UAP ad blitz hurting Labor

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    UAP ad blitz hurting Labor

    United Australia Party leader Clive Palmer. Picture: AAPUnited Australia Party leader Clive Palmer. Picture: AAP

    Labor fears Clive Palmer’s advertising blitz will push it into a minority government, with Mr Palmer’s ad lines being repeated back to it in focus groups.

    The party had hoped to win as many as 80 seats on Saturday — with 76 required for a majority in the House of Representatives.

    Labor now believes it will win between 74 and 79 seats and Mr Palmer’s preferences could be critical to it finishing without a majority. With Mr Palmer polling more than double digits in the western Sydney seat of Lindsay, that seat appears a loss for Labor, according to internal polling, and is shaping as a gain for the Liberals.

    Mr Palmer’s slogan “Make Australia Great again” has been parroted back by marginal-seat voters to Labor pollsters.

    And the party fears a United Australia Party recommendation to preference Liberal candidates will hurt them and make the difference between majority and minority government.

    Labor still hopes it can snatch Reid and/or Gilmore in NSW, but fears Lindsay is lost and is having to fight rearguard actions in Macquarie, Paterson and Dobell to stave off Liberal upsets in those seats. In the seat of Robertson, held by the Liberals by 1.4 per cent, Labor is polling in the range of 49 to 50 per cent and within reach of snatching the seat.

    The party expects to pick up at least four seats in Victoria and a couple (net) in both Queensland and Western Australia to potentially take it to 78.

    “Clive has f . . ked us,” one Labor source said. “He’s killing us.”

    At pre-polling booths, UAP workers are said to be yelling out “stop shifty Shorten”.

    Key to any Liberal hopes to snatch an election win are the Victorian seats of La Trobe and Corangamite. The NSW battle for Warringah is on in earnest, with the contest between former prime minister Tony Abbott and Zali Steggall said to be lineball.

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