Dennis Shanahan and Matthew Franklin in The Australian:
ALP polling in Victoria last week suggested Labor would be lucky to win a seat in the state, meaning that the bulk of the 16 seats the party needs for victory will have to come from NSW and Queensland … Senior Labor officials last night maintained there was a continuing swing to the ALP, as evidenced by the published polls, but said it remained a tight contest in marginal seats across the country. There is no question we will win seats in NSW and Queensland, the question is how many, a senior Labor source said … Victorian Liberals and Labor sources suggest extrapolations of up to six seats being won in Victoria are unlikely. Last week, Labor polled the five most marginal seats of La Trobe, Deakin, Corangamite, McEwen and McMillan with a sample of 350 voters in each seat. Labor sources stressed the ALP was not in front in any of the Victorian marginals held by the Coalition. Liberal sources said Labor was finding it difficult to get above the high water mark of Labor support in Victoria but they believed three or four seats were still very close … Playing down expectations in NSW, some Labor officials are suggesting a net gain of four or five seats would be a good result. The published polling in Queensland also suggests the high expectations based on Labor’s overwhelming two-party-preferred lead of 10 points for most of the past year have been tempered with the latest estimates of only three or four seats … In the Northern Territory, the Country Liberal Party’s Dave Tollner is expected to benefit from the Coalition’s intervention in the Northern Territory and hold his seat, despite it being one of the most marginal in the country.
Gerard McManus in the Herald-Sun:
Depending on the tightness of the result next Saturday this could still mean that WA, which is three hours behind the east, may determine the final outcome very late on Saturday night. But Labor insiders remain quietly confident the result will be known well before that, with New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland likely to deliver sufficient seats for it to take government. Optimists inside Labor believe the party can take up to three to five seats in South Australia, up to eight in Queensland, and six to eight in New South Wales. And some super-optimists say Labor could take 11 or 12 seats in NSW, including the mortgage-strapped seats of Greenway (11 per cent) and Macarthur (11.1 per cent) … But based on the earlier, more conservative prediction Labor would achieve a comfortable majority of about six seats based on winning its required 16 seats in Queensland, SA and NSW, and also picking up the two Tasmanian seats, one or two in either Victoria or WA, and the Northern Territory seat of Solomon, which both sides expect to go to Labor. Interestingly, Labor is not banking on winning any seats in Victoria because it already holds a majority of the seats in the state, but will not be surprised to see up to three fall if the swing is on … An analysis of the critical 30 marginal seats suggests that Labor can still be certain of a definite gain of only a dozen seats and that even the best pundits have no idea of the result in some seats. For example, predicting the outcome in the Prime Minister’s seat of Bennelong, often quoted as a possible or even likely Labor gain after a redistribution cut the PM’s margin to just 4 per cent, has been hampered by the reluctance of Chinese and Korean voters to talk to pollsters. We have no idea who they will vote for because they simply refuse to co-operate they are suspicious of polls and questionnaires, one NSW Labor worker told the Herald Sun this week. Many expect Mr Rudd’s fluency in Mandarin to have impressed Chinese nationals and ABCs (Australian-born Chinese), but others say Chinese typically respect elderly and incumbent leaders. Similarly, Malcolm Turnbull’s affluent Sydney seat of Wentworth has been buffeted by several controversies, including the legitimacy of Labor candidate George Newhouse. Labor insiders say they will be surprised if Mr Turnbull is not returned.
Jennifer Hewett in The Australian:
The strong anti-union message from the Government was resonating into the idea of whether it was worth taking the risk on economic management. Even interest rate hikes were making people just a little nervous about the prospect of making a change. NSW seats such as Eden-Monaro and Page, which Labor must win next Saturday, suddenly looked much tighter. The surge to Labor in South Australia abated. Braddon in Tasmania was no longer looking so much like a near certainty for the ALP. Queensland could only really guarantee four seats rather than six. Victoria was not looking likely to produce any wins at all … in Queensland the estimate from both sides is a probable loss of four government seats (Bonner, Moreton, Blair, Herbert) to six seats (Leichhardt, Forde or just maybe the new seat of Flynn despite the anger there over council amalgamations). In NSW, the estimate is about five seats to Labor but with great nervousness about Eden-Monaro and a little nervousness about Page. Labor is not including Wentworth or Bennelong on its likely list. In Victoria, Labor is not confident of winning any seats, where effective government MPs will be trying to hold out against the tide. In South Australia, both Liberals and Labor expect a loss of three Coalition seats but no more. In Tasmania, Bass looks as if it is gone from the Liberals, but there are different views about whether the Liberals will hold Braddon. In the Northern Territory, the Liberal Country Party’s David Tollner will be trying to hold out against Labor in a typically tough-knuckled fight. And then, of course, there’s WA, where the likeliest outcome, as of this weekend, is a possible loss of Cowan where the popular Labor MP is also retiring balanced by a Labor pick-up in Hasluck. But absolutely no guarantees of anything.
Andrew Burrell wrote in Friday’s Financial Review that Liberal polling showed them narrowly ahead in Stirling, whereas Labor’s had the two parties virtually deadlocked. Labor sources are said to be extremely confident of winning back Hasluck.
Google has now added polling booth locations to its magnificent Google Maps election feature.
Complete results from the weekend’s EMRS poll of the five Tasmanian seats available here.
Simon Jackman has laid his predictive cards on the table.
Andrew Fraser of The Australian gives an overview of the Sunday papers’ record on editorial endorsements, but the good bit is not included in the online article. Here it is:
Sunday Telegraph (News Limited, Sydney): 1998 Howard, 2001 Beazley, 2004 Howard, 2007 Rudd. The Sunday Telegraph accepts readers believe it is finally time to give Labor a go. But Mr Rudd needs to guarantee our nation several things. He must stare down a Labor cabinet inhabited by many with union and factional allegiances … Mr Rudd must surround himself with a loyal team that will help him deliver on his promises.
Sunday Herald Sun (News Limited, Melbourne): 1998 Howard, 2001 Howard, 2004 Howard, 2007 Howard. It is time. Not to change governments, but to resist temptation. It is time to acknowledge that the Coalition is the safe bet in a political contest in which the new, despite its superficial allure, offers less than the familiar.
The Sunday Age (Fairfax, Melbourne): 1998 N/A; 2001 None; 2004 None; 2007 No call. On the contenders’ ‘exposed form’, The Sunday Age does not see enough differences between the Coalition and Labor to urge readers to vote for one over the other.
The Sun-Herald (Fairfax, Sydney): 1998 N/A; 2001 Howard; 2004 Howard; 2007 Rudd. The Sun-Herald says voters face a tough choice but our endorsement is for the Labor Party. Team Rudd gets our final tick on the strength of its fresh vision for education.
Sunday Mail (News Limited, Adelaide): 1998 Howard; 2001 Howard; 2004 Howard; 2007 Howard. Now is not the time to move into untested waters, particularly as the world economy comes under strain next year. The Sunday Mail believes the Coalition is best placed to govern Australia for the next three years.
Sunday Times (News Limited, Perth): 1998 Howard; 2001 Howard; 2004 Howard; 2007 Howard. The Sunday Times believes change for change sake is simply not an adequate trigger to throw out a Coalition Government which, while far from perfect, has overseen record prosperity in WA and the nation.
Sunday Mail (News Limited, Brisbane): 1998 N/A; 2001 None; 2004 Howard; 2007 Rudd. There is undoubtedly a mood for national renewal and there is a need for national renewal. Mr Rudd has demonstrated he has the potential to undertake that task effectively.