The Coalition could lose up to 19 mainland seats – including four held by ministers – putting Labor in power with a firm majority, according to the latest quarterly aggregate of the monthly Fairfax/Ipsos poll.
The results are worse for the government than for the previous three-month aggregate to the end of June, which showed the Coalition on track to lose 16 seats on the mainland.
In the three months to the end of September, the Coalition’s standing in Western Australia has deteriorated with a two-party-preferred 5.7 percentage point swing against the Coalition since the last election. If the swing were uniform on election day, three Coalition seats would be lost.
These are Pearce, held by Attorney-General Christian Porter, Hasluck, held by Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt, and Swan, held by Steve Irons.
The poll aggregates the views of 3601 voters over July, August and September. For the first two months Malcolm Turnbull was prime minister but was then replaced by Scott Morrison.
The worst state for the Coalition continues to be Queensland where the aggregate swing to Labor since the previous election is 6.1 points which, on uniform basis, would cost the Coalition nine seats. This includes Dickson, held by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, as well as Capricornia, Forde, Flynn, Petrie, Dawson, Bonner, Leichhardt and Brisbane.
Fearing a rout in Queensland, Mr Dutton challenged Mr Turnbull in August after the Coalition lost the Longman byelection with a primary vote of about 30 per cent. The Coalition trails Labor in Queensland on a two-party-preferred basis by 53 per cent to 47 per cent. In the June quarter aggregate poll, it was behind by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
The Coalition’s fortunes in NSW and Victoria have also not improved in the latest poll. In NSW, Labor leads by 52 per cent to 48 per cent, which is a 2.5 point swing towards it since the election and enough to win four seats if replicated uniformly. These are Banks, held by Immigration Minister David Coleman, as well as Gilmore, Robertson and Page. Gilmore is already at risk due to the decision of sitting member Ann Sudmalis to quit at the election after her branches were stacked.
In Victoria, Labor leads by 56 per cent to 44 per cent, which is a 4.2-point swing towards it since the election and enough to net it the Coalition seats of Corangamite, Chisholm and La Trobe. Like Gilmore, Chisholm is at risk as it is being vacated by incumbent Julia Banks to protest what she says is a culture of bullying in the Liberal Party.
The only good news for the Coalition was a swing towards it in South Australia/Northern Territory of 3.3 per cent but that would not see it take seats off Labor, if applied uniformly on election day. Since the electoral redistribution, all seats in SA are safe except for the Coalition seat of Boothby, which is marginal.
Nationally, Labor leads the Coalition by 53 per cent to 47 per cent.
Labor’s primary vote on an aggregate basis is 34 per cent, slightly down from 35 per cent at the election, and the Coalition’s primary vote is 35 per cent, a slump from the 42 per cent it received at the election. The Greens are on 13 per cent, up from 10 per cent on election day, and One Nation is on 7 per cent.
Swings are never uniform on election day but the aggregate polling gives a general indication of the current fortunes of the parties.
The next Parliament will be expanded to 151 seats, meaning a bare majority of 76 is needed to form government.
Due to the electoral redistributions in SA and Victoria, the ALP will start the campaign with a notional 71 seats, the Coalition 75 seats and there are five crossbenchers.