Premier Daniel Andrews will be elected for another four years if recent polls prove correct on November 24.
But with three weeks still remaining in the campaign, the race is far from over.
The Coalition needs to get another eight seats to form a majority government under Matthew Guy.
Mr Andrews has a one-seat majority. He can’t afford to lose any seats, and risk a minority government or a loss.
Newspoll this week had Mr Andrews extending his majority, with a two-party preferred result of at 54 per cent compared to 46.
Labor is confident it can defend the bloc of so-called sand belt seats from Liberal candidates, while simultaneously fending off the Greens in inner-Melbourne.
Here are the seats that could decide Victoria’s next government. They are mostly Labor’s to lose.
(Roll over the graphics to show the margins, after preferences, in 2014.)
The sand belt seats
Labor is confident of holding all four of the sand belt seats – including Frankston, Bentleigh, Carrum and Mordialloc – after removing 11 level crossings from the Frankston line in this term.
A Labor source said the community recognised the investment.
“There’s a lot of effort being put in there,” they said of the four seats.
Labor knows anything could happen, but “the feeling is good on the ground”.
Both parties have promised better rail connections for the area, which struggles with traffic congestion and long commutes.
The Coalition on Thursday said it would ease population growth in the region by introducing two-storey maximum heights along the coastline.
Frankston is held by Labor’s Paul Edbrooke with a razor-thin margin of 0.48 per cent.
He is up against policeman Michael Lamb for the Liberals.
Bentleigh is held by Labor’s Nick Staikos by just 0.78 per cent.
Liberal candidate Asher Judah was born and raised in the area.
Labor’s Sonya Kilkenny holds Carrum by a margin of 0.7 per cent.
She is facing a rematch from former Liberal MP Donna Bauer, who lost the seat in 2014.
Labor holds Mordialloc with a slightly more comfortable, but still tight, margin of 2.1 per cent.
Liberal candidate Geoff Gledhill, a Kingston councillor, will go up against Labor member Tim Richardson.
Mr Gledhill has put his priorities on crime, overdevelopment, and fighting Labor’s sky rail.
Cranbourne is ground zero for one of the central issues this election – population growth.
It takes in Cranbourne East, the fastest-growing suburb in the country in real terms between 2016 and 2017, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The Coalition argues Labor has lost control of population growth.
Labor candidate Pauline Richards is running, with sitting member Jude Perera retiring. He won the 2014 election by 2.34 per cent.
Ms Richards will go up against Liberal candidate Ann-Marie Hermans.
On the other side of the voter base is Brunswick, in Melbourne’s inner-north.
Labor believes it can hold the seat, which the Greens is also confident of taking.
The government is running Cindy O’Connor from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) in the place of sitting member Jane Garrett, who is moving to the upper house.
Greens candidate Tim Read sees the changing of the guard as his opportunity.
Dr Read, a sexual health physician, lost last election by a 2.2 per cent margin. He is focussed on securing better public transport.
Labor likely has a better chance of holding Richmond with local member and Planning Minister Richard Wynne since the start of the safe-injecting room trial, winning some progressive votes.
Mr Wynne has a strong local following, having held the seat since 1999.
But his margin is down to 1.86 per cent, and he will face the same Greens candidate Kathleen Maltzahn on November 24.
She has pegged her campaign on delivering more public, social and affordable housing for Richmond.
Labor was shaken by its by-election loss to the Greens in Northcote last year. The party is more confident after federal Labor held Batman with former union boss Ged Kearney.
Labor now believes it can hold on in inner-Melbourne areas, at least in the short term.
“There’s a strong sense that people in those seats, with good candidates and good policies, still do believe in Labor,” the source said.
Prahran is shaping up to have one of the most dramatic campaigns this election, with a three-horse race.
The seat is held by Greens member Sam Hibbins with a margin of only 0.37 per cent.
He could lose to either Labor’s Neil Pharaoh or Katie Allen, of the Liberal Party.
The Greens are confident of holding on, while Labor is less confident of clawing back Prahran than it is of holding Brunswick and Richmond.
Morwell is another one to watch.
Local member Russell Northe is running as an independent after resigning from the Nationals due to depression and gambling debts.
He has a 1.8 per cent margin and now faces a Nationals candidate, a Liberal candidate, Labor and high-profile Ricky Muir from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.
“Regional Victoria has been badly let down by the city-centric Andrews Labor government and the Nationals are fighting for a better deal for our regional and rural communities,” Victorian Nationals Party leader Peter Walsh said in a statement to The New Daily.
Nationals candidate Peter Schwarz will hope to pick up Shepparton from independent local member Suzanna Sheed.
Ms Sheed is defending a 2.63 per cent margin.
Labor member Christine Couzens won Geelong with a 6 per cent margin last election, but could face a loss against high-profile independent challenger Darryn Lyons, the former mayor.
Freya Fidge is running for the Liberal Party.
Both Labor and the opposition have made road, fast rail and tourism promises for Geelong.
Liberal member Brian Paynter is facing a challenge from Labor’s Jordan Crugnale in Bass, held by 4.55 per cent, stretching from Pakenham in Melbourne’s south-east to Phillip Island.
Labor believes it could have a chance because the voter population in the seat has gotten younger, according to The Age.
Mr Andrews on Thursday announced all four Pakenham level crossings would be removed to make way for sky rail, if he’s re-elected.
Pakenham would get a new “super station” and allow Gippsland train lines to run more frequently under the plan.
Louise Staley, of the Liberals, holds regional electorate Ripon by just 0.75 per cent.
Mr Andrews on Wednesday promised a $100 million upgrade to the Maryborough Hospital in the seat, where Labor is running Sarah DeSantis.