Well, whaddya know? Back in February, the Crikey-Morgan Poll found John Howard would have lost his own seat of Bennelong in a federal election.

The PM only scored 40% of the primary vote and the two-party preferred vote went Labor’s way, 55% to 45%. A higher proportion of Bennelong voters said Labor leader Kevin Rudd would be a better prime minister than Howard — 49% to 47%.

Yesterday, post-Budget Galaxy polling, published in the Sunday Telegraph, put the PM’s primary vote on 44% and the two-party preferred splitting Labor’s way, 52%to 48%.

Both the poll’s stars were playing coy yesterday. “Bennelong is a hard seat,” the PM said. “It has been made harder by the redistribution … I don’t take anything for granted, certainly not the people who’ve elected me to Parliament for the last 32 years.”

Maxine McKew , for her part, said: “It will require a miracle of gigantic proportions for Labor to take this seat. I have a very hard job ahead of me.”

Only one serving prime minister has lost his seat, Stanley Bruce in 1929.

“Galaxy emerged seemingly out of nowhere in the lead-up to the 2004 election, and its final survey was closest of all to the actual election result,” says Peter Brent from Mumble Politics.

“The guy in charge of its political surveys, David Briggs, used to work at Newspoll. Galaxy generally appears in News Limited tabloids, but is not regularly seen between elections.”

And Galaxy is making a splash with the first major post-Budget polling of federal voting intention in the News Limited tabloids today.

It has Labor’s primary vote on 49% and the Coalition on 39%, with Labor leading the two-party preferred 57% to 43%.

“When an election is in the air, opinion polls are very useful,” Brent says, “so it’s good to have lots of them.”

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