THE PROSPECTS FOR TO-MORROW
IN OTAGO CONSTITUENCIES OUR SPECIALS' PROGNOSTICATIONS OTAGO CENTRAL. It is very hard to gue6s what will happen in this electorate, but the general opinion is that the race will be a keen one. At the Central Otago end—i.e., the district from Bald Hill to Wedderburn— Mr Bodkin may be expected to poll a heavy vote. He will have substantial majorities at Bald Hill, Alexandra, Clyde, Moa Creek, Blacks, Matakanui, Lauder, and St. Bathans, and the other portions of that district will be about level. The majority his supporters anticipate runs from 250 to 400 votes. There are two heavy votes at Clyde Gorge and Moa Creek where the " co-operators" and irrigation workers are respectively located. From Wedderburn to Hindon, embracing all intermediate countrv, the voting will be fairly level, as far as I can learn, perhaps slightly favorable to Mr Scott, but I do not think the margin either way will be great. Taieri should give Mr Scott a fair majoritv, but Mr Bodkin has " caught on" alf over the district with the younger people, and their votes will undoubtedly tell. He will poil well all over Taieri, and particularly in Outram, Woodside, and Berwick. Taking a view of the Roxburgh portion, it seems to me that the voting will also bo close. Coal Creek will certainly rive Mr Scott a majority, because there is some feeling over Mr Bennetts having been " turned down." Roxburgh and Miller's Flat will run level—some say a majority for Mr Bodkin, and others for .Mr Scott. The samo applies to Beaumont and Rao's Junction. That leaves the Heriot-Crook-ston end to be accounted for. Can th.it district put up for Mr Scott a majority sufficient to wipe out Mr Bodkin's majority in Central Otago? On the reply to that question hinges the fate of the Otago Central election. A communication received by the writer from the Tapanui district predicts a dbse finish. It' was that district that gave Mr Scott so signal a victory threo years ago, but Mr Bodkin is a tougher proposition than anything ho tackled then. Present chances* favor the idea that it may be won by either candidate by a close margin. A Naseby correspondent wires:—The contest between Mr Scott and .Mr Bodkin will be close, the supporters of both being confident of victory. In this large electorate it is difficult to hazard a prediction, since both candidates have had good meetings, and hold similar views on Prohibition and Bible in schools. Local opinion favors Mr Scott, who is expected to poll heavily in and around Roxburgh and from the south to Taieri. WAITAKI. As to the Waitaki seat, if Mr Norton Francis can capture the majority, or even hold his own, in the borough of Wr.imate, as I am assured he will do, his election will bo certain, for the country districts will give him a majority in the aggregate, though in some centres —ae, for example, Ncapara—Mr Anstey is likely to head the poll. CLUTHA. The contest for the Clutlia seat promises to be the closest on record. Both sides are confident of winning, but it is quite jvossible that Clutha will for the first time return a Liberal. Mr Malcolm and Mr Jcnkinson have both done hard campaign work. In 19H ?vlr Malcolm's majority over Mr G. Livingstone was 375, but the Liberal party reckon that they have made substantia] gains, especially in Balclutha, where at the last election 813 votes were polled, and Mr Malcolm had a lead of 41 In Clinton, Tnpamii. and Owa.ka they also expect majorities for Mr Jenkinson, but feeling in the southern end of the electorate, which extends nearly to Wyndham, is an unknown quantity practically, and the result of the election will depend on whether that vote declares for Reform or for Liberalism. In 191] there were 54 polling booths; to-dc.v there, are 61. BRIT' I The re-election of the Finance Minister i ir, a foregone conclusion ; the oniy matter | on which there has been any disrnssion ; ha.s been : How large will Mr Allen's majoritv be' Mr C. R. Smith may poll heavily at the Kaitangata end. on account of his long residence there and the influence of thi> Miners' Union being thrown to him, but in every other part of the electorate it is anticipated the Minister will have the whip-end, especially in .-md around Lawrence, which is regarded as | bis stronghold. By obtaining a "free I hand" on the licensing question, which is interpreted as a de.-'ire on his part to supI port the 55-45 majority in the new Porlia I ment. Mr Allen will detach a good deal of | the Prohibition support from his oppoj iient, and must have a. considerable effect I on the result throughout the electorate. ! _ WAKATTPU. The Minister of Works has an absolut-9 Cakewalk, the electors not being unmindful of the redemption of his promise to push on at the proper time the continuation of the Otago Central Railway Crom-wel-wards, and his close attention to local want;. NORTH OTAGO. There is every indication that the politii r.al struggle in the Oamaru electorate will he a Herculean one. Last election Mr E. P. Lee had a clear majority over his two Liberal opponents—the Hon. T. Y. Huncan and Mr R. Milh'ean —of nbont 50, so that with an undivided progressive vote the contest would be exciting if the balance remained as it was three years ago; but other issues have cropped up, and the status has been considerably altered. The r.ihir-in-Schools Question is one upon which the candidate* vary, for while the Reform candidate favors the Referendum his opponent will not support a direct appeal to the peonle, and advocates the Nelson system. The question is one that is gointj to create a distinct cleavage, and rr-any who have in the past voted with the Liberals will on this occasion subordinate their political convictions to their social tenet*. This, of course, will throw a mora solid Catholic vote into the Iwlance for Mr Macpherson, and the workers, too, who last election deserted the Liberal cause, are united in their efforts to oust Reform. The country is likely to poll in much the same proportion as three years aero, while Palmerstrm and Waikotiaiti will show a better Liberal vote, so that tho fate? o! the. candidates anpear to rest. \ with Oamaru, where the silent vote will be the deciding factor. Jt is impossible to ray on what .side the preponderance will be ca6t, but in all probability it will be to tho advantage of Mr Lee. Altogether. present prospects point to a level-money chance. For Waitaki. Mr Norton Francis, the Reform candidate, wae early in the field, and he has covered his electorate conscientiously and assiduously. The campaign has been a quiet one, but no stone has hcen left unturned to secure a win for Reform. Mr Anstey, who is not a resident of the electorate, but comes from south of Timaru, was late afield, but his sterling, solid good sense and obvious honesty of conviction have stood him in good etead, and had he visited the centre of his electorate he would have won. What the handicap of getting away badly from the barrier will cost Kim it is impossible to say, bat in the southern end of the , electorate his chances look good. The j supporters of both sides are confident of , success, but I lean rather to the idea that j Reform will score by a narrow margin. j An esteemed correspondent supplies the ' following: The result of the election of a member for Oamaru is not a thing that one can forestate with perfect confidence. ; It will, I believe, be very close, whoever may secure the majority. At the last General Election Mr Lee secured the seat for the Reform party by only some 60 votes. On that occasion he received a good measure of support from Labor. In the present struggle his support from that direction will be much smaller, but on the other hand he will probably get the larger part of tho votes recorded three years ago for the late Hon. T. Y. j can on personal rather than political | grounds. Neither the liquor nor the j Bible-in-School question will .affect the J
issue to any great extent, and votes will bo cast more on party lines than in many previous elections. In Oamaru itself Mr Macpherson will probably obtain a small majority, but the country districts are likely to give Mr Lee such, a majority as will send him bade to the House aa Oamaru'e representative.
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THE PROSPECTS FOR TO-MORROW, Evening Star, Issue 15671, 9 December 1914