• GhostWhoVotes reports Nielsen has Labor ahead 52-48, from primary votes of 39 per cent for Labor, 41.5 per cent for the Coalition and 13 per cent for the Greens.
• The Australian reports the 2500-sample Newspoll we were shown two-thrds of yesterday panned out to 50.2-49.8, the decimal place being a feature of Newspoll’s final polling since about two years ago.
• Westpoll/Patterson Market Research has polled 400 voters in each of Canning, Hasluck, Swan and Cowan, putting the Liberals narrowly ahead in each: 51-49, 52-48, 52-48 and 53-47 respectively. Canning aside, where Alannah MacTiernan is clearly doing exceptionally well in narrowing down a 4.3 per cent Liberal margin, the figures point to a swing against Labor of about 2.5 per cent within a margin of error of under 3 per cent.
UPDATE: Newspoll state breakdowns show the shift they have recorded against Labor has been driven by a collapse in Queensland, where their two-party vote is down six points on last week to 42 per cent, and New South Wales, where they are down four to 48 per cent. This points to election-losing swings of 8.4 per cent an 6.2 per cent. And yet the poll also finds Labor climbing still higher in Victoria for a swing of 3.7 per cent, maintaining their 3.6 per cent swing in South Australia, and recovering four points to their 2007 level of support in Western Australia. After appearing to reverse her decline last week, Gillard’s disapproval has shot up five points to 43 per cent, almost equal with her steady 44 per cent approval. State results vary from plus-22 net approval in South Australia to minus-16 in Queensland. However, Tony Abbott’s disapproval is also up four points to 50 per cent, and his disapproval down one to 42 per cent. Gillard’s lead as preferred prime minister has narrowed from 50-35 to 50-37.
UPDATE 2: Kevin Bonham in comments notes that the Queensland result looks very much an outlier, and if it was replaced with the state’s trend figure the national result would be 50.8-49.2 in favour of Labor. This of course would normally be rounded to 51-49.
UPDATE 3: While a nation waits in breathless anticipation of the result in Boothby, The Advertiser offers … a poll of Hindmarsh. This predictably has Labor well ahead, although the size of the margin – 62-38 from a swing of 7 per cent – is interesting.
UPDATE 4: Roy Morgan has done a very strange thing – recontacted the 187 undecided voters (fair enough) and Greens voters (huh?) from their recent poll to check if they had made up or changed their minds, and reassigned their vote choices accordingly. Their figures thus record Greens votes shifting to other parties, but not other votes shifting to the Greens.
UPDATE 5: A late situation report.
New South Wales. The final Newspoll has the swing at 6.2 per cent, and while this seems to be what Labor is bracing for in western Sydney, the result is well clear of what is expected statewide. Nielsen and Morgan both have it at 3 per cent. A swing of that size in Sydney alone would cost Labor Macquarie, Macarthur and Bennelong, and the expectation that these seats will indeed be lost has become almost universal over the past few days. There is also an emerging consensus that two further Sydney seats on much larger margins, Lindsay and Greenway, are being swept away on a late surge to the Coalition. However, Imre Salusinszky of The Australian suggests the backlash against Labor ends at the city limits. Robertson is rated “the only regional seat in NSW where Labor regards itself in deep trouble” (Gilmore evidently doesn’t count), and even there the result is 50-50. Labor is thus expected to retain Eden-Monaro, Dobell and Page, and if this proves wrong they can kiss the election goodbye. There would also remain the vague hope for Labor of a boilover in Liberal-held Robertson.
Victoria. Meanwhile, the swing to Labor in Victoria is at the very least holding firm: Newspoll has it at 3.7 per cent, Morgan at 0.7 per cent. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald quoted a Liberal source talking of a stronger-than-anticipated swing driven by “resentment in the southern states towards the almost-maniacal focus on western Sydney and Queensland”. Certainly Labor is expected at a bare minimum to win McEwen, and are generally rated favourites to take La Trobe. Beyond that pickings in Victoria are slim, though there are dim hopes Dunkley or Aston might prove a bolter. Conversely, Labor are by no means a foregone conclusion of retaining Corangamite, which looms as a must-win for them in every sense of the term. Labor are all but giving away Melbourne to Greens candidate Adam Bandt, who could find himself in a very interesting position over the coming week or two.
Queensland. Newspoll has set a cat among the pigeons by showing a lethal swing against Labor of 8.4 per cent and a primary vote below 30 per cent. However, this is sharply at odds with Nielsen’s 3 per cent and Morgan’s 4.4 per cent. Should it come in at the lower end of expectations, Labor could yet save quite a bit of furniture. I believe Peter Brent is overselling his point in saying “sophomore surge” means the Coalition is more likely to lose from a majority of the vote than Labor, but there’s no question this phenomenon warrants more attention than it has been given. At the 1998, members of John Howard’s class of 1996 facing re-election for the first time experienced an average swing 1.1 per cent lower than the overall swing in their state. Similarly, the 19 Labor MPs ushered into the Victorian parliament by the Steve Bracks landslide of 2002 out-performed the statewide swing by 1.4 per cent at the 2006 election. Should that pattern be repeated this time, it would be an enormous boon to Labor in Queensland where sophomores are defending eight seats, including six on margins of 4.5 per cent or less. Labor could thus be confident of holding back the tide in a couple of seats with margins under the statewide swing. The consensus is fuzzy about individual outcomes, with seemingly only Leichhardt and notionally Labor Dickson on everybody’s list. Most feature any or all out of Flynn, Dawson, Longman and notionally Labor Herbert. Speaking on The Drum, Annabel Crabb noted Labor had been surprised how little attention the Liberal National Party had been paying to Bonner, Petrie, Brisbane and Moreton, but of these it seems only Moreton is entirely safe.
Western Australia. The best guess is that Labor will suffer frustrating defeats in every WA marginal, with Canning, Hasluck, Swan, Cowan and Stirling all emerging in the 0 to 5 per cent zone on the Liberal side of the pendulum. The seat most likely to buck the trend is Canning, which speaks volumes for Alannah MacTiernan’s performance given its 4.3 per cent margin. Labor would still be holding out hope of an upset in Swan or Hasluck. The latter if not the former can probably be relied upon to closely track the statewide swing, which the late polls can’t agree on: Newspoll says 0.3 per cent to Labor and Nielsen says 4 per cent to the Coalition, while the result from Morgan’s small sample came in at 1.2 per cent to the Coalition.
South Australia. Newspoll has the Labor swing in South Australia at 3.7 per cent, which seems on the high side, but we also have an Advertiser poll for the seat of Hindmarsh putting it at 7 per cent. That should make both Sturt and Boothby highly winnable for Labor, but there is a near universal view that Christopher Pyne’s expensive campaign for the former has paid dividends. Boothby on the other hand is expected to go down to the wire.
Elsewhere. There is limited local polling data available, but it is very widely expected that Darwin-based Solomon will be lost to Labor. In Tasmania, a big ticket campaign promise earlier this week suggested the Liberals have not given up on Bass, but most expect Labor to again obtain a clean sweep of the state’s five seats. Certainly they can afford nothing less.