Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Of Sydney Lines and Firewalls

Posted by Possum Comitatus on September 14, 2007

Over at The Terror, there’s an interesting article that’s well worth a read.

Liberals on brink of NSW annihilation

Remembering back to last week when we blended together the Crosby Textor research with information about what’s happening on the ground around the country – the obvious conclusion was the existence of a Coalition firewall strategy. Today, the Tele helps us verify that the firewall is alive and well in NSW.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal:

LABOR polling in keymarginals last month was so positive for the ALP that it was redone, only to return the same results;

THE Liberals have started polling the blue-ribbon seat of North Sydney because of fears Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey could fall; and

SEATS with margins of up to 10 per cent have been identified by the Liberals as vulnerable.

This we already knew. We identified the 10% margin as the rough firewall baseline in ‘Capitulation’, we pointed out that the ALP believed they had most of the marginals in the bag and that they were off fox hunting in the safe seats.

Months ago we identified NSW as the State with the most dangerous swings in the safe government seats in our ‘Pollycide‘ analysis.

And back in the beginning of July we identified about 40 seats in play that could be now categorised as marginal for the Coalition in ‘Margin of Terror‘. That seat number was subsequently verified in late August in The Oz.

The article further states:

Liberal Party officials also confirmed they have abandoned plans to target Labor-held seats – to concentrate on protecting sitting members.

They have revealed the level of their concern over Mr Rudd’s growing popularity in western Sydney, with plans to draw a “Sydney Line” as a last bulwark of defence in their national campaign.

“The Sydney Line” eh?

I guess its tough titties then for the members for Page, Cowper, Paterson and Macquarie. Rome will not be sending reinforcements to defend the fringes of the empire, despite weak platitudes to the contrary. If you can’t even see Sydney, you can’t be in any “Sydney Line”…..which is probably fair enough. With the possible exception of Cowper, those seats are cactus for the Coalition anyway.

Eden-Monaro will of course become the capital of pork; it’s mythical (and undeserved) status as the nations bellwether seat guarantees that the denizens of EM will need to reinforce their umbrellas to protect themselves from the porcine falling from the heavens.

Macarthur, Greenway, Dobell, Robertson and Hughes – if push comes to shove, you’re expendable. That’s what happens when you make up the wall – you’re the first to crumble as the call for retreat sounds.I’m sure the esteemed members are quite relaxed and comfortable about it all.

Parramatta is written off as a possible Liberal gain, even though it’s notionally Liberal after the redistribution and Lindsay is apparently just about to be written off by the Libs as well, so they don’t even make it into the mix to begin with.

But not to fear dear representatives of Cook, Wentworth, Warringah, Mackellar, Berowra, Mitchell, Bennelong, Bradfield and North Sydney – The Team still loves ya.

Although the NSW firewall may well resemble a doughnut by the time the electorate is finished putting pencil to ballot, with Bennelong and Wentworth the possible holes in the middle.

This isnt really related, but so worth a squiz at.Its a piece of ALP advertising that will be extremely effective in Qld north of Brisbane.Mexicans might not get the power of it, but as a Qlder, it’s powerful stuff.The tranquil dusk fishing setting, the lifestyle connotations, the juxtaposition of the way Qld always has been vs. what it will become… it’s a highly intelligent piece of political advertising that confronts the most sacred lifestyle dogmas of Qld’rs north of Brisbane everywhere.


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31 Responses to “Of Sydney Lines and Firewalls”

  1. andrew said

    I wonder if all this internal polling and liberal electoral strategy explains the plunge that occured in Hughes over at portlandbet. Went in from 12 in July to 2.55 now.

  2. disenfranchised Gippslander said

    Apart from high profiles like Bennelong, and maybe Eden monaro, betting on the seat by seat seems quite scrappy. The biggest movements have been in formerly marginal ALP seats, who the punters have redesignated as “safe”. However, when a movement does come, it tends to come in a rush.. a symptom of a thin market.

  3. Doug said

    mr oward responded to this story along the lines that they held a record number of seats in NSW and wereworking on not losing any.

  4. Peregrine said

    Great analysis of the Newspoll trends. Do you think there will be much movement from the Newspoll figures or is this 1996 where the final vote was more or less decided before the campaign?

  5. Don Wigan said

    Gosh you brighten up my days, Possum. Keep up the good work.

