Political Betting: Your Victorian Election Preview

On 24 November, Victoria will be voting for their state government. Despite the influence of the Greens, the contest and betting markets show a two horse race. Pitted against each other are the Labor Party, led by Daniel Andrews and the Coalition, led by Liberal Party leader Matthew Guy.

The first term Labor government has been in power for four years and the major polls have it ahead by 4 to 8 points. Labor has 46 seats in the 88 seat Legislative Assembly and for the Coalition to win, there needs to be a uniform swing of 3.0% to gain the 7 seats needed to form government.

The Greens and Independents could retain and also win a small number of seats and in a close result and a minority government, they could prove to be the “King Maker” in deciding which side gets their support.


The Numbers

The Coalition has a numerical advantage in the election with Labor having more marginal seats in play than the Coalition. Whether it gets the swing in the right seats to form government remains to be seen.

Labor holds 10 seats with a margin of less than 4 per cent and a total of 15 with a margin up to 5 per cent. The Coalition, conversely hold just 6 seats with a margin under 4 per cent.

Given there is no such thing as a uniform swing in elections and enrolments in some seats have risen a phenomenal 20 per cent or more since the last election, election night could see some surprise results.

According to ABC election guru Antony Green, since the last election enrolments (voting age population) in the seat of Cranbourne have risen by over 33 per cent, while Bass has 28 per cent more voters than in the 2014 election.

There are four other seats with 20 per cent more voters – Yan Yean, Yuroke, Tarneit and South Barwon.

Are those new voters inclined to Labor or the Coalition? We don’t yet know.

While some of these seats are considered safe, if the new arrivals in these seats or other seats with significant population growth happen to favour one side or the other, there could be safe seats at risk on election night and this could lead to a shock result.


The Issues

The Andrews government has been performing well – Victoria has had solid growth, low unemployment and a strong budget position. State Labor has the added advantage of the turmoil within the Federal Liberal Party which has seen voters shy away from it. Note the 19% swing against the Liberals in the recent Wentworth byelection.

But there are some vulnerabilities for Labor.

The housing market is turning lower at a rapid rate and some voters may blame Labor for this. While the law and order issue has been blown out of all proportion, it seems to be a key issue for many voters and may help the Liberal Party pick up some critical votes in the key seats as it campaigns on a platform of more police and tougher sentencing for criminals.

There is also some voter discontent with the traffic congestion and the public transport system in Melbourne which has been driven by rapid population growth and a prior under spending in infrastructure. While there are no near term solutions to these problems, there can be an electoral backlash against the incumbent party on these sorts of issues.


The Odds

This appears to be a fair reflection of the poll numbers and the Andrews government is a legitimate favourite.

But with a number of key negatives which are difficult to quantify, the Coalition looks to be some value given it needs a 3% swing to win and with minor parties in the mix if neither major party gets an absolute majority.

The final two weeks of the election campaign can throw up some issues which will likely see the polls narrow. The fall in Melbourne house prices will likely see the Coalition ramp up its attack on Federal Labor’s policy on negative gearing as a further threat to property values and this could bite.


Betting Strategy

Labor should be favourites, not the $1.25 currently available.

A wager on the Coalition at $4.50 is value in what could yet to a close two horse race.

 BACK – The Coalition


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