So after all that, nothing much has changed. With close to 75% of the vote now counted, the swing to the Liberals in Prahran (on a two party preferred count) is just 0.5% compared to the state-wide swing of 2%. The primary votes suggest that there was very little movement amongst voters between 2002 and 2006, with small swings to the Greens (1.5%), Family First (1.2%, off a base of 0) and the Liberals (0.7%), whilst the ALP had a small swing against it (0.4%), with the absense of a Democrat and Indepedent (Abraham Lincoln!) explaining the rest.
Given the resources that were poured into this campaign by the major parties, how do we explain the lack of movement? Most likely, voters were not particularly attuned to the local battle, and shared the statewide apathy with the election campaign. As Bracks candidly confessed early in the campaign, "They aren't out there with baseball bats ready to get us."
It's worth noting that the Liberals were victorious on primary votes by a significant margin - 4% - and that Labor's victory in the seat is largely attributable to the extremely strong flow of Greens preferences. Winning the seat with less than 4 in 10 votes, as Lupton has done this time around, in hardly a ringing endorsement.
This also points to the remarkable performance of the Greens - 19.5% - who have established a firm foothold as the protest party of choice for wealthy inner-suburbanites. The only thing stopping Prahran from joining the inner-city seats which were on the verge of turning watermelon is that the Labor and Liberal votes are too close to one another, making it near impossible for the Greens to run second and leapfrog their way to victory on preferences. A significant Green vote is here to stay, and a reality that the Liberals will have to get used to if they are to win back seats like Prahran.
So it looks like Ella and Duke were right after all.
UPDATE 1/12, 5:00pm: Polly has pointed to the close battle in Southern Metro region, where the Greens, the ALP and the Liberals are each perilously close to a quota, with only two positions left to be filled. Antony Green suggests that the Greens are likely to pick up the second-last spot, and that the Liberals will just get their toe over the line for the final position:
Liberal 50799 1.0011 Quotas
Labor 50685 0.9989 Quotas
But as Antony says, this one is too close to call. The old adage about absentee votes going to the Liberals more heavily than ordinary votes will stengthen their hand. Also, the Liberal candidate in the balance is David Southwick, a Jew who will poll well amongst the prepolling religious Jews in the Caulfield and St Kilda parts of the electorate. My hunch is that the Libs will get there, meaning that Evan Thornley misses out: a great shame.