I think Balmain is going to be an interesting seat to watch.

In 2007 the voting was like this.

Candidate Party 1997 V 1997%
Verity Firth ALP 16562 39.2
Rochelle Porteous GRN 12471 29.5
Peter Shmigel LIB 10031 23.8
2 Candidates IND 1297 5.4
Edward Okulicz DEM 881 2.1

Now in 2011 the voting will change. Firstly because there is according to the polls a general swing against the State Labor Government, with a few issues pressing up it including the Power Sell Off, and the like. A swing of 6% would be minimal, a swing of 16% would be catastrophic. It would seem likely or Balmain that the swing may be 10% in general.

Now Verity Firth has a husband who has just been arrested on a minor Drugs charge. As a result of this he has resigned his position from the staff of the Minister for Roads. Although not huge this will add to the backlash, perhaps 2%.

The Greens polled very well in Balmain in 2007 no doubt picking up some of the exodus from the Democrats.

Where does a disenfranchised ALP voter turn. Given a choice between Green and Liberal the inclination of many will be to vote Green. Now the Liberals have a task to try and capture some of that vote by presenting a clear picture and plan over the next few weeks.

My current feeling is that the loss will swing at about 2:1 in favour of the Greens.

In 2011 the voting may be like this.

Candidate Party 2011 ?V 201 1 %
Verity Firth ALP 12500 29
Jamie Parker GRN 15000 36
James Falk LIB 12500 29
2 Candidates IND 2500 6

Then of course the Independent preferences will be distributed, and based on the preceding ballots the Greens will do well, but the Libs may well outperform the ALP at this point.  That would mean that the ALP preferences would be the next to be distributed which I imagine will return a Green Candidate.

If however the ALP outperformed at this point then the Liberal preferences would be the next to be distributed and we are yet to know where they will go. If the Libs follow Victoria and there is no reason why they should then they will preference the ALP and return Verity, alternatively they may preference the Greens which would bring the Greens Home.

The Greens candidate is the Mayor of Leichhardt and he is regarded as a strong candidate. The Liberals are running James Falk, and he lives and works on Balmain and is out and about doorknocking and asking for votes.  It seems a three way tussle, and a huge amount rests of the preference deals and the fine tuning of the votes cast on the day.

My guess is that we will not know on the night, but on Balance I think Balmain may well return a Green to represent them in Macquarie Street.



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