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federal election 2001

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Beazley versus Crean

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Beazley's Diary
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The Coalition, not Labor,
must get a swing to win

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Is it 1990 all
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Wrap up

Well, that's a wrap.

Visitors to this site on Saturday 10th would have witnessed a rush-to-the-head prediction of a one and a half percent swing to the Coalition resulting in a Labor victory

Not one of the best calls on record. But not quite the worse either.

The numbers have gone up and down this week; on Friday 16th it's looking like the two party preferred votes are 51% Coalition to 49% Labor and a Coalition seat majority of 12 or so.

That is a two percent swing to the Coalition, half a percent more than my prediction. But my reckoning that that the Labor Party would win if they held the government swing to 1.5% or less is still looking ok..

As noted in several places on this site, the overwhelming probability was that the Coalition would get a swing - more to the point, they needed a swing to win. My feeling was that if Labor got more than 49.5% of the two party preferred vote (down from 51% last time, ie holding the swing to 1.5%) they would win.

Given this 2 percent swing, the biggest surprise is not the party seat numbers in the new House of Reps, but their identity. Nearly every electorate is held by the same party as before the election. I imagined they would change hands all over the place. Very odd, big swing across the country and very few seats changing ownership. 

NSW was obviously a big problem for Labor. They suffered a big swing there although minimised the seat damage. Still, I must concede that the difference between Beazley's Diary and reality was the lack of seats gained by Labor in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

GST factor

Forget the guff about this being only the fourth time a government has managed a swing towards it. Like the last time this happened, 1993, this was GST-induced. In 1998 Labor got 51% in a GST referendum. Since the government's leap in the polls post Tampa, it was always highly unlikely Labor would hold this. And as written here, they didn't need to, they just had to minimise the swing back to the government. They failed in this - just.

Paul Keating in 1993 was in a similar position to Howard this year - he needed a national swing to stay in office - and he got it. And like 1993, this one has "Houdini" and "scare campaign" written all over it. Keating's subsequent big mistake was to believe his own rewriting of history, that his win was due to community recognition of good governance rather than skilful manipulation of a single issue. Will Howard avoid this temptation?

We can see the answer already. Keating at least waited a respectable interval before trying it on.

Thanks for visiting over the last few weeks. 

I'll probably keep this going for a while with digestion of the results.

Please email with any comments.

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