19 July 2024

Hamilton West by-election: Which side will pendulum swing – Red or Blue?

Weeks of hectic campaigning for the prestigious Hamilton West seat ends at midnight today, 9 December with all political advertising and election signs taken down.

Twelve candidates are vying for the seat, but as end is near, the by-election is being seen by many election pundits as a straight contest between the two main parties, National and Labour.

Or would one of the other ‘under-dogs’ – including Dr Gaurav Sharma who triggered the by-election after his resignation, emerge a winner?

In whose favour the winning pendulum will swing to represent this electorate will be known only on Saturday, 10 December evening after voting comes to an end at 7 pm.

Hamilton West electorates will know the outcome trend for sure in just over 24 hours from now as preliminary results start trickling in immediately after closing.

By 10.30pm, results from 95% of voting places are likely to be known. Official results will, however, be declared on 21 December after counting of special votes.

Hamilton West constituency

Early voting has been considerably slow. As on yesterday, 8 Dec, only 8,770 advance votes were cast as compared to  21, 696 in 2020 general elections during same period.

Low voter turn out is not a good sign and is likely to affect the results. Candidates who have been out and about meeting voters either in their homes or in malls or on streets may stand a better chance.

 But it’s difficult to predict the minds of voters or the final outcome until it is announced.

Unlike the 2020 elections, there is no particular swing in any direction.

But there is too much at stake for both Labour and National Party with general elections next year.

Results will be ‘a litmus test’, and no leader is prepared to say with any certainty if their candidate will win.

National has won this seat 10 times so far, and Labour eight. Gaurav Sharma won 53% of the vote in 2020 with a margin of 6267 votes and Labour won 52.2 percent of the party vote in this seat.

In spite of Curia poll indicating a win by National’s Tama Potaka, yet the party leader, Chris Luxon is non-committal. “It’s going to be really, really close,” he said.

In this poll, Labour’s Georgie Dansy was not too far behind, followed by ACT’s James McDowall and Gaurav Sharma in fourth position.

A win for Labour will not only get back the party their seat, but a tremendous boost in the next general elections. On the contrary, a win for National would mean regaining their seat(& stature) that Tim Macindoe  was holding before he lost to Dr Gaurav Sharma.

But if Dr Sharma emerges as the proverbial dark horse and emerges victorious, that would be have a very demoralizing effect to the party he left and caused a by-election. With all the goodwill he seemingly has built amongst his constituents over the years, anything could be possible.

In a recent national poll National was trending at 38%, ahead of Labour by 5%.

Nervous wait for the candidates is not going to last for long now. In less than 24 hours from now, preliminary results will indicate the fate of not only the candidates themselves, but also the popularity of each party.

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