Latham's Law - In The Home Straight

Mark Latham reveals an interesting pattern that has emerged this election campaign

Mark Latham
Wed, 22 Jun, 12:00 AM

With polling day on Saturday week, an interesting pattern has emerged in this election.

The longer the two major parties campaign, the more their primary votes drop – giving an even greater advantage to minor parties and independent candidates.

In Saturday’s Fairfax IPSOS poll, for instance, the combined Labor-Coalition vote fell to 72 percent, down from 78 percent a fortnight earlier.

Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten are both seen as hollow men – akin to cardboard cutouts going through their daily routine of staged media events and heavily-rehearsed, carefully spun rhetoric.

We are also starting to see a significant number of seat-by-seat polls, especially from Newspoll and ReachTel.

Most show the Coalition hanging on, with Labor falling short of the swing needed in key marginal seats.

Punters should be cautious about this material, due to the method of preference allocation.

Pollsters are relying on a preference flow "based on performance at the 2013 election".

But such a method struggles to allocate preferences accurately from ‘new’ players, such as the Xenophon Party nationwide and a resurgent One Nation in Queensland.

More reliable data will come from polling that asks voters to outline their 2016 preferences in detail.

In South Australia, there’s a strong expectation Xenephon will win lower house seats.

The IPSOS poll (albeit with a margin-of-error of 9.1 percent) recorded primary votes of Liberal 39 percent, Xenophon 26, Greens 15 and Labor on a very low 20 percent.

The Liberals have reason to be worried about two previously safe electorates: Mayo (12.5% margin) (Xenophon Team - $1.90 William Hill) and Grey (13.5%) (Xenophon Team - $4 William Hill).

Very often minor parties and independents do better in safe seats than marginal electorates.

For this reason, punters might like to look at the Labor seats of Port Adelaide (14.0%) (Xenophon Team - $11 William Hill) and Kingston (9.7%) (Xenophon Team - $6 LuxBet) in South Australia for upsets in favour of Xenophon.

My guess is that the state most likely to produce unexpected results is Queensland.

Shorten and Turnbull are two relatively prissy, politically correct leaders – out of step with the rugged character and down-to-earth conservatism of the Sunshine State.

The biggest news events of the campaign haven’t been domestically generated, they have come from overseas: the terrorist massacre in Orlando and the murder of British MP Jo Cox.

Unsettling events such as these make it more likely for Queenslanders to swing to rightwing, nationalistic parties such as Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

Previously I’ve predicted that Hanson will win a Queensland Senate spot.

Now she’s a chance of bringing her running mate home.

While the would-be sophisticates of the metropolitan media still treat Hanson as a figure of fun, her message still resonates in rural and provincial Queensland, making her a serious player in this campaign.

In the lower house, popular local independents pushing a Hansonite brand of politics are likely to poll well above media expectations.

In 2013, for instance, Bob Katter, suffered a big swing against him in his North Queensland seat of Kennedy, with the Liberals narrowing his margin to 2.2 percent.

On July 2, I expect Katter to be returned with an increased majority ($1.15 Sportsbet).

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