  6. Neil Cammack said

    I wonder what’s going on in Eden-Monaro? On the one hand we have the PM trying to motivate his troops by pointing to internal polling that shows Gary Nairn ahead of Labor’s Mike Kelly. On the other, we have yesterday’s report on the Morgan website that has Labor ahead 62-38%, with the annotation “These are the main findings of a Morgan Poll conducted face-to-face in the Federal electorate of Eden Monaro between July 2005 and June 2007 with 604 electors.”

    Assuming the 2PP vote indicated was the result of the last poll taken (June 2007), that would have pre-dated Colonel Kelly’s preselection, and he’s a very impressive candidate by any standards. If the Morgan poll is reasonably accurate, are we to believe that Labor has suffered a huge slump in the last 3 months? Or was Howard holding that piece of paper upside down? Perish the thought that he was embroidering the facts….

  7. Doug said

    There was a leaked Liberal party poll reported on WIN news that suggested a 7% swing against the coalition.

  8. thedjselectionometer said

    Re: The link to the video

    It was to be expected that Labor would try to cash in on the government Nuclear Industry debate, and will prove very effective. Just another reason the Qld Nats are not happy with the Howard firewall at the moment – they seem to have been made expendable. Or at least thats the sounds I’m hearing in this capitulating government.

    TheDJ – thedjselectionometer.wordpress.com

  9. chinda63 said

    Lire in Eden-Monaro over the next few months will be very hard on the vegetarians I suspect.

  10. chinda63 said

    LIFE, if only I could spell 😉

  11. Leopold said

    When Labor was talking about relying on a big swing in Queensland for an election victory, I felt extremely sceptical. I really believe that economic conditions are so strong up here that a really whopping swing (anything beyond 6%) is not likely. Though I do note activity in some relatively safe seats just recently that indicates the Libs themselves are not so confident.

    But I can believe a savage swing in Sydney. Dobell, Parramatta, Macquarie and Lindsay gone I’d say, and trouble in Bennelong, Hughes and Robertson. I’ll back the Big Mal to hang on in Wentworth though.

    Not completely sure you’re interpreting the ‘Sydney Line’ thing right – could be they’re not so worried about the regional seats. Howard apparently reckons Eden-Monaro is okay – maybe Page and Cowper are travelling reasonably as well.

  12. KC said

    Nice work Poss

    I think Bailey is a chance in North Sydney, but as Gippslander notes individual seat betting is scrappy.

    There is always a bigger risk on individual seats than the results. There is always the possibility of scandals emerging like what happened to Ross Cameron in Parramatta, or charges of electoral rorting like what happened to the libs in the QLD seats which throws a spanner in the works.

    These consistent polls do seem to show the mood for change is out there in a big way.

    The nuclear power stations for QLD is very effective, if Howard gets back in they will come in sooner than later as he will be able to claim a mandate for them. And they are one of the things he wants to see bedded in before he retires.

  13. jcsee said

    I reckon the seat of Page is a huge problem for the Nationals. They have an on paper margin of around 6%. Causley is going so there goes 2% with his personal following, then there is a possible 2004 anti-Latham factor another 2%, and then there is the Rudd swing… there goes Page.

  14. ruawake said

    “Even Bribie Island” aimed squarely at Mal Brough. Longman is very winnable for Labor.

  15. Enemy Combatant said

    Wonder if Team Smirk/Rodent has factored in the cost of “Terrorist Proofing” each of the nuclear reactors before they announce whose backyards they are going to be built in?

    Concerned voters await a hasty response.

  16. disenfranchised Gippslander said

    I reckon the seat of Page is a huge problem for the Nationals. They have an on paper margin of around 6%. Causley is going so there goes 2% with his personal following, then there is a possible 2004 anti-Latham factor another 2%, and then there is the Rudd swing… there goes Page.

    Comment by jcsee — September 15, 2007 @ 10:18 am

    I agree with most of what you say, but the punters at Portland either haven’t noticed, or don’t agree. Page’s price has scarcely moved for two weeks .ALP implied probability at the end of August 45.5% vs 47% now. I’m not a punter, but maybe Page would be worth a flutter. ( I don’t think Sir Earle Page would approve of that thought)
    By way of comparison, ALP national prob has gone from 60.4% to 73.8%

  17. Matt said

    I think you are spot-on about the firewall strategy Possum, however I think you’ve misunderstood the Liberals tactical plan. In the true Howard style of division, the Liberals will be constructing an actual wall of fire between said electorates.

