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Barnett s  six-seat election swing
Winning lead: Premier Colin Barnett. Picture: Bill Hatto/ The West Australian

The State election race has tightened since October but if the election were held now, the Barnett Government would still be returned with a metropolitan swing towards it, with Labor likely to lose up to six seats.

_The Weekend West _ understands that pre-election polling has detected a swing of 2.5 per cent in Perth battlegrounds, which would eclipse Labor's notional margins in Forrestfield, Balcatta and Morley.

If the swing was reflected across the State, Albany would also fall to the Liberals.

Such a trend would also make it tough for Labor to hold Pilbara, where Tom Stephens' personal vote would evaporate with his retirement, allowing WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls to swoop.

The scenario would peg Labor, which notionally holds 27 Lower House seats, back to the low 20s and allow the Liberals to govern outright or join forces with the Nationals again.

The news is not all bad for Labor, with the snapshot eight weeks from the March 9 election an improvement on the 57-43 two-party preferred lead to the Government in a Newspoll in October.

While Labor would lose the election according to a script which has seen the fall of just two single-term governments in WA in the past 80 years, the current scenario would give it a platform to mount a challenge in 2017.

Limiting the swing to less than 3 per cent would insulate Labor from losses in semi-marginal seats including Joondalup, Collie- Preston, West Swan and Gosnells - all held with notional margins of between 3.5 and 5 per cent.

In contrast to Labor's three seats with notional margins under one per cent (Albany, Forrestfield and Morley), the Liberals could withstand a swing of one per cent against them with the loss of just one seat, Wanneroo.

Thirty seats are needed to form government in the 59-seat Legislative Assembly.

Labor preferences in three-cornered regional contests could be the difference between the Nationals retaining the balance of power or the Liberals governing outright.

Possible Nationals wins in Pilbara and Kalgoorlie could be negated by losses in Moore and Warren-Blackwood, should Labor carry out its threat to give preference to Liberals over "fake Liberals".