Labor needs preferences as the clock runs down for Scott Morrison

This explains why the primary vote for independents has fallen from 9 to 4 per cent nationwide.

We now know more than we did two weeks ago about the choice for voters. The Australian Electoral Commission declared the candidates on April 22 and this means the survey can ask voters about each option in their local electorate.

The Coalition, meanwhile, has slumped from a primary vote of 41 per cent at the last election to just 33 per cent in this latest survey, which suggests it will not have the strength to hold some of its own seats, let alone seize any from Labor.

Some of the Coalition’s support has leaked to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party and history suggests it does not all come back on preferences.

Scott Morrison will need preference deals with Hanson and Palmer, of course, but deals on the right will not be enough when the Coalition is losing support in the centre.

The problem for Morrison is obvious in the fact he lost ground as preferred prime minister and on personal approval ratings when he was campaigning relentlessly – almost frenetically at times – while Albanese was at home with COVID. Perhaps voters have simply had enough of him.

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Labor gained 48.5 per cent of the two-party vote at the last election and is on 54 per cent in this new survey, measured either by stated preferences or the preference flows at the last election. The Coalition had 51.5 per cent at the last election but only 46 per cent in this survey.

The margin of error in this survey is 2.6 per cent so the results offer a guide to where the electorate has moved rather than a precise GPS location for where it will be May 21. This is a poll, not a prediction. The last election showed that Labor can lose its lead in the final days of the contest.

Yet the results in this poll reveal a swing to Labor that is strong enough to shift a number of seats, including Bass, Chisholm, Boothby, Braddon, Reid, Swan, Longman, Higgins, Leichhardt, Robertson, Casey, Dickson, Deakin, Brisbane, Lindsay and Pearce.

Morrison is running out of time for another miracle.

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