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Crikey recently published an article which asked which was the most critical seat in the upcoming election. I thought about this for a while before I read the article, and decided that Eden-Monaro (on the south coast of New South Wales) was probably the most important seat for the ALP and the Coalition. Whilst the Prime Minister's seat of Bennelong is very close to the point where government changes hands, there are a number of reasons why Bennelong might swing either way that would be different to the overall national swing. (If, indeed, there will be anything even approaching a national swing in this election.)

Eden-Monaro, on the other hand, is right on the margin, and has a mixture of city and country issues that make it a good bellwether.

I then read the article and discovered that the author and I agreed. I then noticed that Crikey was advertising The Crikey Guide to the 2007 Election.

On the basis that Crikey seemed to be showing a basic level of electoral nous (since they agreed with me) (and on the basis that this is, as far as I can tell, the only book devoted to the Australian 2007 Federal Election aimed at an election watcher), I bought the book.

I like it. Much of the information in it I already knew. But there was quite a bit of new stuff. For example, I had sometimes wondered how polls came up with their Two Party Preferred Vote (ALP vs Coalition) numbers, given that a proportion of the people they poll will tell them they want to vote Green, Family First, the Natural Law Party or the Monster Raving Loony Party. The answer is that their approaches vary. Disturbingly, the tendency used to be to just ignore those people. As time has gone on (and the number of people nominating minor parties has increased), the pollsters have gotten a little more scientific in how they handle those responses: but some pollsters do it better than others.

Thus, in a field of one, I highly recommend The Crikey Guide to the 2007 Election.

The chapters cover a diverse range of topics which means that it will appeal to people who aren't hard core election watchers. It's got a lot more than an election pendulum with some dry descriptions of marginal seats. It has some interesting commentary on running for elections from a collection of interesting politicians, and chapters that look into everything from the press, through polls to focus groups and voters.

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Anthony Holmes August 8th, 2007 09:13:27 PM

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