The last polls of the WA election campaign are in: 50-50 in Newspoll, 51-49 to Labor in Westpoll. The respective samples are 1802 and 402. Westpoll also has marginal seat polls of around 400 voters, showing the Liberals leading 54-46 in Scarborough, 56-44 Kingsley, 59-41 in Kalamunda and 52-48 in Collie-Preston, while Labor leads 50.5-49.5 in Riverton. None of these seats are must-wins for Labor.
The two-party figures conceal a collapse in the Labor primary vote, put at 35 per cent by Newspoll and 37 per cent by Westpoll (compared with 41.9 per cent in 2005). However, much of the lost vote is leaking to the Greens (12 per cent in Newspoll and 11 per cent in Westpoll, compared with 7.6 per cent in 2005) and coming back as preferences. Newspoll records by far the worst ever personal ratings for Alan Carpenter, with 42 per cent satisfied (down seven points) and 48 per cent dissatisfied (up eight points). Barnett is on 40 per cent and 43 per cent; Carpenter still leads as better premier 48 per cent to 35 per cent. Westpoll has the latter measure at 47 per cent for Carpenter and 27 per cent for Barnett, suggesting its smaller sample might be skewed to Labor.
Interestingly, Tony Barrass of The Australian talks of Newspoll’s additional analysis in the 10 most marginal Labor seats which reveals an average two-party Labor vote of 48 per cent. That amounts to a swing of 4 per cent, which would cost Labor nine seats and government if applied evenly across the 10 (unless John Bowler wins Kalgoorlie, as some are suggesting). However, Robert Taylor of The West writes that Labor are holding up relatively well in the southern suburbs, suggesting they should retain Jandakot and maybe even Riverton.
This raises the question of which seats are dragging up the average. Expectations are that John Castrilli will perform very strongly in his bid for re-election in Bunbury. It has been observed that Labor are struggling in the northern suburbs, which Westpoll backs up with a 6 per cent swing in Kingsley. This might have significance for Ocean Reef and Joondalup, notwithstanding that Labor has heavily targeted those seats while abandoning Kingsley. A Labor win in Jandakot could thus be cancelled out by a Liberal win in a northern suburbs seat further up the pendulum. That might mean Joondalup or perhaps Wanneroo, where new developments have been breaking out like acne over the past four years. Most of these have been concentrated around the new suburb of Tapping, whose booths split about 57-43 in favour of the Liberals at the federal election. Alan Carpenter could be found there yesterday campaigning at the local primary school.
Boy, this is going to be fun.
In the upper house, strong Greens polling suggests they should win four seats, although they have been disappointed before on election night. That should reduce Labor to 13 seats out of what is likely to be a combined left minority result of 17 seats out of 36. My tip for the 19 seats of the right is 14 Liberals, three Nationals (also performing strongly in Newspoll, confirming anecdotal evidence) and two Family First.