The first editorials are in: the Sunday Herald-Sun backs Labor, while the Sunday Age wimps out. Other than that, we have a fair bit of micro-polling going on:

Stephen McMahon of the Herald-Sun reports a 500-sample Galaxy poll commissioned by the Victorian Association of Forest Industries shows Labor with a two-party lead of 51-49, from primary votes of 36 per cent for Labor, 42 per cent for the Coalition and 16 per cent for the Greens. The margin of error is approaching 4.5 per cent.

• The Sunday Herald-Sun has conducted a dubious “survey of 200 people across the electorates of Mitcham, Mt Waverley, Melbourne and Bendigo”. We aren’t given any details on the methodology, but the fact that 20.5 per cent were rated “yet to make up their minds” makes clear the poll was uninformed by expertise of any kind. Of the rest, 45 per cent backed the Coalition (compared with 43.5 per cent across the four seats in 2006), 34 per cent Labor (36.5 per cent) and 22.5 per cent Greens (13.5 per cent). Even if the poll were conducted properly, the margin of error would be approaching 8 per cent.

John Ferguson of the Herald-Sun quotes a senior Labor source identfying the significance of the “f— you vote”, voicing fears that wavering late deciders might collectively “decide the Government’s had enough time”. Ferguson’s report also tells us that “Labor does not expect the two Ballarat seats to be in play but senior Liberals have indicated that seats such as Yan Yean might swing sharply”. Bendigo East is rated “in real danger of falling”, with “questions also over Bendigo West”. It is also suggested the Nationals might be a show to unseat independent Craig Ingram in Gippsland East, but they might again lose Mildura to an independent after having recovered it from one in 2006.

James Campbell of the Sunday Herald-Sun reports on findings from focus group research conducted by John Scales, formerly of Morgan and Crosby Textor. This suggests Labor has done well out of its television advertising, particularly the “blank slate” attacks on Ted Baillieu and ads designed to “humanise” John Brumby. The “boot camp” policy is said to have gone down well, but Myki, the desalination plant and Labor’s performance federally all loom as negatives. John Brumby was found to be more popular among swinging voters than his party. Michael Bachelard of The Age reports both parties are believed to have spent an “average” amount on television advertising of “perhaps $3 million to $4 million each”. Labor has favoured humourous negative ads over the traditional “formula of grainy black, white and red colouring and a gravelly voice-over”, as it feared being seen as “bullying”.

The Age reports the Coalition has threatened to sue the ALP for defamation unless it drops a television accusing Ted Baillieu of benefiting financially from the sale of schools under the Kennett government. The latest version of the ads, which recycle an attack waged during the 2006 campaign, further link Baillieu’s real estate firm to the sale of the Preston and Northcote Community Hospital, despite the fact that he was no longer a director by that point. The Age notes Baillieu “remained indirectly linked to Knight Frank through a shareholder and alternate director of holding company DBF Holdings, which in turn was a shareholder of Knight Frank”.

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