The West

Colin Barnett yesterday insisted the March 9 election would be closer than published polling suggests, predicting that as many as 20 of Parliament's 59 seats could be in play.

A Newspoll conducted in November and December projected a two-party preferred result of 58-42 in favour of the Liberal-Nationals Government, a result that would see a landslide if repeated on voting day.

But the Premier said he would be "very surprised" if that was the result.

"I'm optimistic about the election result but I know it will be far closer than those poll figures suggest," he said.

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

Senior Liberals have said they are concerned at perceptions the Government is a long way in front.

Mr Barnett said he expected a "ferocious" campaign for every vote and he urged people to enrol to vote.

The West Australian

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