SA election: a final prediction

Friday, 17 March 2006

Senior Lecturers in Politics at the University of Adelaide, Dr Clem Macintyre and Dr Greg McCarthy, give their 11th hour predictions for tomorrow's election result.

The following comments can be attributed to Dr Clem Macintyre, Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Politics, University of Adelaide. For further comments about any aspect of the State election, please contact Dr McCarthy or Dr Macintyre on their contact details listed below.

We've known the election date for 4 years. The Liberal campaign was launched 6 weeks ago, and the ALP campaign 4 weeks ago. This Saturday night we should finally know the outcome of the election.

Most of the past month has passed in a fairly predictable manner. The Government has focused upon the leadership and experience of the Premier. The Opposition has chosen to fight a more devolved battle and has concentrated its limited resources into direct support for their candidates in the key marginals that it needs to hold and the Government
key marginals that it has to win.

The Liberal Party has been behind in the polls since the outset - and even though recent seat-based polls suggest a slight closing of the gap - they are clearly still the underdog. In these circumstances, the Liberals needed to seize the initiative early and set the agenda for the campaigns.

In fact, a campaign built around the appeal of the local candidates was always going to make it hard to capture the imagination of the whole of the State. The Liberals have not been able to land a major hit on the Government and a flat and lacklustre campaign has not taken Labor out of its comfort zone and this has worked to the Government's advantage.

Opinion polls are not certain indicators of elections outcomes. Nevertheless, when there is a strong and consistent trend, they can generally be relied upon as pointing in the right direction. All the signs suggest a Labor win.

There are 7 Liberal seats that would fall on an even swing to Labor of just over 5%. These are in order, Hartley, Stuart, Light, Mawson, Morialta, Bright and Newland. If the polls are accurate, Labor will win at least 5 of these.

If Labor can regain Mitchell from (former Labor MP) Kris Hanna that will mean a net gain to the government of 6 seats.

The Liberals should win Hammond (currently held by Peter Lewis) and may well win Mt Gambier (Rory McEwen). If these two gains are offset by 5 losses, that will leave the Liberals on a net 3 seat loss.

Karlene Maywald (in Chaffey) and Bob Such (in Fisher) should hold their seats.

These figures would mean the new House of Assembly would see Labor with 28 seats, Liberals with 17, Nationals 1 and Independent 1. A clear majority for the ALP.

In the Legislative Council, Labor will win at least 4 of the 11 seats being contested. The Liberals should win 4. Then, Family First and Nick Xenophon should be elected and the 11th seat will be a fight between The Australian Democrats, the Greens and the 5th Labor candidate.

Whatever the exact fall of seats in the Legislative Council, it is clear that no Party will have a clear majority and the Government will still need to negotiate with a range of groups in the Upper House to secure the passage of legislation.


Contact Details

Dr Greg McCarthy
Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Politics
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4735
Mobile: 0419 809 938

Professor Clem Macintyre
Head, School of History & Politics
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5601
Mobile: 0432 977 055

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762