No one saw this coming. Last Thursday, an opinion poll told us that Victoria’s Labor government would win the Northcote by-election with room to spare, by 54 per cent to 46 for the Greens. But two days later, the voters did the reverse, and gave the seat to the Greens in a landslide.
At every polling booth, there was a swing of at least 10 per cent against the Andrews government. The average swing at the booths was 16 per cent. While some of that was clawed back on postal and pre-poll votes, by the end of the night, with only a few postals left to count, the government had lost the seat in a swing of 11.7 per cent.
This is the first seat any Labor government in Victoria has ever lost at a by-election. Indeed, it is only the third time in a hundred years that Labor in Victoria has lost a seat at a by-election; as Adam Carr’s invaluable Psephos website shows, the last was in 1948, when it lost Geelong in a campaign dominated by federal issues — rationing, bank nationalisation and the industrial war between the Chifley government and communist-led unions ...
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