Senate Predictions: South Australia
Russell Degnan

And so finally to the most bizarre race of all. Despite a tendency to vote in high numbers for the Democrats (and in the last election, Family First), South Australia has tended to have a relatively high major party vote, sitting somewhere around 80-85%. The entry of Nick Xenophon, whose last effort at the South Australian state election almost won him three seats in their Legislative Council, means this is very likely to change.

In the past 4 elections, the ALP proportion has been stable at around 42-44 percent, having slowly moved from around 52-53 percent in the early 1980s. With a projected swing upwards of 10 percent however, the polls put the likely result much closer to the latter figures than the former. Morgan predicts (as usual) an outrageous 58% ALP proportion, and Newpoll (in the HoR) a more reasonable 53%. A ten percent swign would put it somewhere near the latter, though much depends on whether it is Labor or Liberal leaking away to Mr X. Notice not only the size of the uncertainty, but also that I predict it to be in the bottom lower corner, with a minor party vote of 29%

A swing of this size means two things. Firstly, that the proportion of the minor party vote needed to win is only 50%. Although Xenophon isn't high on anyone's preference list, he will have sufficient carry to pick up votes from most parties in the middle part of the count, be that from the Greens or Family First or from the major parties. The only danger to him is if (with around 7-9% of the vote) the Greens (with Democrats help or perhaps vice versa) and Family First (with the Liberals or vice versa) sneak above him, subsequently electing both parties on his preferences.

With Xenophon in the count, he will almost certainly take the 5th seat on Family First preferences (if he doesn't pass quote by himself), leaving the Greens, Labor and Liberal. If the Greens come third, Labor will make quota, otherwise the Greens take the final seat. If Xenophon does make quota then the most likely result is a Green victory on Labor preferences, though they may suffer substantial losses to their own vote, allowing Labor or Family First to take the final seat. The most likely result remains a Xenophon, Greens double, however.


53% ALP Proportion of Major Party Vote
71% Major Party Primary Vote
2 ALP, 2 Lib, 1 Xen, 1 Grn

Sterner Matters 24th November, 2007 18:22:31   [#]