Labor leader Bill Shorten gestures in the House of Representatives last week
Labor discarded an opinion poll suggesting it might be an opportunity to win Wentworth's seat in Malcolm Turnbull's Sydney, when a close friend of the former prime minister emerged as the frontrunner for the liberal preselection.
The latest ReachTel poll has the Liberal Party and the Labor Party at 50 percent on a preferred two-party base in a sign that voters could punish the government for expelling Turnbull as prime minister.
But Labor Senator and former NSW Prime Minister Kristina Keneally is taking the survey with a pinch of salt.
"Throughout its history, it has been a front-line liberal seat," Ms. Keneally told AAP on Wednesday.
"Make no mistake: Labor has very little chance of taking Wentworth's seat."
Labor Senator and former NSW Prime Minister Kristina Keneally is taking the survey with a pinch of salt
The former executive director of the Australian Business Council and a gay marriage activist, Andrew Bragg, is emerging as the favorite to replace his friend Mr. Turnbull.
Experts hope that the Liberals will retain the seat, with the former ambassador of Australia in Israel, Dave Sharma, also in the race for the liberal preselection.
But although Sharma is considered within the party as a quality candidate, AAP understands that Bragg has more local support and is very close to the former prime minister.
Senior moderates are pushing for Bragg to be the consensus candidate.
The sister of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Christine Forster, also raised her hand for the prescreening, but liberal sources say the city councilor in Sydney lacks institutional support and is "about to go blind."
Tony Abbott's sister, Christine Forster (center), has also raised her hand for the preselection.
The ReachTel survey of 886 people commissioned by left-leaning think tank The Australian Institute suggests that the liberal primary vote fell to 39.6 percent, compared to 62.3 percent in 2016.
The primary vote of labor, on the other hand, has shot up to almost 30 percent from 17.7 percent.
Labor pre-selected local businessman Tim Murray to run for Wentworth.
Independent Kerryn Phelps, another councilwoman from the city of Sydney, has not revealed whether she plans to flee, but election observers believe she would have the best chance of defeating the Liberals.
The latest survey, conducted on Monday night, suggested that Cr Phelps could secure 12% of the primary vote.
It is understood that he will not make public comments until after Mr. Turnbull officially resigns on Friday after representing the seat for 14 years.
The government will have a negative vote in the lower house during the battle for the elections after the Labor Party ruled out granting a par to the government.
Senator Keneally says the ReachTel poll shows that voters are disgusted with the Liberal Party and its "scams."
"There is anger there, where that ends up being a partial choice at this time, I think, it's an open question," he said.