Four days out from the Australian federal election and a dramatic shift in voter sentiment has seen the Liberals gain ground with the race now down to the wire.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese are now neck and neck according to the latest Resolve poll as Australians gear up to head to the ballot box on Saturday.
Voters have eased back on their support for Labor over the last two weeks with the party’s primary vote dropping from 34 to 31 per cent, seemingly wiping away Anthony Albanese’s surge in appeal earlier in the campaign.
While the poll shows Mr Morrison’s focus on economic policy and an concerted effort to paint his government as stronger on national security is paying off with the Liberals going from 33 to 34 per cent.
Scott Morrison had something to smile about on Tuesday (pictured) with the latest election poll showing his Coalition is gaining ground on Labor four days out from election day
The survey, conducted for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, shows that when preference votes are taken into account the Coalition is sitting at 49 per cent of the total vote and the ALP is at 51 per cent.
Interestingly, 34 per cent of all voters shunned a number one vote for the major parties, preferring to go with minor parties – most notable the Greens at 14 per cent.
One Nation saw a small rise from 5 to 6 per cent, while the United Australia Party dropped from 5 to 4 per cent.
‘As we near election day, voters are naturally locking in their choice, and in many cases have already voted,’ Resolve director Jim Reed said.
After preferred votes are taken into account into the poll shows Antony Albanese (pictured) and Labor are still just ahead but the race is neck and neck
‘It seems that the large group of uncommitted voters who were once sending a protest message, or were voting for change or parking their vote, have started to swing back to the known quantity.’
The survey polled 2049 voters from last Thursday to Tuesday a period that included official campaign rallies from both parties.
This included an admission from Mr Morrison he can be a ‘bit of a bulldozer’ when considering others’ opinions and would change if re-elected.
This in turn prompted Mr Albanese to respond that ‘even Scott Morrison is distancing himself from Scott Morrison’.
The Coalition also unveiled an election-eve proposal to allow Aussies to withdraw a portion of their super for a first home deposit.
This has prompted fierce debate, with Labor, the superannuation industry and some housing advocates claiming it would raise house prices.
On Sunday Mr Morrison announced first home buyers would be able to access 40 per cent of their superannuation up to $50,000 to buy a house.
In addition, a re-elected coalition would expand a scheme to encourage older Australians to downsize and free up housing supply.
Mr Morrison said the scheme was a way to help people deal with rising cost of living pressures and get them into their own homes.
‘You let them use their own money,’ he said.
‘You don’t lock it away from them where someone else is in control of it … it’s theirs.’
Mr Albanese said the prime minister’s proposal proved he just wanted to cut people’s super rather than address housing affordability.
Pre-polling is already underway with early voting centres up and running (pictured: the AECs Sydney CBD early voting centre)
‘If you take super away from people, then you’ll have higher deficits and bills from the government in the future,’ he told reporters in Perth on Monday.
Labor’s housing alternative involves a ‘help to buy’ scheme where 10,000 low income earners would be eligible for a government equity contribution to help enter the housing market.
The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees said the coalition’s plan would drive up house prices and undermine the core purpose of the super system.
‘Using super as a deposit will drive up property prices, leaving Australians with higher debt and depleted retirement savings,’ the institute’s chief executive Eva Scheerlinck said.
‘Superannuation … is not a piggy bank the government can open at its convenience to avoid dealing with the real systemic issues facing first home buyers.’
Staff members assist voters arriving to cast their ballots ahead of the national election at an AEC early voting centre, in Sydney on May 17 (pictured)