I've written previously about the way that even if the Nationals won the Clarence by-election (as they inevitably would) Labor would be claiming the result as a win, and living off it for some time. There was never any doubt that there would be a swing back to Labor, given that the National's member had resigned in disgrace just 6 months after an election.
|Disgraced National Steve Cansdell.|
The equation was further muddied by the absence of a high-profile independent. While this may affect primary votes, the NAT/ALP 2PP should in theory be unaffected - but of course these things are not always as simple or straight forward as that.
In the event, the results look like this (thanks to Antony Green, whose analysis has been brilliant, as always):
First of all, the vast majority of Richie Williamson's votes (the majority of the OTH row) flowed across to the ALP. That was to be expected.
But the 2PP for the National's was well down, although in fairness it was more or less what had been predicted.
What really interested me tonight was both sides trying to count the result as a win.
For the Nationals it was easy, given that they had actually won. Andrew Stoner had this to say:
Another point he might have made was that there was clearly a large "anyone but Labor" vote in March. Some of that bitterness would be expected to have evaporated by now.
Funnily enough, the swing was what John Robertson chose to focus on:
Nonetheless, the ALP will be hoping that this will continue the growing disquiet about the O'Farrell government. Nothing reinforces an uneasiness felt by a swinging voter than the impression that lots of other people feel the same way.
As journos start (inevitably) picking up on that narrative, Robertson will have at his disposal a powerful tool to starting chipping away that those awful polling numbers that were released earlier this week.
As for the Greens, however, they've really had very little to say. I'm not aware of any Greens MLC or MLA who has made any comment on twitter (or elsewhere) at this stage regarding the result.
The Greens have been campaigning hard on the Coal Seam Gas issue, and may have been expecting a bump from farmers concerned about the effect on their land and particularly their water supply. Especially given the lack of a high-profile IND candidate, a swing of 0.3% is really a loss of the Greens,
John Kaye tweeted this photo earlier today, so clearly he is involved, but hasn't been heard from since:
It's going to be a fascinating week.