The Australian has published what can doubtless be regarded as the most reliable – or at any rate, least unreliable – seat polls to emerge from the campaign so far, from four well-chosen electorates. These are automated phone polls conducted on Saturday and have modest samples, from 509 to 618, although they seem to fit very well with where the major parties believe things to stand. Among other things, this means each looks to be going down to the wire. Perhaps a little more surprisingly, they find Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party doing at least as well as the Palmer United Party did in 2013.
Deakin (Victoria, Liberal 6.4%): The Liberals are credited with a two-party lead of 51-49 in this eastern Melbourne seat, consistent with the general impression of a big swing to Labor in Victoria – though perhaps not quite enough to take out this particular seat, which is held by arch-conservative Michael Sukkar. The primary votes are Liberal 46%, compared with 50.3% in 2016; Labor 39%, compared with 30.1%; Greens 8%, compared with 11.3%; and 5% for the United Australia Party. The numbers for comparison here are as adjusted for the redistribution, which boosted the Liberal margin from 5.7% to 6.4%. The sample here was 535.
Pearce (WA, Liberal 3.6%): A dead heat on two-party preferred in Christian Porter’s seat on Perth’s northern fringes, from primary votes of Liberal 40% (45.4% in 2016), Labor 36% (34.3%), Greens 8% (11%), United Australia Party 8% and One Nation 6%. Sample: 509.
Herbert (Queensland, Labor 0.0%): The Coalition has high hopes invested in recovering this Townsville-based seat from Labor’s Cathy O’Toole due to the Adani controversy, but the poll’s two party preferred reading finds nothing to separate the two parties on the primary vote, in a seat Labor won by 37 votes in 2016. Presumably these polls use respondent-allocated preferences, as 2016 preference flows suggest this is more like 51-49 to Labor: their primary vote is only down from 30.5% to 29%, while the Liberal National Party is down from 35.5% to 31.1%. The United Australia Party does particularly well here, despite Palmer himself having baulked at his earlier plan to contest the seat. It records 14% of the vote, resulting in One Nation fading from 13.5% to 9%, although Katter’s Australian Party are up from 6.9% to 10%. The Greens are at 5%, down from 6.3%. Sample: 529.
Lindsay (NSW, Labor 1.1%): Another status quo result in a seat the Liberals are talking up as a gain from Labor, who are credited with a 51-49 lead. In this case, previous election preferences would probably have produced a stronger result for the Liberals, who are up from 39.3% to 41% on the primary vote with Labor down from 41.1% to 40%. The Greens are little changed on 4%, compared with 3.6% last time, and the United Australia Party are on 7%. Sample: 618.
It has been said around the place that Essential Research was not letting Easter deter it from following its fortnightly polling schedule over the weekend, but it may be causing them to delay its release by a day, because there’s nothing about it on The Guardian’s site.