Relevant news coverage of the past few days:
• Today’s Herald Sun reports pollster Redbridge Group believes “Labor will be reduced to minority government with 43 seats out of 88”, though this is based on “extensive polling and hundreds of focus groups in key seats across the state over the past two years” rather than anything specific. A “best-case scenario” is nonetheless conceded in which Labor wins 48 seats. Labor is predicted to lose Bayswater, Bass, Nepean and Pakenham to the Liberals, with Ashwood, Box Hill and Ringwood “under serious threat” and Eltham, Monbulk, Cranbourne and Eureka “considered to be in play”. Richmond and Northcote are rated as Greens gains, possibly to be joined by Albert Park, Footscray and “even” Pascoe Vale, the latter being the view of “party insiders”. Melton, Point Cook and Werribee “could” be won by independents, Ian Birchall in Melton seemingly being the best chance. Labor is “not expected to retain” Hawthorn, which I take to imply uncertainty as to whether it will be lost to Liberal John Pesutto or independent Melissa Lowe.
• Similarly, The Australian reports strategists from both parties consider seven to eight losses an “optimistic Labor prediction”, although the contention there are “up to ten in the party’s doubtful column” still suggests a bare Labor majority. The Liberals are still hopeful of a “train wreck” scenario for Labor in which the undecided break their way, but concede it to be unlikely. It is “understood the Liberal Party’s poll track has the two-party preferred vote locked at 50 per cent” across 20 target seats, implying it is likely to win a good many of them.
• Roy Morgan has an SMS poll showing Labor leading 55-45, in from 57-43 in a similar poll a fortnight ago, from primary votes of Labor 38% (down two), Coalition 32.5% (up three-and-a-half), Greens 12.5% (up one), “teal independents” 4.5% (steady), and 12.5% scattered among the remainder. There were also forced response questions for Daniel Andrews’ personal approval, breaking 57.5-42.5 his way, and preferred premier, breaking 65-35 in favour of Andrews over Matthew Guy.
• An audience of 100 ostensibly undecided voters recruited by Q&A Market Research for Tuesday night’s leaders debate in Box Hill came down 38 for Daniel Andrews, 34 for Matthew Guy and 28 undecided.
• The Age had further results from the Resolve Strategic poll on Tuesday, including issue salience responses that closely tracked a similar recent question from RedBridge Group in having the cost of living well in front on 27%, followed by health and environment on 12% each. Respondents were also asked how they viewed twelve election policies announced during the campaign and found net positive responses for all of them, with little separating the Coalition’s promise of $2 public transport fares (65% for, 10% against) and Labor’s investment in renewable energy under the State Energy Commission (64% for, 14% against). The least popular policies were banning gas exploration (34% for, 24% against) and raising the age of criminal responsibility from twelve to fourteen (37% for, 28% against). I am advised that the voting intention results to one decimal place shown on Wikipedia are sourced from the company itself. For what such distinctions may be worth to you, the 53-47 headline was rounded from 52.7-47.3.