Josh Gordon's opinion piece in The Age offers a good analysis of how Labor managed a better strategy with preferences - something we would agree with. The Greens bombed their relationship with us in the Niddrie by election and only came looking after nominations had closed and even then cried foul after we told them we'd concluded a deal with Labor weeks before.
This result isn't a ringing endorsement of anyone. If Labor wins - the most likely outcome - it will not be an emphatic victory.
Far from it. The race has come down to the wire, boiling down to preference flows from a diverse range of independents.
Labor candidate Jennifer Kanis, with a low primary vote, appears to have mopped up thousands of spill-over votes from Family First, the Sex Party, former Victorian of the year Berhan Ahmed - who had the support of the African community - and conservative candidate David Nolte, among others.
This suggests that Labor ran a tactically clever - if unglamorous - campaign. Despite Labor's federal woes, a meagre campaign budget and a lack of policies to present to voters, it secured the political deals that will probably allow it to scrape over the line.
Close though the result is, there are some interesting implications.
First, almost 10 per cent of the electorate voted informal, compared to less than 4 per cent in the 2010 state election. Some would-be Liberal voters, with no obvious candidate to back, probably decided that the best approach was to submit blank ballot papers or simply leave.
Second, from a federal perspective this result is probably broadly neutral for Prime Minister Julia Gillard. For Labor, it was neither a heroic victory nor a crushing loss. In this sense, it will come as an intense relief, given that a loss would have been used as further evidence against her, potentially providing fresh impetus for a leadership challenge.
Third, Labor had hoped the election would be seen as a referendum on Premier Ted Baillieu's leadership, with claims that a vote for Labor would provide the best chance of ousting the Coalition in one term. In the end, the ''Baillieu effect'' was probably small or non-existent.
Coalition in one term. In the end, the ''Baillieu effect'' was probably small or non-existent.
Fourth, although a loss would be bitterly disappointing for Greens candidate Cathy Oke, her primary vote was still, as counting continued last night, more than 36 per cent. There are certainly plenty of inner-city voters keen to support the Greens.
The big question is whether the party can broaden its support enough to pick up seats in the lower house.
Finally, the result will probably come as a relief for state Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews.
At the very least he will now be able turn his attention back to his real foes.