Secret polling has predicted who will become Australia’s next Prime Minister, with backlash mounting against Scott Morrison.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese believes he can form government on Sunday with a majority of 76 to 80 seats as the ALP tracking poll lifts overnight to end the campaign.
As of 6am on Friday, the ALP’s internal polling also shows Prime Minister Scott Morrison at his highest disapproval rating since the election was called.
News.com.au has been briefed on the ALP’s track poll of the crucial marginal seats that Anthony Albanese needs to win or retain to secure victory.
Labor strategists say the ALP track poll has lifted to a two party preferred result of 53 per cent for Labor which would deliver a clear majority of seats.
Despite a string of gaffes and skirmishes with the media during Mr Albanese’s campaign, the results suggest that voter anger towards the Prime Minister is unyielding and will be enough to secure victory.
But the Liberals still maintain they can flip enough seats to form a minority government with independents.
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‘Not buying what you’re selling’
Speaking on ABC TV, host Michael Rowland asked the Prime Minister if voters are “not buying what you are selling?
“Well, I’ve shown that I can get Australia through the worst economic, financial and health crisis and that has required,’’ Mr Morrison said.
“Polls don’t determine elections and neither do politicians and neither do journalists. Australians, the many quiet ones out there working hard every day, to ensure that they can get through each and every day’s challenges and they are looking to plan for their future with confidence.”
Mr Morrison also attacked the Labor leader for not knowing whether the borders were open.
“He is not up to that job and it is bigger than him. Not everybody agrees with me and not everybody likes me, but that’s not the point, the point is who can manage the finances, keep down ward, pressure on interest rates and cost of living.”
How close is the election?
The idea that an election race is neck-and-neck is an overused cliche in politics. In this instance however there’s some value to the truism.
If you believe the ALP polling, Labor is on track to secure around 76-80 seats on election night. That’s a majority, but only just.
It’s not a landslide and Labor has abandoned all hope of winning big.
The Prime Minister sees the final 36 hours differently.
He believes the Coalition is closing the gap in the final days of the campaign with the super for houses policy resonating in some electorates.
His visit to the Labor-held seat of Werriwa has stoked Labor fears that the PM is chasing surprise seats in the outer suburbs. This was the path he found to victory in 2019.
It raises the prospect of surprise flips of Labor-held seats that could see the Prime Minister claw his way back to minority government with independents. The Prime Minister begins the final day of the campaign in Perth where Labor is hopeful of picking up at least two seats.
What the Labor polling says
Labor runs its own internal polling operation including what’s known as “the track” which is a basket of up to 20 marginal seats that will decide the election.
According to those familiar with the track, Labor has been out in front for the entire campaign on the track at around the 52:48 mark. By comparison, the Labor track at the 2019 election was 50:50 at the end.
Clearly, that wasn’t enough and Labor secured only 68 seats at the 2019 election.
Support for Labor dipped in the first weeks of Mr Albanese’s campaign, however, the support for a change of government has appeared durable and consistent.
What happens if there’s a minority government?
For an outright majority in the 151-seat parliament the magic number is 76 seats. However, because both sides believe they can count on the support of at least two independents there’s the real prospect of forming government once you get to 74 seats.
Labor can count on the support of the Greens Adam Bandt and Tasmania’s Andrew Wilkie. There’s also the prospect of forming government with less than 74 seats depending on the make up of the crossbench.
For example, in 2010 when there was a hung parliament both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott secured 72 seats – four short of the majority required.
Six crossbenchers held the balance of power and ultimately four sided with Labor allowing Prime Minister Gillard to form government with 72 MPs and the support of four crossbench MPs.
This time around, if Mr Morrison can get to 74 seats he could most likely rely on the support of South Australian Independent Rebekha Sharkie and Queensland MP Bob Katter.
But a win is still the most likely outcome Labor strategists believe – despite the best efforts of Mr Albanese to self-sabotage his own campaign.
Both sides concede that the result will be close and could end in a minority Liberal government with independents or a minority Labor government with independents.
The seats the Prime Minister hopes to win to offset those losses include Gilmore and Parramatta, NSW, Corangamite and McEwen in Victoria and Lyons in Tasmania.
In NSW the seat of Hughes was won by the Liberals at the last election but was taken off their tally when former Liberal MP Craig Kelly quit the party and ultimately joined Clive Palmer’s UAP.