Sunday, November 25, 2018

2018 Victorian Lower House Postcount: Benambra

Benambra (Lib vs probably Hawkins (IND), 2014 Nat vs ALP (9.7%)
Current 2PP Lib vs ALP figure is irrelevant
Assessment: Probable Liberal retain (update: retained)

(Link to state tally and main postcount page)

The seat of Benambra has been held by conservatives for 141 years but is under siege from independents inspired by the Cathy McGowan victory in Indi.  Bill Tilley's primary has fallen well below 50% leaving him in the danger zone. Here are the current primaries:

Tilley (Lib) 40.29%
Tait (ALP) 17.61
Hawkins (IND) 16.77
O'Connor (IND) 12.91
Knight (Shooters) 8.97
Bardsley (Green) 3.44

Jacqui Hawkins is a McGowan staffer and Jenny O'Connor is a local mayor who was a Greens candidate for the federal seat of Indi.

The Green how-to-vote card preferences O'Connor then Hawkins.  The Shooters registered two cards, one of which preferences Tilley then Tait and the other preferences Tait then Tilley.  O'Connor registered an open preference card (as did Hawkins.) Labor's card preferenced O'Connor then Hawkins with Tilley last.

While the Greens votes are likely to flow somewhat to O'Connor over Hawkins, O'Connor will not pass Hawkins on anything like current numbers.   Despite the Shooters half-preferencing Labor, the preferences from O'Connor and Bardsley are almost certain to put Hawkins into second when preferences are thrown, assuming she does not move into second on late counting.

Then the question is what sort of preference flow Hawkins can manage.  Currently she needs 77.4% to defeat Tilley.  My first view on this is that this is rather difficult because the 9% vote for the Shooters is a problem (it might not flow that strongly to Tilley, but I don't see it breaking for Hawkins.  If the Shooters preferences split 50-50 between Tilley and Hawkins, then Hawkins needs 85% of the rest.  In a city seat, achievable (just), but in a rural seat where people knowing each other cuts across politics, unlikely.  I'm also think the Shooters preferences will probably help Tilley anyway.

Unless there is a significant late shift in the figures my view is that Tilley will narrowly retain but that the local doctors' call to make Benambra marginal will be heeded all the same.  The ABC agrees, currently estimating 51.4% to Tilley.  However I figured the complexity of the seat and the high degree of interest in it deserved a separate post.

I don't know when we might get a re-alignment of the seat to a Tilley vs Hawkins two-candidate result (assuming Hawkins stays third on primaries) or if we might have to wait for the preference distribution.  If I find out anything about that I will add it.

Updates to follow.

Thursday 6:00 There hasn't been much to say about this seat as there have only been minor changes in primary vote with no sign of a re-alignment.  Hawkins performed poorly on absents (unlike O'Connor) and has dropped back to 1.85% behind Tait.  However, the preference share she needs has actually gone down slightly to 77%, and the ABC's estimate currently has Tilley down to 50.3%.  There is some speculation about O'Connor passing Hawkins on Greens preferences but this is still highly unlikely on current numbers.

Saturday 8:00 There is still not much more to add here.  I have seen a Labor source (not a scrutineer) say that they expect Hawkins to not get into second and the seat to remain as a Liberal-Labor 2PP based on talking to Labor sources in the area, but I am unsure if this is in any way reliable.  No scrutineering figures have been seen.

Tuesday 4:00 Just through from scrutineers: Hawkins has got into second; Hawkins 11775 Tait 10126 Tilley 19505.  Needs 88.2% of Labor preferences to win.

Tuesday 4:30 A scrutineering report that Tilley is getting around 20% of preferences which is about what I would expect - he would win about 52-48 based on that.

Tuesday 7:25 All over - 52.45% to Tilley, getting 24% of Labor preferences.  Notably Shooters preferences flowed more weakly to Labor than to both independents.


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