Monday, August 9, 2010

Libs may win with fewer votes

THE Coalition is on track to reap big swings in the crucial states of NSW and Queensland, which would return it to power even if Labor won most votes, the Age/Nielsen poll reveals.

A state breakdown of three polls taken since the campaign began shows that while Labor averaged a 51-49 lead nationally, the biggest swings against it are in two states where it has two-thirds of its marginal seats.

If one assumes a uniform swing within each state, the Coalition is on track to win back government on Saturday week, with a small majority in its own right.

It would have a larger majority if Australians vote on August 21 as they have in the past two polls. Both found the Coalition with an election-winning lead, nationally and in two of the three largest states.

The three polls, which surveyed 4073 people between July 20 and August 5, found no swing to either side in Victoria. In this state, voters at this stage appear set to repeat the 2007 outcome.

But the polls reveal:

A 3 per cent swing to the Coalition in NSW, which on a uniform swing would give it seven gains: Robertson (where it needs a swing of just 0.1 per cent), Macquarie (0.3), Gilmore (0.4), Macarthur (0.5), the battle of the stars in Bennelong (1.4), the litmus seat of Eden-Monaro (2.3) and Page (2.4).

A swing of more than 4 per cent to the Coalition in Queensland, costing Labor up to nine seats: Herbert (0.0), Dickson (0.8), Longman (1.9), Flynn (2.2), Dawson (2.6), Forde (3.4) and possibly Leichhardt (4.1), Petrie (4.2) and Bonner (4.5).

A 2 per cent swing in Western Australia, which could give the Coalition two more seats: Swan (0.3) and Hasluck (0.9).

A 1 per cent swing in South Australia and the Northern Territory, which could see the Coalition take back the Darwin seat of Solomon (0.2).

Add that up, and the Coalition is heading for a small majority even if Labor regains some ground in the final fortnight of the campaign.

The three-poll average has Labor ahead by 54-46 in Victoria and 51-49 in NSW, and the Coalition ahead 54-46 in Queensland.

For SA and WA, a five-poll average shows Labor ahead 52-48 in SA and the Coalition up 55-45 in WA.

On the new boundaries, Labor holds 88 seats, the Coalition 59 and independents 3.

If Labor loses 13 seats, it loses its majority. If the Coalition gains 17 or more seats, it will have a majority.

Anything in between that would result in a hung parliament.

The Age/Nielsen poll results are broadly in line with those of other established pollsters, whose latest polls show a 50-50 outcome.

But because of the swings in NSW and Queensland, and because Labor has more voters cooped up in safe seats, a 50-50 vote is likely to see the Coalition win most of the seats.

The latest Westpoll, published in Saturday's West Australian, goes against the trend. On a much larger sample of WA voters, it reports a 2 per cent swing there to Labor.

All four online bookmakers Centrebet, Sportsbet, Sportingbet and Betfair still have Labor as favourite, but the Coalition's odds are shortening rapidly. On average, the online bookmakers yesterday were offering $1.625 for a winning $1 bet on Labor, and $2.34 on the Coalition having tightened from $1.54 and $2.54 respectively on Friday.



NSW Vic Qld WA* SA/NT* Australia


Labor 39 41 33 35 42 38

Coalition 43 40 45 51 42 43

Greens 12 15 12 10 10 13

Others 6 4 10 4 7 6


Labor 51 54 46 45 52 51

Coalition 49 46 54 55 48 49

Swing to Coalition 3 0 4 2 1 2