    Strangely enough I predict both sides of the wall will be happy with this arrangement (for different reasons).

  18. MorningDude said

    Would be interested to think why you believe the Eden-Monaro bellwether is a myth?

    Anyway you are out of date as the porcine has been flying thick and fast from Gary Nairn for a little while now. His environmentally irresponsible new dam and pipeline to forever drought proof EM were announced more than a month ago and have been heavily advertised. Recently it was the handing back of fishing licences taken away by Howard in the East Coast Marine Parks policy. There have been several other porks that have slipped my mind and Gary Nairn has promised much more to come.

    On the other hand Rudd alongside Mike Kelly have just pushed the family values line and the need of the help from the locals to win the election. Nothing earth shattering.

    As was stated, WIN news released an internal Liberal party poll that showed an approximate 7% swing against Gary Nairn, that would have Eden-Monaro fall to Labor by 3 odd percentage points. The Libs currently hold it by 3.3%

  19. steve said

    The AP Mini Launch on Saturday 15 September is to “Lock Up’ the issues. This development is in line with issue control as identified by Crosby Textor et al. It denies Captain Smirk at the helm of Starship Free Enterprise any oxygen in his attempt to echo the ALP on the issues of Education and Health (his version of “me too” politics). The more he pushes these topics, the stronger the link they have to the ALP as issue owner. The timing of this launch with between 11 and 12 weeks to go (either 01 or 08 December as Poll day) is interesting as JWH is fighting to recover his seat and is distracted from the bigger picture.

  20. Possum Comitatus said

    On the behaviour of the betting markets, I said it elsewhere – a lot of them are thinner than Kate Moss on a laxative bender, they’d have to be. A few bets on a couple of the unusual seats and we end up with great wads of movement in the prices.But even in the broad market, the behaviour is all very herd like.


    Simon Jackman has the right idea with his corker of a site – arbitrage the buggers six ways to Sunday.Free money.

    On the Newspoll movements, nearly every election has been decided before the campaign starts, with only 1993 being the real exception in recent times.But in 1993 the polling was highly volatile for months leading up to the poll.

    Don, you know my purpose in life is to brighten up your day! 🙂

    There’s a bit of detail about the WIN leaked polling on Eden Monaro here:

    From everything I’ve heard from both sides of the political fence, the ALP is solidly ahead in EM (reflecting that WIN leaked polling).Unless there has been some late, huge (in the realm of a 6%) surge in movement in the polling in EM in the last month or so back to the Libs, Howards talking out his arse.

    The Morgan poll is what it is, a poll taken over 6 months or so that has a large margin or error, but even considering that the Morgan numbers are at the top end of the range, it still places the ALP ahead by about the same margin as the other 6-7% swing polling leaks are showing.

    I’m with Jcsee on Page – fairly large demographic movements over the last few years, not necessarily favourable to the Coalition, there’s the Causley factor, the anti-Latham swing in a lot of places to wash out of the system.If I were the Nats, I’d be disturbed about it.

    That’s a cheeky take Matt – if the Libs disintegrate into a pool of venomous bickering, what you say may well turn out to be the case.

    On why I dont reckon it’s a bellwether – on the one hand its a simply issue of probability.With 150 seats in the house, the chances of any individual seat only changing hands in the last 30 years when government does is remote, but the probability of a one or a small handful of seats among those 150 doing just that is very very high.

    On the other hand- demographics change, politics change, and election issues change in Australia.One seat might have the perfect demographics for the government in one election simply as a result of the issues that are driving the campaign impact most upon that demographic, but in the next election, that wont necessarily be the case as different issues and different demographics come to the fore.Putting it bluntly, I don’t think permanent “bellwethers” exist in Australia.

    The Labor campaign launch – “New Leadership” is the new black.

    Can’t imagine why they’d run with that meme 😉

  21. Neil Cammack said

    Howard has scotched rumours that he’ll hand over to Costello as early as Tuesday. That I can believe – as Keating said, his arse is Araldited to the prime ministerial chair.

    And as a wag in the SMH letters column suggested, that nice new water cannon acquired by the NSW Police may be needed to blast John and Hyacinth out of Kirribilli House when the Libs lose.

