The first two published polls of the campaign hit the doorstep this morning – a Galaxy, showing only modest movement to the ALP across four marginal Queensland seats, and a Newspoll indicating, yet again, a huge national swing. And on the weekend a Taverner survey put the swing at ten percent across New South Wales and Victoria.

There will be too many published polls to count, from various outfits, over the next six weeks. Most will be conducted with great professionalism, only a few will wear Mickey Mouse ears, and some will sit in between.

And while the surveys have shown little volatility over the last ten months, we’re now in the real zone. The pollsters’ questions will generally change from “how would you vote if an election were held today?” to “how do you intend to vote on Saturday the 24 November?” A small detail, but symptomatic of the shift away from the hypothetical.

Of the biggies, ACNielsen should do four or five polls between now and 24 November, and the next Galaxy will be out next Monday. We can expect Newspoll to maintain the fortnightly schedule, and Morgan its rapid fire rate of both face to face and telephone results. Each will doubtless also take measurements in the marginal seats, and this and that state.

And all should survey in the final week, usually on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and publish on election-day Saturday (or maybe on Friday.)

Those final polls will be the ones to really watch: as election day approaches, the polls become more “accurate” – closer to the actual result. But by then it will be almost over.

Let the games begin.

Here’s the poll-mix from January 2006 to the most recent fortnight.