The Newspoll published in The Australian this morning continues to show Labor with a comfortable lead over the Coalition – 54% to 46% in two party preferred terms. The pollster gives the margin of error for his work as plus or minus 2.5 percentage points putting the Labor vote in the range of 56.5% down to 51.5%. The available evidence from other recent polls is that the Labor vote is not at the low end of the Newspoll range.

To win the election Labor needs to get a share around 51.2% if the swing is uniform.

At the last five federal elections, the difference between the Newspoll finding a week before polling day and the final election result was as follows:

Date

Coalition

Labor

Actual – predicted

Newspoll 5-7 March 1993

50

50

Election 13 March 1993

48.6

51.4

-1.4

Newspoll 23-25 February 1996

54

46

Election 2 March 1996

53.7

46.3

-0.3

September 25-27 1998

49

51

Election 3 October 1998

49

51

0

Newspoll 2-4 November 2001

51

49

Election 10 November 2001

51

49

0

Newspoll 1-3 October 2004

50.5

49.5

Election 9 October 2004

52.8

47.2

2.3

The biggest variation between the actual and the predicted was 2.3 percentage points in 2004. There will need to be an amazing late swing back to the Coalition if it is to retain office. Nothing occurred on the campaign trail yesterday that would inspire such a thing. That leaves just four days for the polls to be proved wrong.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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