Today’s poll-mix, of a Morgan, Nielsen and Newspoll over the last fortnight, giving greater weight to the Newspoll because it is most recent (more here on the methodology), shows a 56 to 44 two party preferred in Labor’s favour.
Here is the graph over the last five months.
While the opposition’s lead remains huge, a tantalising “yes but” narrative has recently crept media reports. What if the swing to Labor is mainly in safe seats, and the government holds the marginals? Couldn’t Howard then hang on with a very low two party preferred vote – like 1998, only more so?
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The answer is: yes of course it’s possible, but in the absence of any evidence suggesting this will happen – one prime ministerial spruiking of Eden-Monaro doesn’t qualify – we might as well ponder the opposite and ask what if the swing to Labor is over-represented in marginal seats?
Governments can roll the pork barrel down selected Main Streets, but many current margins would already reflect this from previous elections.
Most likely, some marginals will prove difficult to shift, while others will bolt. South Australia and Queensland will likely produce the biggest swings to Labor, while across the country cashed up, outer suburban electorates will probably, relative to other electorates in their states, stick with Howard.
The last change of government, in 1996, saw a five percent national swing, with seat contributions ranging from over 10 percent (in 11 seats in Qld and NSW) to the Howard opposition, to small movements (in a handful in Victoria and WA) to the Keating government.
Expect a similar, fascinating dog’s breakfast on election night 2007.