A SURVEY of 54 key marginal electorates shows Labor stands to lose as many as 18 seats at the federal election to be held later this year.
The poll of 3350 people across electorates with a margin of 6% or less was conducted by JWS Research and shows a two-party-preferred swing against the government of 4.8%.
A uniform swing of this magnitude would deliver the Coalition 91 seats and a thumping election victory, while reducing Labor's numbers on the floor of the House of Representatives to 54.
Interestingly the results mirror a market released on Monday by online bookmaker Sportsbet, which listed the Coalition as favourite in 91 seats and Labor 54.
Detailed analysis of the marginal electorates by JWS Research shows the swing in ALP-held seats could be even worse at 6.5%, which would result in the loss of 25 seats.
JWS's four-state breakdown of the poll shows a net loss of just seven marginal seats for Labor, although this would still be enough for the Coalition to form government.
The poll shows support for Labor collapsing in New South Wales's 16 marginal seats, with a predicted swing against the government in these electorates of 12.2%.
This would result in the loss of 10 seats, including Dobell which is held by Craig Thomson who quit the Labor Party last year at the height of the Health Services Union scandal.
But the analysis also found the damage in NSW could be largely offset in Queensland, where a predicted swing of 2.8% towards the government would help it pick up as many as six seats from the Liberal National Party.
The state-by-state analysis shows the government losing three seats in Victoria and no net change in Western Australia.
The analysis also found Labor stood to lose just two country-based marginal seats - there are 17 in all - with a swing against the government in these electorates of 1.7% since the last election.
In metropolitan marginal seats it is far worse, with a swing of -5.7% since 2010 resulting in the government losing 15 seats.
John Scales from JWS Research said the Queensland and NSW figures had not come as a surprise.
"He cited the "Campbell Newman factor" in Queensland for the poor LNP polling, and the ongoing ICAC inquiry for Labor's woes in NSW.
"People will debate individual seats that might be won or lost but just on a statewide basis 2.8% takes up six Coalition seats in Queensland," he said.
The poll was commissioned by consultancy firm EGC Advisory Solutions, which has former treasurer Peter Costello as its chairman.
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