At least we acknowledged ahead of time we were going to look like idiots. The folks across the street ended up paying – literally – for their errant forecast.
Granted, it’s probably less embarassing for their paid poll to be way off than our “instincts.” But we both did in a way get something right: the electorate has made a dramatic shift here.
The poll conducted by Svalbardposten at the end of September predicted Labor would win nine of the council’s 15 seats (up from the current seven), the Conservatives three (same), the Greens two and the Liberals one (both of the latter were on the ballot for the first time).
Our official prediction changed the poll results slightly, taking away a vote from Labor and giving it to the Greens. But our “longshot” prediction is what everyone paid attention to: Labor-7, Greens-5, Conservatives-3, Liberals-0.
The actual outcome: Conservatives and Labor five each, Liberals three and Greens two.
That’s a huge blow to Labor (we won’t call it a rebuke yet, pending some real number crunching and discussions) since it’s highly likely the council will now have a Conservative/Liberal majority. Some might question the Green Party being happier with the final results than the advance votes, which gave them only one seat, but they would have been the kingmakers in determing the majority. Now they’ll simply be a slightly more vocal minority.
But while we, the Local Paper of Regretting That Decision and most pols in the room seem to agree the Conservative/Liberal thing will happen, it’s worth rementioning a line from our prediction column: the Labor Party’s top-ranking candidate being “set to become Longyearbyen’s next mayor unless he’s caught with a live girl or dead boy.”
That didn’t happen (that we know of), yet it appears he will not be in that seat when new council is sworn in. Unless, of course, Labor can pull off another surprise like the one on Election Night that gets the Liberals in their camp.