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Latest polls in WA election: analyst -

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ELIZABETH JACKSON: Latest polls suggest that Labor will sweep to power in Western Australia today. Newspoll, shows Labor leading the Coalition 54 to 46 per cent in two party preferred terms.
That would translate to Labor taking 39 of the 54 seats in the Lower House and end Colin Barnett's 8 and a half year run as Premier.

The poll also shows a dramatic drop in support for Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party. It's been a lively campaign, culminating in a last-minute rift between the Liberals and Nationals after the Premier detailed massive cuts to the Royalties for Regions program, which has delivered millions of dollars to rural communities.

There were also challenges for One Nation after its leader struggled with candidates and was challenged about her statements on immunisation and Vladimir Putin.

For more on today's Newspoll I spoke to election analyst William Bowe, otherwise known as 'The Poll Bludger':

WILLIAM BOWE: It's accorded with my perspective during the campaign. There's been a bit of disparity in polls during the campaign, in that another pollster, ReachTEL has come up with more favourable results for the Liberal Party.

But I think the view is that these polls conducted by Galaxy, either in their own name or for Newspoll - the same organisation does both polls - have had Labor well ahead. This poll follows that trend and I think political insiders are saying that that's what they expect: that we are looking at a swing to Labor of solidly over 10 per cent, which should be more than enough to get them a majority.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: How problematic is this rift within the Coalition, based on Colin Barnett's decision to make savings out of the Royalties for Regions program?

WILLIAM BOWE: It's one of a number of things we've seen in the campaign which bespeaks the Liberal Party's lack of confidence.

You know, they've done this at the very end of the election campaign. I don't think this was part of their battle plan going into the campaign - at the end of the campaign, hoping to sort of swing back those late-deciding voters.

The momentum didn't seem to be going their way. They thought that the one thing that they really had to maximise were their credentials as superior economic managers, which the Liberal Party always has in the minds of voters; and to emphasise that point by putting hard figures on the degree to which they will reduce debt, and that debt figure is really creeping into the public consciousness, would sharpen their campaign, to the extent that it would hopefully for them counter-balance the problems they were going to have with the National Party.

But those problems are considerable and they are going to, I think, be a boon for the National Party in the regions. And it's not an election-winning gambit from a party that, you know, really thinks it's on top of the game.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: So we've had a lot of political leaders say in the past that disunity is death. I wonder whether this development - as you say, at the 11th hour is going to make voters change their minds, perhaps, about how they do vote?

WILLIAM BOWE: It's a sort of desperation move, which is one that is more likely to cause them more harm than good, but they thought the dice worth rolling just in case it plays out the way that they hoped. And it really did gain traction among voters who are worried about the debt level.

But I think the problem with that is that it really reinforces the notion that the non-Labor forces are splintering; and, as you say, 'Disunity is death' is, you know, an age-old political axiom for a very good reason.

What the situation at present reminds me of is the period of Peter Beatty's ascendancy in Queensland. Back then, you had the National Party, the Liberal Party and the One Nation Party all jockeying for position, competing with each other as much as they were competing with Labor.

And on the other side of the fence you had a very clearly united party, where the leader was in the ascendant. And for swinging voters who want a bit of stability and a government that looks like they've got their act together, there really was not choice at all. And Peter Beatty won a series of landslide victories.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Are we going to see, William, a larger assortment of minor parties in the Upper House in WA?

WILLIAM BOWE: Very likely, I think. Certainly, One Nation. It will be extremely surprising if they don't at least bag a handful of Upper House seats in the non-metropolitan Upper House regions.

My feeling has always been that they will win one in each of the three. And three seats in the context of this election should be enough to win them the balance of power in their own right.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: That's election analyst William Bowe, joining us there from Perth.