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Coalition Edging Closer To Lead After Shock News Poll Result

As 10 News First National Affairs Editor Hugh Riminton put it overnight: "Game on".

Or to use another sporting phrase, the action is certainly hotting up with just three weeks until the May 18 Federal Election, as the gap between the two major parties narrows.

In the latest News Poll published overnight, the Coalition trails Labor on a two-party preferred basis by 49 percentage points to 51. It was 48-52 in the previous poll.

In March this year, the Coalition racked up its 50th straight poll loss, in a clear sign of ongoing voter disgruntlement. This is the 53rd straight loss.

And while the government is still on the wrong side of the ledger, things are trending in the right direction for Scott Morrison.

The last time the Coalition got this close was early August 2018, when it hit 49 percent. But it then dipped to just 44 percent on a two-party preferred basis in the following poll.

The overnight bounce-back to 49 percent comes after two weeks of campaigning in which most pundits -- and apparently the public too -- believe the Coalition has out-pointed Labor and Bill Shorten.

"There's a lot of talk out there about News Poll being cooked by the Murdoch press or it being a matter of rounding errors," Riminton said.

"The key thing is, it reflects a general trend in polls of a tightening race."

READ MORE: Forget The Polls, Here's Who The Bookies Say Will Win The Election

There are interesting historical parallels to the current upward poll trend,

As Network 10 Political Editor Peter Van Onselen wrote recently, in 2004, the Coalition trailed Labor 46-54 per cent on the two-party vote when then Prime Minister John Howard called that year's federal election.

By the following week, Newspoll had tightened to 48-52, and Howard eventually won the election, after a campaign of a similar duration to this one.

However it's worth noting that Mark Latham was Labor's leader back then, and while voters may be struggling to warm to Bill Shorten, he's nowhere near as divisive a figure as Latham, who these days is a member of the NSW Legislative Council with One Nation.

Meanwhile, Labor is listed at odds of $1.35 to win the election at tab.com.au, with the Coalition at $3.