Yesterday, the Daily Telegraph reported that Labor’s marginal seat polling indicated it was only one seat away from losing its grip on its parliamentary majority. Today’s follow-up article serves up the extra seat: Newcastle, where Labor has "all but written off its star candidate Jodi McKay". Dumped Labor member Bryce Gaudry is credited with "cutting into the Labor vote", leaving "the way open for popular independent and Lord Mayor John Tate to snatch victory". Skepticism about Labor’s figures has spilled over from Crikey, Tim Dunlop and this site and into the news pages of the Sydney Morning Herald, which reports suggestions from a "senior Liberal source" that ALP state secretary Mark Arbib was "making it up". The surveys reportedly had samples of 150 (which the Telegraph has thus far neglected to reveal), so the margin for error wouldn’t have been much different if he had been. Nonetheless, the Liberals went to some effort to debunk the alleged Labor findings, providing the Herald with a progress report of their own.
Curiously, this mostly backed up what Labor was saying: the Liberals were "leading" in Menai, Miranda, Port Stephens and Camden ("set to fall" in the Telegraph article), with "a chance of winning Penrith and Tweed" (which the Tele said were "line-ball"). The only specific point of contention was that the Liberals had "ridiculed" suggestions they were ahead 53-47 in John Aquilina’s seat of Riverstone. The SMH also reports that Arbib has since said the Labor vote was 50 per cent in Wollondilly and 52 per cent in Londonderry (apparently on the primary vote), and suggests the Greens were found to be posing little threat in Balmain and Marrickville. However, the Wollondilly figure is directly contradicted in the Telegraph, which says the seat is "on a knife edge, leaning just 51 to 49 per cent the Government’s way".