Bob Hawke says the Coalition would win an election if one was held tomorrow.
But the former prime minister and Labor leader believes the outcome is “evenly poised”.
Mr Hawke has written a brief commentary for CrownBet as punters weigh up whether Malcolm Turnbull will hold onto government on July 2 or Bill Shorten will take Labor to victory.
“To sum up: if the election were held tomorrow it would be the Coalition with a reduced majority,” Mr Hawke wrote.
“But the momentum is with Labor. This election is certainly one that the campaign will decide.”
The seasoned campaigner said Mr Turnbull – who used a series of bad Newspolls as the reason to seize the Liberal leadership from Tony Abbott – should be “a worried man” if he still sees Newspoll as a significant indicator of voter preference and intention.
“The latest Newspoll continues the massive move of support from Turnbull, matched by a substantial improvement in Shorten’s net satisfaction rating,” Mr Hawke said.
Since November, the net rating has crashed 50 points for Mr Turnbull and lifted 26 points for Mr Shorten, to have both standing at minus 12.
“Labor will be taking heart from these figures … reflecting what is generally seen as an improvement in Bill’s confidence and performance,” Mr Hawke said.
Former Greens leader Bob Brown’s urging of his party to issue open how-to-vote cards, rather than encourage preferences, would “undoubtedly be to Labor’s disadvantage”, he said.