A one per cent movement in an opinion poll – well within the statistical margin of error and the not the first since February – has suddenly become a surge.
It’s not of course, despite the blazing headline that accompanied the latest Newspoll – the second last before polling day – published in The Australian on Monday.
But the story behind the inconsequential change in the standing of the major parties is better news for the government than it is for the opposition.
For a start first-vote support for the coalition rose two points to 43 per cent on the back of another drop in support for independents and micro parties.
After preferences, the coalition leads Labor 51-49 per cent.
Statistically, the slight improvement in the coalition’s vote doesn’t change the 50-50 standing of the major parties at the start of the campaign seven weeks ago or even their respective positions back in February.
In other words, the hard slog has changed nothing.
And, with five days to go, a third of voters say they’re not fully committed to their choice. Six per cent say they haven’t made up their mind.
That will suit the coalition very nicely.
Electoral history shows that in the last week of a campaign uncommitted and undecided voters generally break more strongly for the coalition than Labor.
If that happens on Saturday, the Turnbull government’s losses will be confined to a handful of seats rather than a baker’s dozen.
More accurately, the one per cent movement has the potential to become a surge.