Essential Research has come good with a final set of polling figures, and in two-party terms they’re no different from Monday’s, with Labor leading 51-49. Both parties are down a point on the primary vote, Labor to 38 per cent and the Coalition to 43 per cent, with the Greens up two to 12 per cent. The poll also gauges reasons for vote choice, whether respondents’ opinions of the leaders have gone up or down since the election was called (down in both cases) and firmness of vote, the latter confirming the impression of other polls that Labor support is “softer” than for the Coalition. I am also informed The West Australian will tonight publish a Westpoll that will show Labor trailing in Hasluck and Swan, but 50-50 in the race to nab Canning from the Liberals. Then there’s this from the Courier-Mail:

Labor began the campaign with a worst-case scenario of the Coalition winning 10 Queensland seats. But party sources now believe the loss could be contained to three Queensland seats. This comes as internal ALP polling this week suggests as many as eight or nine seats could fall in NSW. LNP sources confirmed that late deciding voters were opting for Labor in many Queensland marginals. The LNP’s only “almost certain” gains have narrowed to Leichhardt, Flynn and Dawson. But Labor sources dispute Dawson, where they say they have their nose in front. But they say the Brisbane-Gold Coast corridor seat of Forde would be “extremely hard” to retain. Labor also is worried about the bayside seat of Bonner and the Townsville-based seat of Herbert but is confident of holding Longman, Petrie and Brisbane.

My reading of the situation is that Labor’s position in Sydney seems to have soured over the final week, with the Parramatta-to-Epping rail promise looking like another tactical blunder that has succeeded only in shackling federal Labor closer to the state government. Bennelong is almost universally rated as lost for Labor, Lindsay will probably go too, and there might even be trouble for them in Greenway. However, the picture elsewhere seems to be as it was the other night when I made my prediction of 79 seats for Labor, which included Bennelong and Lindsay, plus one for the Greens – although there is now also the question of whether Longman MP Jon Sullivan’s self-inflicted wound will prove fatal. But there are more than enough seats in serious doubt one way or the other to make the situation very unclear. Martin O’Shannessy of Newspoll was quoted in The Australian today saying the “rusted on” vote at the current time is about 10 per cent lower than usual at about 60 per cent. The Australian’s Samantha Maiden offered that “an estrogen-fuelled surge of female voters has been cited as the secret weapon Gillard can count on to fall over the line”.

Finally, the Australian Financial Review has gone to the effort to check meteorological records on election days throughout Australian history, presumably to investigate the notion that a winter election might pose dangers for Labor in particular. However, what they found was that “70 per cent of federal governmetn defeats transpired when polling day – in autumn or summer – dawned dry across the country”.

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