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As part of a tipping competition for the 2011 NSW State Election, I just finished looking through all the electorates in NSW and figuring which way they would go. The consequences of my conclusions are frankly astonishing.

According to my calculations, the ALP is left with 20 seats, which is more favourable than the 13 seats some people are predicting. But the outlook is incredibly dire.

For one thing, the current NSW Cabinet has 19 Ministers in it. If the ALP is reduced to 20 seats, that means almost every single lower House MP will be a Shadow Minister, with one or two upper House Ministers. Have pity on the one or two Parliamentary Secretaries whose uselessness is visibly placed on display for all to see.

For another thing, my calculations are actually reasonably ‘optimistic’. I’ve called Balmain for Verity Firth and the ALP and I’ve saved every seat for the ALP under 15% that could possibly be saved (except Macquarie Fields). All those seats could easily swing the other way. So my predictions are justified upon the facts, and I have predicted some Liberal gains that the ALP might have held.

There is a certain logic to favouring the ALP in my predictions. If we face a statewide swing of X% and X is a very large number, then deviations from uniformity are more likely to be in favour of the ALP because there is only so far you can swing before hitting the ideologically blind fools who always vote one way out of convenience or sheer ignorance of the political world. Plus, swings in polls are always exaggerated since voters want to make a point to the government. Care about me! Care about my issues! When it comes to making the hard decisions, people quickly revert to type.

It’s even scarier to see the seats of quite senior Ministers falling. We’ve already seen the former Deputy Premier, John Watkin’s seat falling, but that was always destined to be a marginal seat.

We’re seeing Labor heartland seats falling. Not just Balmain (the literal birthplace of the Australian Labor Party), but every single seat in the Hunter region. The Hunter and Newcastle regions are heavily industrial areas that were Labor gold seats. We’re seeing seats with names like Parramatta and Strathfield not just being lost – but being safely lost to the Liberals.

In fact, the results are so spectacular they literally make no sense. Take for example Lakemba, Morris Iemma’s old seat. In 2007, it had literally the highest margin of any seat in the whole State, including Liberal, National and independent seats. It sat on a 34% margin. When Iemma quit after Nathan Rees toppled him, the seat swung 21.5% against the ALP. That means, the seat has a notional margin of 7.1%

As crazy as it sounds for a seat to swing a further 7.1% (for a total of 34%) is not impossible. The perception of a rotting Labor Government has been worsened by 2 more lost premiers since the by-election. There’s been a recent sneak attempt at privatisation (again) with the dodgy use of a prorogation of Parliament. And unlike the last by-election, the Greens pose a real alternative vote for the left-aligned voters in Lakemba who might not have voted for the Liberals.

So, despite my calculations showing 20 seats to the ALP, I figure that because of chaos theory, the true seat count will be 17-18 seats. In the main, because my predictions are optimistic, the fall of random chance is more likely to be against the ALP than in favour. The swings are just so unprecedented many of my calculations will be wrong (as will everyone’s). I think this election will be full of surprising results.


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