Why Debnam is not Bracks

Tuesday, 20 March 2007 

In the discussion around the NSW election, and last year’s in Queensland, there has been the constant resurfacing of an idea that some sort of protest vote could unseat the ALP governments if the Coalition lowers expectations that they are a serious contender for power. This has especially taken off after Debnam’s pre-election concession speech last week.

As said earlier, this blog believes Debnam’s pessimism is less tactical than given credit for by some commentators, and there was a swift retreat from it in the days following. Rather it should be more seen as a response to a chronic policy vacuum.

The polls point to a comfortable Labor win with a largely unchanged majority and this blog sees no reason to expect anything different. However, the perception that Debnam could do better than expected by a protest vote like Bracks in 1999 and Gallop in 2001 contains two ideas that are worth questioning.

The first is the idea of a protest vote. The second is the underlying assumption of equivalence between the Coalition’s chances now at the state level and those of the ALP at the beginning of the decade. Separate posts will look at these in turn.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Tuesday, 20 March 2007.

Filed under State and federal politics

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