South Australians head to the polls tomorrow for a State Election that may prove to be an important curtain-raiser for the Federal Poll in May.
In this pre-election briefing we look at the respective campaign commitments and likely election outcomes and what the result may tell us about voters’ attitudes and preferences just a few weeks before they make their decisions on who will run Australia.
The election will be a tough seat by seat contest. Voters in marginal seats may be swayed by hyper-local issues rather that state-wide issues and this provides the Liberals with an outside chance of holding on despite the state-wide polls.
|Liberal held seats to watch||Labor held seats to watch||Independent held seats|
|Newland (0.1%)||Mawson (0.7%)||Waite|
|King (0.6%)||Badcoe (4.8%)||Kavel|
|Elder (1.9%)||Mount Gambier|
The COVID-19 crisis has dominated SA politics for the last two years. The public generally supported Premier Marshall’s handling of the pandemic but this seems to have shifted with the Omicron outbreak late last year, particularly whether the SA Liberal Government was ready for the re-opening of State borders.
Mr Marshall’s narrative for re-election focuses on the renewed strength of the SA economy, its population growth, record infrastructure spend, and the success in attracting international investment in Lot 14 (the former CBD hospital site) and growth in its defence, cyber and space sectors.
Mr Marshall has also promised to continue the transformation of the Adelaide riverfront by building a $662 million “Riverbank Arena”, a 15,000-capacity indoor entertainment venue.
Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas has taken a different tack, run a very strong health campaign, focusing on ambulance ramping and promising to increase the numbers of doctors, ambulance officers, nurses and hospital beds. Labor has also localised its health campaign to target swinging voters in marginal seats.
Their economic and industry policy is centred around a green hydrogen jobs plan (utilising the State’s renewable energy), a manufacturing grant program, five new trade schools and a taskforce to investigate a merger of two of the state’s three Universities.
The most recent poll taken between March 7-13 showed the Labor party grew their two-party preferred lead with a result of 56 – 44. This follows a poll on February 26 that has the Labor primary vote up notably since the last election translating into a state-wide two party preferred lead 53 to 47. (Mr Malinauskas is also the preferred Premier by a margin of 46 – 39 per cent). If the polls are replicated uniformly on polling day that would be enough for the election of a Labor government.
For the first time since COVID-19 emerged in Australia, an incumbent government could lose an election. With the South Australian economy in a strong position, the election will tell us whether the community has banked the economic gains and turned their attention to other issues such as health and cost of living.
Based on the current polls and local intelligence, we believe there are three likely outcomes:
A Labor victory in South Australia would ring the alarm bells for the Morrison Government that is also behind in the polls. Although SA is not a key battleground State, Boothby being the only one targeted marginal federal seat in South Australia, a significant swing to Labor may also put other seats in doubt.
It is also clear that Labor has had a clear campaign edge with its charismatic leader Peter Malinauskas and if Labor win, that may have made the difference. However both parties will study the results on trends that after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, incumbency may now have become a political disadvantage.
Whoever wins, there will be a new Treasurer and a number of new ministers in senior portfolios. For a full South Australian election analysis and likely new ministers, see our post-election brief early next week.
Matt Williams – [email protected]
Finn McCarthy – [email protected]
Nick Maher – [email protected]
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