A ReachTEL automated phone poll of 3500 respondents, conducted on Monday and released today by Channel Seven, has the Coalition leading 53-47, unchanged from the last national ReachTEL poll on August 10. The only primary vote provided at this stage is that Labor is down 1.2% to 35.7%. The poll also finds the Coalition paid parental leave scheme supported by 30% and opposed by 48.4%, Tony Abbott leading Kevin Rudd on ReachTEL’s idiosyncratic preferred prime minister measure by 53.6-46.4, 41.9% believing Labor made the right choice in replacing Julia Gillard with Kevin Rudd against 40.5% for the wrong choice and 74% expecting the Coalition to win the election.
We also had yesterday a Galaxy automated phone poll of 575 respondents from the northern Adelaide fringe seat of Wakefield courtesy of The Advertiser, which is presumably treating us progressively to polling from South Australia’s most marginal seats. This one showed Labor’s Nick Champion leading his Liberal challenger Tom Zorich 55-45, suggesting a swing to the Liberals of between 5% and 6%. The primary votes were 45% for Champion and 35% for Zorich.
Further raw material for tea-leaf reading from The Australian, whose lead story yesterday essentially consisted of an account of where its reporters believe things to stand. This was consolidated into a call of the card laying out which seats might change hands and with what likelihood. Those of you who might wish to write this off as a contrivance of Murdoch propagandists can feel free, but since the aggregate findings sit pretty well with BludgerTrack, I’m inclined to regard it as welcome intelligence as to how the campaigns are seeing things.
UPDATE: BludgerTrack has since been updated with big-sample state breakdowns provided to me by ReachTEL, so some of the numbers cited below have changed quite a bit.
Where BludgerTrack presently counts eight losses for Labor in New South Wales, The Australian’s list sees six as likely if you include Dobell (which I do) plus one strong chance and two possibles. Aside from Dobell (margin 5.2%), the seats listed as likely losses are Labor’s five most marginal: Greenway (0.9%), Robertson (1.1%), Lindsay (1.2%), Banks (1.5%) and Reid (2.7%). However, the picture of a uniform swing breaks down with Werriwa (6.8%) being rated a strong chance and Kingsford Smith (5.2%) and McMahon (7.9%) as possibilities. So while Labor has fires to fight all over Sydney and the central coast, it appears set to be spared in its seats further afield, namely Eden-Monaro (4.2%), Page (4.2%) and Richmond (7.0%). There also appears to be inconsistency in Sydney to the extent that Parramatta (4.4%) and Barton (6.9%) are not listed.
In Victoria, The Australian’s assessment is well in line with BludgerTrack’s call of three Liberal gains in having two listed as likely (Corangamite on 0.3% and La Trobe on 1.7%) and another as a strong chance (Deakin on 0.9%). Labor’s next most marginal seat in Victoria, Chisholm (5.8%), is evidently considered a bridge too far. The only seat featured from South Australia is the strong chance of Hindmarsh (6.1%), but BludgerTrack is not quite seeing it that way, the swing currently recorded there being lower than what most observers expect.
Redressing all that slightly is a list of seats which Labor might gain, albeit that it is very short. Brisbane (1.2%) is rated a likely Coalition loss, and despite what published polls might say Peter Beattie is rated a strong chance in Forde (1.7%). The Western Australian seat of Hasluck (0.6%) is also listed as a possible Labor gain. However, a report elsewhere in the paper cites Labor MPs saying hopes there have faded, while Andrew Probyn of The West Australian today relates that Liberal polling has them leading 53-47 from 46% of the primary vote against 36% for Labor and 9% for the Greens.
Queensland and Western Australia also have seats listed on the other side of the ledger, especially Queensland. With Queensland we find the one serious breakdown with a BludgerTrack projection, one which in this case I have long been noting as problematic. The Australian lists Moreton (1.2%), Petrie (2.6%) and Capricornia (3.7%) as likely Labor losses, to which are added the strong chance of Blair (4.3%) and the possibility of Kevin Rudd indeed losing Griffith (8.5%). However, the latter seems a bit hard to credit if neighbouring Brisbane is to be deemed a likely Labor gain, and Lilley (3.2%), Rankin (5.4%) and Oxley (5.8%) left off the chopping block.
In Western Australia, Labor’s possible gain of Hasluck is balanced by a possible loss of Brand (3.4%). This tends to confirm my suspicion that BludgerTrack, on which Labor’s numbers in WA have soured considerably recently, is erring slightly on the harsh side with respect to Labor. Bass and Braddon are listed as likely Labor losses for Tasmania, with Lyons (12.3%) only rated a possibility and Franklin (10.8%) not in play. Powered by what may have been an exaggerated result from ReachTEL on the weekend, BludgerTrack is calling it three losses for Labor in Tasmania with only one seat spared. The Northern Territory seat of Lingiari (3.8%) is rated by The Australian as a possible loss, while BludgerTrack has it as likely.