For those of you who have just joined us, we have had overnight national results from Newspoll and Galaxy, who respectively have it at 50-50 (from primary votes of 35 per cent Labor, 44 per cent Coalition and 14 per cent Greens) and 52-48 in favour of Labor (38 per cent Labor, 41 per cent Coalition, 14 per cent Greens). Labor has also been openly hawking internal polling showing it set to lose seven seats in New South Wales and six in Queensland while gaining two in Victoria, which is surprising only in that the projected NSW losses are above market expectations.
The Canberra Times has published a Patterson Market Research poll for Eden-Monaro, and while it falls well short of the non-credible 61-39 produced by a similar poll at the start of the campaign, it shows Labor’s Mike Kelly with a 52-48 lead over Liberal candidate David Gazard. Both Kelly and Gazard are on 40 per cent of the primary vote, with the Greens on 8 per cent. Patterson also conducted a poll of Paterson (a marginal Liberal electorate on the central coast, for those of you who are confused), which interestingly turned up a Labor lead of 51-49. This squares almost perfectly with the JSW Research poll conducted over the weekend, and helps explain Julia Gillard’s visit to the electorate yesterday. However, both polls had a fairly small sample of 400 and margins of error of about 4 per cent. A similar poll conducted by IRIS Research for the Illawarra Mercury found Liberal member Joanna Gash with a resounding primary vote lead of 54 per cent to 32 per cent over Labor candidate Neil Reilly in Gilmore.
“Bennelong’s gone,” said one Labor heavyweight as he listed seats believed lost and those that can be saved. The punters agree. A rush of bets towards the Liberal John Alexander and away from Maxine McKew has seen Mr Alexander storm from behind to become favourite in just 48 hours. The western suburbs seat of Lindsay, held by Labor’s David Bradbury, is also on the critical list. It is one of the few marginal seats which was not part of the comprehensive preference deal with the Greens because the local Greens refused to be part of the deal. Labor says should Lindsay be lost, this will be the reason why …
One senior Liberal source said there was a growing fear of a backlash against the Liberals in Victoria and possible South Australia, which would be stronger than anticipated. The reason he cited was growing resentment in the southern states towards the almost-maniacal focus on western Sydney and Queensland. The interests of these people has driven the entire election campaign and their concerns, which include boat people and immigration, are those most easily embraced by the Coalition. “We look like coming up four or five seats short,” a senior Liberal said. A senior Labor strategist said the very same thing yesterday. “Mate, if the election was today, we’d win 71 seats,” he said …
The campaign started well but week two was a disaster. That was when the damaging leaks against Ms Gillard appeared which claimed she had argued against pension rises and parental leave in cabinet. In one week, Labor’s primary vote fell 6 percentage points. In the marginals, the fall was as high as 9 points. “Ever since then, we’ve been trying to get back to where we started,” the heavyweight said. “She’s pulled it back a bit, but it’s tight. There is no margin of error in this.”
The Liberals have made a late play for Bass, unloading what the Launceston Examiner describes as a $62.5m Bass splash: a $60 million early intervention mental-health unit for Launceston, and $2.5 million to address the Tamar River’s silt problem made unconditional on the provision of state funding.
Labor’s member for Longman, Jon Sullivan, committed an appalling gaffe during a candidates’ forum on ABC Radio in Brisbane while responding to the father of a disabled child, who inquired what the government would do to reduce costs and waiting times for specialists. Sullivan asked the man: What parent would wait two years to get a child, who they believe has a disability, to get to a specialist? As the Courier-Mail reports it, he was drowned out by jeers before he could finish his sentence. Sullivan subsequently apologised to the man.
Today’s editorials have split along fairly predictable lines: The Australian, all News Limited tabloids bar The Advertiser and The West Australian have backed the Coalition, while the Fairfax broadsheets and the Canberra Times favour Labor. It can be presumed the Australian Financial Review will favour the Coalition, as it traditionally does.