Today’s Essential Report poll — the most accurate pre-election poll — has the parties level pegging with a 2PP outcome of 50:50. The Coalition is on 44% — down a tad — Labor is on 38% and unchanged, as are the Greens on 11%.
There’s also been little change in the preferred Prime Minister rating, with Julia Gillard leading Tony Abbott 46-36%, down 1 point from a fortnight ago. Gillard still has a much bigger lead among women as preferred Prime Minister — 16 points compared to 3% among men.
Essential also asked when voters made up their minds about whom to vote for. The majority of major party voters — more than 60% — had already made up their minds by the first week of the campaign. But about 17% didn’t make up their minds until the day before, or on polling day itself, including 9% who didn’t know how they were going to vote until they reached their polling place.
Greens voters, in particular, left things until the last minute — more than a quarter of Greens voters only made up their minds in the 48 hours before the election. And 25% of voters who opted for independents did so right at the death, when they arrived to vote. As suggested by the Greens figures, younger people tended to decide later than older voters.
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This give us some insight into two things. First, the traditional fall-off in Greens support during election campaigns, when the Greens have to compete with massive major party advertising campaigns and drop from the media cycle, didn’t happen — the Greens truly came home with a wet sail in picking up undecided voters at the last minute.
Second, it demonstrates just how poor Labor’s campaign was. At the start of the campaign, with 55% of voters having made up their minds, Labor led the Coalition 54-46%, suggesting it lost heavily among voters who made up their minds during the campaign itself.