labor’s record of economic management has been realy terrible. let’s face it, the ALP is designed to be a whining, childish opposition whilst the Coalition get on with the grown-up business of governing.

  20. From what I’m hearing on the street, I’m concerned people will use protest votes or a donkey vote and that could put us in the position of the Federal election results – no real government at all.

    Keneally has potential but there’s nothing behind her except incompetence. O’Farrell seems to have been advised to sit back and let Labor fail.

    Like them or loathe them we need one party to have a mandate to lead or we end up with the massive compromises Gillard has made.

    PLEASE make your vote count.

  21. My list of the Labor MPs who’ll survive the carnage:
    Barbara Perry
    Paul Lynch
    Richard Amery
    Linda Burney
    Anna Watson(Shellharbour – new MP)
    Guy Zangarey(new MP for Fairfield)
    Robert Coombs(giving Labor Swansea)
    Robert Furillo
    Nick Lalich(tenatively anyway, although Dai Lee could still win that seat)
    Kristina Keneally
    New MP for Bankstown(forgotten her name, the former mayor)
    Nathan Rees – hopefully anyway
    Michael Daley – ditto
    Not confident about Borger & Mcdonald, but not completely writing them off either.
    That’s about as confident as I can be, from a Labor point of view.

  22. Firth will hang on in Balmain because the green (Parker) is generally disliked by ratepayers in Leichhardt LGA; she’s retained a lot of support around Glebe; the vote will be split three ways, and she’s the first name on the ballot (hello donkey votes), worth around 1%

  23. I can guarantee that there will not be a change of Government tomorrow, my wife will still be the leader in my household!

  24. Ok – time to be bold.

    10 ALP
    Heffron (though closer than people think due to Green Square, Kensington etc)
    Mount Druitt
    One Hunter seat… (I can’t be confident up there, don’t know the area that well…).

    If anything else goes wrong (not that I can see it happening), there goes lower house party status…

    The “good local members” should have become Independants months ago, and given the government an excuse to go early. Tomorrow will be the release of slow-burn anger and frustration at all the games, and a pass-the-parcel goverment, and particularly those over the past 2 years or so of Rees and Keneally.

    Keneally could have also stemmed the damage by not being on TV so often. It just reminded people that they didn’t have any idea who she was when they last got to vote.

  25. Very interesting conversations. For what its worth I agree that Labor will be decimated today. Its of its own making and Boutros you are correct. Its sad to see the most Labor hearted people say that this lot must go. Local campaigns by a number of courageous Independents I hope will pay off and I anticipate we will see a number of surprises.
    Maybe it is time we need a viable centrist party.
    Thankfully we live in a society in which we do not have to dodge a bullet (and these are images we all see everyday) to exercise our right to decide who will represent and govern us.

  26. @ PeteD

    That Hunter seat is NOT going to be Swansea, that will go to the Independent Gillian Sneddon

    @ Evan

    Are you insane or just not know the Hunter very well? There is NO WAY Coombs will get back in, in Swansea, Voters (now I really don’t like or use this word, so it means something) HATE HIM in his own suburb!!! He should go back to Sydney, from whence he came……..

  27. If the Metro/ country breakdowns in Essential & Newspoll are correct there is no way the ALP can win Toongabbie, Maroubra, Campbelltown, Granville or Smithfield…the deviation needed is too great, given that the 20% average swings must be higher in safe ALP seats. They’ll be struggling in Blacktown & Fairfield. The polls might be wrong and there may be a “shy labor” factor, but thats what it will take for those seats to hold.

  28. @Matt

    Probably will be Wallsend as the local member is fairly popular for opposing her own party on a number of issues such as privatisation.

  29. Fingers crossed, it’s the day of the independants and minor parties.
    The Labor `association’ and the Liberal `group’ need to learn that it isn’t just a matter of these
    two `choices’ taking turns in the Captains seat.

  30. Am I breaking the rules by posting my reckless prediction after polls have opened?

    Labor to hold Auburn, Bankstown, Blacktown, Canterbury, Fairfield, Heffron, Lakemba, Liverpool, Mount Druitt, Shellharbour. I also lean towards Labor in Wallsend (vs Ind), Maroubra, Keira and Toongabbie. I also think they will hold two out of Cabramatta, Campbelltown, Macquarie Fields and Smithfield (if I had to pick the two I’ll go with Cabramatta and Mac Fields). That makes an ‘optimistic’ 16.

    I think if the Greens were to win Heffron, given it is an active, but much less intensely resourced effort than Marrickville and Balmain, it would create some interesting questions about how we run campaigns and what actually makes a difference. FWW I backed Mehreen at $26 too.

    Independents to win Sydney, Lake Macquarie, Northern Tablelands, Newcastle, Wollongong, and 3 out of the following 6 – Dubbo, Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Upper Hunter, Charlestown, Blue Mountains. I’ll nominate Dubbo, Upper Hunter and Blue Mountains. They are ‘reckless’ predictions. Coalition to win the other 3. Also watch Wagga and Clarence for possible strong results for independents.

    Greens to win Marrickville and Balmain.

    I give Cessnock to Nats, but really I’m not certain what will happen there.

    Totals Coalition 67, Labor 16, Greens 2, Independents 8.

  31. Bob Carr the godfather of this Labor Government calling it “Saturday’s disaster” on his blog.

  32. You are right, but the Liberals will also be winning in Blue Mountains, Toongabbie, Macquarie Fields, Strathfield, Cabramatta, Fairfield, Newcastle, Sydney Wollongong, Lake Macquarie even Wallsend could go….

    The only seats that Labor can definetely hold is Liverpool, Heffron, Lakemba, Auburn, Canterbury, Shellharbour and Mount Druitt

    Greens in Marrickville and Balmain most likely, and 1 independent Torbay in Nthn Tablelands

    The other 83 seats will be Liberal/Nationals…

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