Voter trends shift as more booths open on second day of SRC voting

Socialist Alternative maintain their lead following the close of polls on day two.

Photography by Thomas Sargeant.

The second day of SRC polling for the 2022 election has wrapped up. There were three additional booths open today: Fisher Library, Charles Perkins Centre (CPC), and Peter Nicol Russell (PNR), as well as the Jane Foss Russell (JFR) booth, which was open yesterday. Fisher and JFR booths had the highest density of campaigners and voters; this is unsurprising, since both are situated at major foot-traffic points on campus, and were open for the longest time (8:45am-5:15pm). Conversely, PNR and CPC will not be open tomorrow, making today’s campaigning pivotal for both Engineers and Colleges for SRC. 

At nearly all booths, competition for voters was high throughout the day, with Left Action (SAlt), Student Left Alliance (Solidarity and unaligned Left), and Stand Up (Student Unity, Labor Right) campaigners all contesting voters in the first hour of booths opening. Some resorted to unconventional tactics to win over voters and stir up general electoral chaos. At Fisher, Gymbros (Liberal-aligned) and Lift (Liberals) engaged in some cringe-worthy public weightlifting, while Sky News angel Cooper Gannon and other Lib counterparts attempted to stooge the Left (see yesterday’s recap for a definition of ‘stooging’.)

Votes at PNR did not see much contestation, with Amplify and Lift as the sole tickets with campaigners stationed at the booth for most of the afternoon. Charles Perkins Centre was similarly quiet with only Colleges (right-aligned) consistently campaigning — very few votes were cast at this booth at just 29 over the course of the day.

Total votes cast on day two sits at 676, of which Honi exit polled 445 (65.8%). 

Left Action retains its lead from yesterday, being the first preference of 20.3% of voters exit-polled over the two days, while Grassroots polled at 12.9% in second place. Third highest is Amplify (NLS, Labor Left) at 10.9%, followed by Switch at 10.8%, and Engineers sat fifth at 9.8%. 

Student Left Alliance (Solidarity and unaligned Left) and Lift (Liberals) are breaking even in the middle of the pack at 7.8% and 7.2% respectively. The lowest three factions are Lefties with 1.7%, Artistry (Conservatorium Unity) at 1.2% and INTERPOL (Independent) at 0.6%. 

Artistry are expected to pick up the majority of their votes tomorrow, as Wednesday is the only day of polling at the Conservatorium of Music.

Surprisingly, the tickets of established factions Stand Up (Unity), Penta, and Colleges underperformed across the two days. Stand Up received only 3.7%, Penta received 2.2%, and only 2.8% went to Colleges out of the total exit poll vote. 

The day saw the Left continue to dominate in overall exit polling. However Left Action, Grassroots, Switch, Student Left Alliance and Stand Up all experienced a swing against them. Engineers, Independents Inc., Lift, Colleges, Artistry, Amplify, INTERPOL and Penta experienced a swing towards — albeit marginal for some. 

The openly left-wing factions that historically make deals together (Grassroots, Switch, Left Action, Amplify, and Stand Up) comprised 66.8% of the day one vote but lost ground with a 12.7 percentage point collective swing against them.

Left Action experienced the largest decrease in their share of the vote, with a 6.7 percentage point swing against. However, they still hold a plurality first preference votes. They have considerably outperformed themselves in comparison to previous years, raising confusion among other factions, who are aware that they are a largely unliked group on campus (see: USyd Rants), and even an air of surprise among Left Action themselves. 

This can largely be attributed to two things. First, is their strong pick up of international student votes, in the lack of any strength from formerly dominant factions like Penta. The other is their presence on the ground — consistently, their number of campaigners at each booth has beaten other factions. What’s particularly notable about this is that not all of the campaigners seem to be from Socialist Alternative. In fact, one campaigner is reported to have not only said they’re not in Left Action, but also as having been unable to say what Left Action actually is. 

While this shows that they desperately need to rejig the morning debrief on talking points, it also proves what’s often forgotten in student elections: it’s less a contest of ideas, and more a contest of just convincing people to vote. No matter how poor your talking points, how illegible your graphic design or how limited your BNoC status, if you have the most campaigners on the ground who are getting voters across the line with your how-to-vote in their hand, you’ll win.

StuPol mainstays Switch and Grassroots also experienced a 3.9 percentage point and 0.7 percentage point swing against them, respectively. This change comes despite current President Lauren Lancaster and President-elect Lia Perkins contributing to the campaigning effort. It’s highly unusual for campus’ two most dominant factions to be struggling against the comparatively unpopular faction of SAlt. 

Engineers increased their share by the highest margin of 4.2 percentage points, which is unsurprising, given the Peter Nicol Russell (PNR) booth opened today. Despite the swing towards Engineers, they will need to continue to gain votes across the last day of polling tomorrow if they hope to maintain their strong position on Council. This may be an uphill battle for the faction, as today was the only day of polling with a booth at the Engineering precinct, and they have decided not to engage in any in-person campaigning, despite the election involving almost no online voting.

Lift were the next big winner, claiming 7.1% of the total thanks to a 3.9 percentage point swing towards them.

Colleges likely leveraged their uncontested presence at Charles Perkins Centre to claim a 3.4 percentage point swing towards them.

Fashion on the campaign trail

One of the most important aspects of campaigning is, of course, being seen doing it. Honi has gathered a selection of fashion-minded hacks on the runway that is Eastern Avenue. 

SRC Pres Lauren Lancaster wears the tried-and-tested combo of Switch campaign tee and loafers:

Amplify ticket head Jasmine Donnelly looking campaign-chic in dark flare jeans, a y2k choker, Doc maryjanes, and a casually-tucked campaign tee. Henri Collyer wears matching Docs — this is solidarity on the left: 

President elect Lia Perkins is Serious about sun safety — where are the other campaigners in hats?! Perkins is prez for a reason I guess:

Colleges for SRC, we’ll have you know: throwing a campaign shirt on top of a button up, chinos, and RM Williams does not disguise your obscenely bland outfit choice:

Former USU Board Director Belinda Thomas in an unauthorised, hand-drawn campaign tee, speedies, and platform boots striking a pose — we’ll have you know this isn’t actually London Fashion Week! (It’s better x):

Left Action having so many campaigners that they’ve run out of shirts — it’s giving DIY, small business, slow fashion, etc:

Jack Scanlan sporting an akubra (yes, that’s a hat), blue jeans, and lab coat to rep STEM and regional students — this is multitasking:

Student Left Alliance campaigners are all smiles in T-shirts that match Eastern Avenue’s banners, paired of course with the down-to-earth staple of Birks and socks:

Honi Editor Sam Randle in brand tee and aviators. 10/10. Classiest fit of the day in our opinion:

Tomorrow is the last day of polling, with JFR and Fisher booths open from 8:45am to 5:15pm. Booths at the Conservatorium and Manning House will be open from 10:45am to 3:15 and 3:30pm respectively.

Student Left Alliance are campaigning for booths to be closed from 9.45 to 10.45, to encourage attendance at the UTS strike and pickets. They have released a statement, which has been signed by Grassroots. The statement is available on their Facebook page. It does not yet appear that polling booth times will change, but Honi will update accordingly. 

All Photography by Thomas Sargeant.