The West

Premier Colin Barnett predicts the March 9 State election will be closer than a poll that shows his coalition government has a commanding lead.

A Newspoll taken between October and December, reported in The Australian newspaper on Monday, gives the coalition a 58-42 two-party-preferred lead over Labor.

The poll indicated 48 per cent of voters prefer Mr Barnett as premier, compared to 29 per cent for Opposition Leader Mark McGowan.

Ahead of his official campaign launch next week, Mr Barnett said he was anticipating a tight election, with as many as 20 seats genuinely contested.

"At the last State election the Liberal party won 10 seats off Labor, each of those ten seats will be under contest," he said.

The poll put Labor's primary support unchanged from the previous three-month polling period at 30 per cent, and the coalition on 49 per cent.

Mr Barnett said the Government had a job ahead of it to win another term.

"I am not going to run around and play that game of pretending to be an underdog, but I also am a realist and the Liberal party holds less seats than Labor," he said.

"The reality today is the Labor Party has 26 seats, and the Liberal Party has 24.

"I am optimistic about the election result but I know it will be far closer than those poll figures suggest."

The West Australian

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