First up, the arrival of two new poll results one from Galaxy and one from Morgan, both of which are detailed here has enabled my first update in some time to the Victorian election poll tracker on the sidebar. I’ve tinkered a bit with my methodology, which is the reason the Greens are off a little despite more than holding up in the latest polls. Other than that, the poll tracker has never failed to show Labor on 50 seats since it opened for business at the start of the campaign.
The charts get a bit messy with the flurry of polling to hit during the election campaign, so to allow you a closer look (and to illustrate the point that you’re not really missing much), here they are with the x-axis limited to the start of August (click to enlarge):
John Ferguson of The Australian offered yet another review of the seat-level state of play as seen by his sources in the major parties on Wednesday. Both sides are said to have detected a small but significant swing back to the Liberals in Frankston, with the Liberals apparently hopeful that a double-figures result for Geoff Shaw will send a strong flow of preferences their way. Furthermore, the Liberals are reported to be hopeful or better about the other sandbelt seats of Bentleigh, Carrum and Mordialloc, which I list in what I take to be descending order of confidence. However, Labor is doing better than expected in Ripon, although it is still expected to fall to the Liberals (not, be it noted, the Nationals).
One place where early Liberal hopes appear to have faded is Ballarat, particularly the seat of Buninyong, formerly Ballarat East. Further complicating their task is Nationals candidate Sonia Smith, who has criticised Liberal candidate Ben Taylor over comments he made at an Australian Christian Lobby forum concerning late-term abortions, saying he should be running for Family First. While the Nationals’ official how-to-vote card for the electorate directs the second preference to Taylor, Smith has registered her own card instructing voters to determine the matter for themselves. Smith illustrated her rejection of her party’s how-to-vote card through a dramatic photo opportunity for Fairfax.
Inform your upper house speculation with Antony Green’s preference calculators. Part of me would be sad to see reform to our broken upper house electoral systems purely because it would put an end to these delightful contributions to Australian psephology.
UPDATE: Another Morgan SMS poll, a very current one conducted from Friday to today from a sample of 1173. While one might be tempted to take this series with a grain of salt, the results are interesting: the Coalition is up no less than 4.5% on the last poll to 39.5%, with both Labor and the Greens down two points to 33.5% and 17.5%. However, Labor maintains a 52-48 lead on two-party preferred, down from 55-45. Denis Napthine has gained the lead as preferred premier, now 51.5-48.5 ahead after Daniel Andrews led 52.5-47.5 last time. The previous poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, so I guess Morgan will be doing this polling every down from now on.