Federal election: Polls show King could lose

BALLARAT MP Catherine King could be in danger of losing her seat at the next federal election, according to a political expert.

The seat is currently one of Labor's safest with a margin of 11.7 per cent, however current polling shows that cushion would be slashed.

According to a recent Fairfax/Nielsen poll, Labor is sitting on a primary vote of 29 per cent the equivalent of a seven per swing against the government.

Monash University politics lecturer Nick Economou said Ms King's margin was higher than it should be, due to the strong performance in Victoria by Labor at the last election.

He said there were signs from Labor that they were starting to see safe Victorian seats like Ballarat and Bendigo as being under threat.

"Ballarat has historically been a marginal seat, a bit of a swinging seat. Even though there has recently been a demographic change," he said.

"Take 5 per cent away from that 2010 result to give it a more realistic margin. Once you take it down to 7 per cent, suddenly it becomes quite vulnerable."

A recent report in The Australian said Labor internal polling was showing a potential 13 per cent swing against Catherine King at the next election.

Mr Economou said he would not be surprised if Labor was "sandbagging" its safer seats.

Ms King said the election would be "incredibly tough" and that she didn't take the seat for granted.

"I am proud to stand on my record of delivering for our region in Canberra and on my strong record of standing up for the needs of my community," she said.

Liberal candidate John Fitzgibbon would not be drawn on whether he was confident of victory in September.

"My goal is to be Ballarat's representative in Canberra, not Canberra's representative in Ballarat," he said.

tom.cowie@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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