    Costello has said yet again that he won’t challenge. Technically, that I can also believe insofar as he’d be relying on his backers to force a spill. That’s something they haven’t shown the stomach for so far, but to quote (or misquote) Dr Johnson, “Depend upon it, Sir; nothing concentrates a man’s mind so much as the knowledge that he will be hanged in a fortnight”.

    My best guess is that with Tuesday’s Newspoll almost certain to be yet another stinker, Howard will call an election by the end of the week to forestall a challenge. Having steered the ship almost onto the rocks, he’d rather go down with all hands than hand command to his despised lieutenant. I reckon the journos will be staking out that short drive from Parliament House to Government House next week.

  22. Neil Cammack said

    And reflecting upon my nautical theme, while it’s an imperfect analogy I couldn’t help thinking of Herman Wouk’s fine novel “The Caine Mutiny”. Forget the movie, in which a miscast Humphrey Bogart played Captain Queeg as a nutter. Wouk’s Queeg was actually an ordinary, inadequate man, admitedly with more than his fair share of personal demons, who the exigencies of wartime had elevated to a role beyond his abilities. Until he took command of the “Caine” his talents and character hadn’t been seriously tested.

    Faced with a terrifying challenge that he couldn’t surmount he froze, and his frightened subordinates took the helm. The subtlety of Wouk’s construction lay in the fact that in the final analysis there was no certainty that the mutiny was necessary to the USS Caine’s survival, and the motives and characters of the mutineers didn’t survive the resultant court martial intact.

    As I say, it’s not a perfect analogy – make of it what you will.

  23. paradiseenough said

    The image of JWH (aka the rodent) standing at the dispatch box rolling his balls in his pocket, mad and paranoid, accusing all behind him of treachery is no doubt completely accurate.

    More to the point though, is when does the newspoll quarterly marginals come down? That should set everyone going, although it will have missed out on the last couple of week’s kamikaze efforts.

  24. disenfranchised Gippslander said

    It’s sheer fantasy, but I’m starting to plan a quiet little supper on election night.’it’s 8:30, I’ve just come in from scrutineering at one of the small rural booths.. a swing of about 6% to ALP.. not quite enough in Gippsland… still Antony Green is saying all 5 in Tassie… Bennelong looks gone for the PM .. swings are starting to look like 8% in NSW and 5% in VIC… 7% in Qld.. too early to tell in SA

    I start to settle down to smoked salmon, shades of blue cheese, Kalamata olives, with a baguette(sic) from the local bakery..tell me paradiseenough, what would you recommend to drink… I think I’ll be here for some time…and if the SA results are OK, I might broach a box of Haighs chocolates.

  25. Crikey Whitey said

    Oh, disenfranchised Gippslander. Go Haighs now! SA a definite meltdown!

  26. otiose said

    disenfranchised Gippslander my brie runneth over – i am scheduled to work that night but i will stop (no matter the cost) IMMEDIATELY the abc call that divisive little (insert any adjective you choose) rodent has been banished to unremembered history – rudd’s tactics so far are exemplary

  27. paradiseenough said

    dG I am starting to prep some bubbly this week. A four week campaign would be a bit short for this, but any time from 17th Nov will do. But let’s not get too previous – it’s been a long time between drinks. Note that the Age (Morgan) this morning have the rodent in trouble,(http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/pm-set-to-lose-seat/2007/09/16/1189881342275.html) but he has lots of $ for the campaign there and I still don’t believe he’ll go down.

  28. disenfranchised Gippslander said

    paradiseenough, it was only a fantasy… but what if my thoughts are subject to what the mariners call a “180 degree error”? I’ll need something to solace my misery… I’ll have to eat crow, whatever the SA results. “God sent us soda water as a torment for our crimes” Still only the best .. Perrier, since I’d want to abjure all things Australian.

  29. Mark said

    Disenfranchised Gippslander, I put away an excellent ’96 Barossa red some years ago vowing that it would not be allowed to breath until the nation made amends for the events of that year. Now expect the top to come off even before SA results are in.


  30. MsLaurie said

    Oh don’t go getting the bubbles chilled yet! You’ll jinx things!!

  31. J-D said

    About the ‘bellwether seats’ thing: see what I said here (yes, that’s me):


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