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A key question being asked during this election campaign is: Will independents experience the same levels of success as the last federal election?

Pollster Kos Samaras, who used to work for the Labor Party, was previously at ABC Radio Melbourne.

Host Virginia Trioli wanted to know: Which independents is he putting his money on?

“Jacqui Hawkins in Benambra,” he said. “We haven’t researched the southwest coast, but I’m hearing anecdotal reports of Carol Altmann winning down there.

“Obviously the blue-green independents in Kew and Mornington are looking pretty good based on what we’re seeing. And we don’t know what’s going to happen in Hawthorn.”

Hawkins, who used to work for former federal independent MP Cathy McGowan, came within 2.6 per cent of winning Benambra during the last election.

To win on Saturday, she needs an increase in her primary vote and for more Labor preferences to fall.

The independent candidate will also have to overcome the fact that boundary changes have seen the towns of Tawonga and Mount Beauty moved to another district. These seats have previously been won by Labor at state level (on a two-party preferred basis) and lean independents at federal level (on a two-candidate preferred basis).

It should also be noted that Samaras has conducted polls on behalf of independent candidates.

Roy Morgan Research, a separate polling agency, is tipping independents to win in Benambra, Kew, Hawthorn, Brighton and Melton on Saturday. The latter is a Labor seat in Melbourne’s west.

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