It’s quiet. Too quiet. With the most recent Newspoll putting Labor back at 58-42 2PP where they have been – and I may have said this ohhhhh thirty or forty times – SINCE WORKCHOICES WAS IMPLEMENTED AND RUDD WAS MADE LEADER, everyone except Tattoo (that’s Professor Flint to you) is writing the Coalition off.

So let’s think of how they could win.

First, let’s assume the worst skew on the 3% error bars, and wind the 2PP back to 55-45.

Now let’s assume everything goes wrong for Labor and right for the Coalition over the next four weeks. Not big ALP leader-hugging-a-tree, PM-hugging-a-lumberjack stuff because maybe maybe Labor has learnt its lesson. I mean small bad luck stuff like Latham last time calling an ALP candidate Ivan Milat etc. Let’s say it’s Rudd that falls off a couple of podia. Maybe someone in his wife’s far-flung HR empire is union-busting immigrant workers in the UK and Krudd fumbles the deflect. Maybe he gets flu and accidentally tells The Aristocrats gag instead of a lightbulb joke on Kerri-Anne Kennerly, etc.

Say that’s good for 2.5%, taking it back to 52.5 – 47.5.

Now let’s look at Mr Jackman’s state-by-state pendulum.

On those figures, a uniform Labor 2PP 52.5% vote gives them about 24 seats – but a lot of those are in Queensland where a 52.5% 2PP would be a 10% swing off a low base of 42.9% last time. Let’s presume a Labor bad-case scenario – that Qld swings around 5% (to a 48% 2PP) and that the 52.5% national figure is made up by higher swings in SA, WA, and Tasmania.

The 5-10% swing range for those states are virtually empty of Labor gains – they pick up four seats.

That winds Labor back to gaining 19 seats. These include Bennelong and Braddon. Let’s presume they lose the latter on the pulp mill, and the former because people just can’t bring themselves to be sufficiently impertinent to sack the PM.

Seventeen seats. That includes Canning and Kalgoorlie in WA and Boothby and Sturt in SA. On this scenario, any two of these wound in individually from the 6-9% swing, would keep them in Coalition hands. And that’s the ballgame.

Note here that nothing really unlikely has been assumed – no big terrorist incident here or overseas, no huge Labor scandal. It relies on the Coalition having some good luck, but when did politics ever not?

Prove that I lie. Or got my sums wrong.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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