Monday, August 2, 2010
LABOR is in serious trouble of losing the August 21 election in the two key states of New South Wales and Queensland, analysis of the last three Age/Nielsen polls reveals.
The polls, taken over the past 3 weeks, show there is little sign of the Coalition gaining ground in Victoria, which remains Labor's strongest state on the mainland.
On the poll figures, the Labor seat most at risk in the state is Melbourne, where the Greens need a 4.7 per cent swing to take the seat being vacated by retiring Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner. In July, the swing from Labor to the Greens in Victoria was close to 6 per cent.
Averaging the results from the last three polls, the swing against Labor in NSW and Queensland is strong enough to plunge Australia into the no man's land of a hung Parliament and possibly to elect a Coalition government. The polls surveyed 4156 voters between July 8 and July 29, accumulating enough responses to give a credible picture of the trends in each state. (For Western Australia and South Australia, where the poll sample is smaller, the figures also include a fourth poll taken on June 24-25.)
The first two polls found Labor with a safe lead, but last week's reported a Coalition landslide. A key question is whether that was the decisive turning point or a one-off reaction to the leaks against Julia Gillard from Labor colleagues.
Overall, the three polls showed Labor with a 51-49 lead nationally. You might think that an election-winning lead. Break it down to state level, however, and it's not.
In NSW, there is a swing of 2 per cent plus to the Coalition, putting seven Labor seats at risk, including those it notionally gained in the redistribution. In Queensland, the swing to the Coalition averaged 4 per cent in July, putting eight to 10 Labor seats at risk.
There was also a 3 per cent swing against Labor in South Australia and the Northern Territory, although the only Labor seat in range of that is the Darwin seat of Solomon. In WA, Labor trailed 46-54, as in 2007.
Applying 2007 voting to the new boundaries, the Australian Electoral Commission estimates that Labor starts with 88 seats to the Coalition's 59, with three independents.
If Labor loses 13 seats, it will lose its majority, resulting in a hung parliament. And if the Coalition gains 17 seats, it will have a clear majority and form government.
Online bookmakers Sportingbet Australia and Sportsbet report heavy plunges on the Coalition in recent days, although Labor remains favourite to win, despite the Coalition's 58-42 lead in last week's Age/Nielsen poll.
THE POLLS STATE BY STATE
NSW VIC QLD WA* SA/NT*
% % % % %
LABOR 40 41 35 36 41
COALITION 42 41 44 49 44
GREENS 11 14 12 10 8
OTHERS 7 5 9 4 7
LABOR 51 54 47 46 51
COALITION 49 46 53 54 49
SWING TO COALITION 2 0 4 0 3
SOURCE: AVERAGE OF THREE AGE/NIELSEN POLLS FOR JULY
* FOR SMALLER STATES, INCLUDES A FOURTH POLL IN LATE JUNE