The latest poll backs the return of a Labor government in Victoria but the Liberal Party isn’t losing faith in a fickle voting public.
On the last day of a four-week election campaign, Premier Daniel Andrews and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy almost couldn’t shake each other.
They did the same television interviews, both tried to get a coffee from the parliamentary cafe and then they headed to the marginal seat of Cranbourne.
The state’s daily papers published polls suggesting a Labor win, but Mr Guy was not about to concede and Mr Andrews wasn’t going to claim victory early.
“If I believed opinion polls, Nick Xenophon would be the premier of South Australia, the Labor Party would’ve won in Tasmania, Brexit would have been rejected and Hillary Clinton would be the United States president.
“Our internal polling on a seat-by-seat basis is good, we’re positive,” Mr Guy told reporters on Friday as he stood in a drizzle to announce $70 million for bus routes.
In the drier confines of a school gym to promise $58 million for school breakfasts and lunches, Mr Andrews conceded Saturday’s poll would be close.
“A handful of votes in a handful of seats can make them the difference between getting things done or returning to a time when hospitals and services were cut,” he said.
The election eve Newspoll, taken on November 21 and 22 and published by The Australian, shows Labor leading the coalition on a two-party preferred basis 53.5 per cent to 46.5 per cent in a result that would return the government.
Earlier polls published in The Age and Herald Sun handed a two-party preferred lead to Labor of 54 per cent and 53 per cent respectively.
The major parties both had upsets with candidates, most notably the Liberals who dumped their Yan Yean candidate Meralyn Klein after she appeared in an anti-Muslim video with another political party.
But it’s the Greens who have had the most electoral hiccups. Sandringham candidate Dominic Phillips was banned from campaigning after being accused of sexual assault.
The minor party is standing by Footscray candidate Angus McAlpine after the one-time rapper’s misogynistic lyrics emerged. And a second-rung upper house candidate and staffer fell victim to embarrassing social media posts.
The Greens are still hopeful of forming a minority government with Labor though.
ABC election analyst Antony Green said the new polls indicated it would be difficult for the opposition to win, with few seats likely to change hands.
“The coalition needs seven seats for government and they’re not going to win seven seats on those polls,” he told the ABC.
Results of the ReachTEL poll of 1239 Victorian voters taken on November 21 suggest Labor could win the coalition seats of Ripon, Bass, Burwood and South Barwon.
This would give the incumbent government an improved majority.
RESULTS OF THE LATEST NEWSPOLL:
* Two party-preferred – Labor 53.5 per cent, Liberal/National 46.5 per cent
* Primary vote: – Labor 41 per cent, Liberal/National 40 per cent, Green 11 per cent
* Preferred premier – Daniel Andrews 45 per cent, Matthew Guy 33 per cent
* Satisfaction with leader – Daniel Andrews 45 per cent, Matthew Guy 34 per cent