Labor is holding onto a narrow lead over the Coalition in the final opinion polls of the federal election in one of the tightest races in living memory, as 14 million Australians vote to decide who runs the country for the next three years.
A Nielsen poll, published by Fairfax on Saturday, shows Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Labor government ahead of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s Coalition on a two-party-preferred basis by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
On primary votes, the Coalition’s lead is 41.5 to 39 per cent, with the Greens on 13 per cent.
The Weekend Australian newspaper’s Newspoll shows an even tighter contest, putting Labor in front by a marginal 50.2 per cent to the Coalition’s 49.8 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis.
Labor’s primary vote is 36.2 per cent, with the Coalition on 43.4 per cent and the Greens on 13.9 per cent.
The Newspoll revealed swings against the Gillard government in Queensland and NSW, where Labor has suffered in its primary vote in the last week of the campaign.
ALP’s primary vote in Queensland is down eight percentage points in just three days to 27 per cent, compared with 42.9 per cent in 2007, the Australian reports.
In NSW, Labor’s primary vote is down from 39 per cent to 35 per cent, compared with 44.5 per cent at the last election.
Based on preference flows at the 2007 election, Labor has suffered a 2.5 percentage point swing away from it since the last election and a 1.8 point swing against it since last weekend.
A national uniform swing of 2.5 per cent against Labor would wipe out the government’s majority, with the loss of 13 seats, and result in a hung parliament.
The Nielsen poll shows Labor could hang onto government by finishing with between 77 seats and 79 seats, according to an analysis by Fairfax. It shows Ms Gillard leads Mr Abbott as preferred prime minister by 51 per cent to 40 per cent. Her 11-percentage-point lead is three points lower than a week ago.