Morgan: 55.5-44.5

The latest Morgan poll combines two weekends’ worth of face-to-face polling, and shows Labor with a lead of 55.5-44.5 on two-party preferred: down two points on the poll conducted on the weekend of February 20/21, which was in turn down a point on the poll from the two previous weekends. Labor’s primary vote is steady on 45 per cent, the Coalition’s is up one point to 38.5 per cent and the Greens are down half a point to 8.5 per cent.

Preselection news:

Damien Madigan of the Blue Mountains Gazette reports Blue Mountains mayor Adam Searle has suffered a further blow in his bid to succeed Bob Debus as Labor candidate for Macquarie after the party’s credentialing committee voted down a bid to have 30 out of the 143 preselectors ruled invalid on grounds of branch stacking. Searle had been thought unlikely to get the nod in any case after the national executive allowed the matter to be determined by rank-and-file preselection, as the local numbers are believed to favour Susan Templeman – partly due to the 20 per cent loading in favour of female candidates. The report further relates that “sources close to the Searle camp say it is very difficult for him to win”; he is “seriously considering his position”; and there is “no truth to media reports last week suggesting Clr Searle was willing to accept the Labor Party’s candidacy for the State seat of Blue Mountains in exchange for losing out in Macquarie”. Madigan also reports of an unsuccessful a challenge to Searle’s presidency of the Mid-Mountains branch by a staffer of Blue Mountains state MP Phil Koperberg.

• The Sydney Morning Herald reports sitting member Craig Thomson won Labor’s preselection vote in Dobell with 66 votes against 21 for challenger David Mehan, the candidate from 2004. Soraiya Gharahkhani of the Camden Advertiser reports Nick Bleasdale’s winning margin over wheelchair athlete Paul Nunnari in Macarthur was 40 votes to three.

Louise Hall of the Sydney Morning Herald reports last weekend’s New South Wales Liberal state upper house preselection, which doled out winnable positions to Catherine Cusack of the Left and Natasha Maclaren-Jones and Peter Phelps of the Right, was the result of a “wide-ranging factional deal designed to keep the peace within the Liberal Party” – presumably the same one that locked in moderate support behind David Clarke.

Menios Constantinou of the Wentworth Courier reports five candidates will contest Liberal preselection for the state seat of Coogee: “clear favourite” Bruce Notley-Smith, a Randwick councillor and Malcolm Turnbull staffer; Edward Mandla, who ran in Sydney in 2007; and David Shaloub, Bruce Morrow and Justin Owen, of whom no information is provided.

The Northern Territory News reports mango farmer Gary Higgins has been preselected as Country Liberal Party candidate for the Darwin outskirts seat of Daly, which Rob Knight holds for Labor on a margin of 7.8 per cent.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

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