PM Malcolm Turnbull winning votes at Sandstone Point Hotel, Ningi. Photo Vicki Wood / Caboolture News
PM Malcolm Turnbull winning votes at Sandstone Point Hotel, Ningi. Photo Vicki Wood / Caboolture News Vicki Wood

Election punters at odds with latest poll

THE latest opinion poll by Essential puts Labor in the lead federally over the Coalition, but that's an outcome bookmakers would dispute.

The poll shows Labor gaining one percent to a 37% primary vote with the Coalition steady on 41% and the Greens on 10%.

The Nick Xenophon Team has 4% of the national vote and other parties and independents 9%.

Of Coalition vote the Nationals' contribution is 4%.

On a two-party preferred basis Labor has a winning 51-49 lead over the Coalition.

The numbers are at odds with sportsbet.com.au which has wound the Coalition's price in from $1.20 to $1.17 and pushed Labor out from $4.50 to $5 on Wednesday before further tightening the Coalition's odds on Thursday afternoon.

Labor is now out to $6.25 to win the election with the Coalition now in to $1.12.

Labor started the eight-week campaign priced at $3.25 and got as short as $2.95 one week in, but has been on the slide ever since.

The online bookmaker says it has now taken almost nine times the money on the Coalition compared to Labor.

Punters were also steering away from a hung parliament, with the odds of it happening drifting from $3.75 out to $4.25.

"The longer the campaign goes the more convinced punters are becoming that Malcolm Turnbull will win the election," sportsbet.com.au's Ben Bulmer said.

"The Coalition is the shortest it has been since the campaign started, with Labor's odds almost doubling."

Attitudes expressed on key issues in the Essential Poll paint a different picture with Malcolm Turnbull's approval rating down three points to 38% and is disapproval rate up one at 40% compared with Bill Shorten's approval rate that sits unchanged on 34% with his disapproval rate down four points to match Turnbull's on 40%.

Labor at 56% - up 6% - is considered more likely to look after the interests of ordinary workers while the Coalition sits unchanged on 31% Labor at 49% (up 6%) is considered to have a better understanding of the problems facing Australia than the Coalition on 44% which is up 3%.

Labor (45%) is more trusted than the Coalition (39%) to manage a fair superannuation scheme and is also considered to have good policies by 46% of voters - up 8% - compared with the Coalition on 41% which an improvement of 2%.

Tellingly 66% of voters polled consider the Coalition to be too close to big corporations and financial interests compared with Labor on 35%. The poll further found 63% of voters considered the Government to be out of touch with ordinary people compared with 35% who felt Labor was out of touch.

Graeme Orr, Professor of Law at the University of Queensland, said Labor could win the two party preferred vote nationally but fall behind in marginal seats because the system was not proportional.

He said 52% of the vote would win it the election and it would come close with 51% with that outcome more likely to produce a hung parliament. If a swing is not on in Queensland, it could leave Labor with as little as 47% of the vote here which would win it only a third of the available seats.

MAJOR PARTY VOTE SHRINKS

Professor Orr said the combined support for major parties was shrinking and down to 75% in the lower house.

He said taking into account those who don't vote or vote informal the real number may now be as low as 65%.

Professor Orr said the two-party system was in decline but still able to control parliament. He predicts more hung parliaments.

Eventually a centrist party could emerge capable of splitting Australian politics into a four or five party system.

He said this election's double dissolution could also produce between six and seven cross bench senators.


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