Whom to believe? The first two polls conducted during the election campaign proper have turned in wildly different results. Newspoll has Labor with a lead so overwhelming that The Australian describes it as solid. On the primary vote Labor holds the lead for the first time since mid-April, with their own vote steady on 42 per cent and the Coalition down two points to 38 per cent. That translates into a landslide-winning two-party preferred split of 55-45, compared with 53-47 at the previous poll three weeks ago. We are told that Julia Gillard now holds a 30 point lead as preferred prime minister, up from 24 per cent last time. Galaxy on the other hand has turned in its second poll in as many days, this one conducted on Saturday night from a sample of 800 (yesterday’s poll, which had Labor ahead 52-48, was conducted in the last days before the election was called), and it has the two parties tied on two-party preferred, with Labor’s primary vote down a point to 38 per cent and the Coalition up two to 44 per cent. However, Julia Gillard maintains huge leads on attitudinal questions, in particular more in touch with voters (56-28). Both polls have the Greens on 12 per cent. The margins of error are about 3 per cent for Newspoll and 3.5 per cent for Galaxy.
UPDATE: Full results from Newspoll here and Galaxy here. Newspoll has sought personal ratings on Julia Gillard for the first time, which have her at 48 per cent approval and 29 per cent disapproval. Tony Abbott’s ratings have sagged heavily: approval is down six to 36 per cent, disapproval up 10 to 51 per cent. Gillard’s lead as preferred prime minister has widened from 53-29 to 57-27. Both polls also ask voters to identify the best party to handle the economy, climate change and asylum seekers/border security. Oddly, Labor gets better results on items two and three (and the same on item one) from Galaxy.
According to Sid Maher in The Weekend Australian, Coalition polling in the Brisbane area has it 12 points clear of Labor in one marginal seat, and Labor sources concede that the party’s primary vote remains below 40 per cent in some key areas. Discussing internal polling in Queensland on Insiders yesterday, Dennis Atkins of the Courier-Mail spoke of seats that are next to each other, one which has got a 5, 6 per cent swing against Labor, the other one hasn’t budged, no swing whatsoever. He also related that even the Liberals are saying they can’t make it in Herbert.
Phillip Hudson of the Herald-Sun reports leaked party research indicates Labor has been focus group testing television advertisements featuring Julia Gillard attacking Tony Abbott on health, education, broadband and WorkChoices, unified by the theme: Don’t let Tony Abbott take us backwards.
The Daily Telegraph reports police are investigating what appear to have been gun shots fired into the home and campaign office of Brent Thomas, Labor’s candidate for the marginal Liberal seat of Hughes.
Two men have been reported for allegedly assaulting a Liberal volunteer who was on the campaign trail with Jassmine Wood, candidate for the marginal Labor Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh. The incident reportedly followed a dispute over the Liberals’ policies on asylum seekers.
Drew Warne-Smith of The Australian reports GetUp! will take the Australian Electoral Commission to court over its determination that it would not accept enrolments placed through its OzEnrol.com.au website, which sought to facilitiate online enrolment by having the required signature filled out through a mouse of trackpad.
Malcolm Mackerras has tipped a slightly increased majority for Labor, of 85 seats to the Coalition’s 65.
UPDATE 2: Essential Research, conducted from Tuesday to Sunday, concurs with Newspoll at 55-45. This is the same result as the previous week, with the Coalition up a point on the primary vote to 39 per cent, Labor steady on 41 per cent and the Greens steady on 13 per cent. Julia Gillard is up on both approval (four points to 52 per cent) and disapproval (three points to 30 per cent), while Abbott’s three point gain on approval (40 per cent) comes out of a lower disapproval. Gillard’s lead as preferred prime minister has widened from her debut from 49-29 to 53-26. Also featured are most important election issues, best party to handle them and some hard-to-read stuff on Australian values.