Bill Shorten is expected to gain a swag of seats for Labor but does not yet have enough for victory in the 2016 federal election.
With just nine days left until polling day, both parties doubled down on scare campaigns on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warning of "chaos" on Australia's borders and Mr Shorten arguing the government had to be thrown out to protect Medicare.
The most recent Fairfax-Ipsos poll, published last Saturday, gave Labor a slender 51-49 lead in the two-party preferred vote, and other published polls have the two major parties locked in a virtual dead-heat.
Fairfax Media spoke to more than a dozen Labor strategists, officials, MPs and campaign workers across every state of Australia on Wednesday - as well as Liberal and National party strategists - to put together a snapshot of key marginal seats across the country.
Labor officials believe the ALP is a realistic chance of claiming a total of eight to 10 seats - placing the opposition within striking distance of the government as the campaign heads into the final week.
The opposition needs to gain 21 seats to form majority government.
In New South Wales, Labor believes the soon-to-be-former bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro will fall its way, as will Barton, Paterson and Dobell - all of which have become notional Labor seats after electoral boundary changes.
In Victoria, party insiders are pessimistic and not yet claiming any seats are in the bag while in regional Queensland, the ALP believes it will win Capricornia, Flynn and Dawson.
In Western Australia, Labor claims big swings are headed its way because of disaffection with the Barnett state government and a popular promise to help fund the Perth Metronet rail project; however, WA is a Liberal stronghold and only Burt is considered a likely Labor gain.
South Australian party insiders believe former MP Steve Georganas is on track to reclaim Hindmarsh, despite the complication of the likely strong showing of Nick Xenophon's NXT party and in Tasmania, the ultra-maringal Lyons is being marked down as a probable gain.
Complicating this picture, the ALP is sweating on two seats - the inner-Melbourne seat of Batman, held by the embattled David Feeney, is considered a red-hot chance to fall to the Greens, and Kevin Rudd's former seat of Griffith, now held by ALP rising star Terri Butler, could also surprise and fall to the Coalition.
This would deliver between 63 and 65 seats for Mr Shorten's team.
If the Turnbull government were allocated 91 seats to begin with - assuming Clive Palmer's seat of Fairfax returns to the LNP - that would mean the Prime Minister would govern with a reduced majority of about 81 to 83 seats in the 150-member House.
Labor strategists said the Medicare scare campaign was "working brilliantly" and gained significant traction, but few predicted victory.
"After six-and-a-half weeks, that's the one we know is working, so we will stick with it," said one.
"Bill doesn't win, but we could win a bunch of seats," said another.
Despite the almost universal prediction that Labor would fall short, those same strategists remained optimistic and argued a hung Parliament was a distinct possibility.
One scenario being war-gamed is one in which Labor picks up 69 seats, Senator Xenophon's party claims three and former independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott beat the Nationals' deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, and backbencher Luke Hartsuyker.
That would translate to a hung Parliament and 75 seats held by parties other than the Coalition.
A second tier of about 15 seats are considered "in play", though by no certain gains, for Labor.
In NSW, Page, Macarthur and Robertson are considered "in play" but trending Liberal; the Sydney seats of Macquarie and Lindsay now are considered unlikely to fall, while Reid and Banks are considered "write-offs".
In Victoria, Labor believes that Corangamite and La Trobe could still break its way too
The opposition is not tracking as well in Queensland's populous south-east corner since the switch from Tony Abbott to Mr Turnbull; Longman, Brisbane and, to a lesser extent, Forde and Petrie remain "in play" but are unlikely gains.
Western Australia's Cowan and Hasluck are considered an outside chance for Labor, while swings are under way in Swan and Pearce but victory is unlikely.
Party insiders believe Tasmania's Bass and Braddon remain "competitive", South Australia's Boothby remains a "smokey", and the volatile Northern Territory seat of Solomon could be picked off.
As polling day approached, Mr Turnbull launched a scare campaign over Labor's asylum seeker policy, warning of "chaos" on Australia's borders if the ALP is elected on July 2.
Mr Shorten, in turn, continued the scare campaign that Medicare would be smashed and privatised under a re-elected Turnbull government, despite Mr Turnbull having categorically and repeatedly ruled out such a decision.
After three years of the Coalition refusing to reveal details of boat turn-back operations, Mr Turnbull revealed the details of one on Wednesday. He went on the political attack and confirmed 28 turn-backs had taken place in three years.
He dismissed the fact that Labor formally changed its policy in 2015 to support turn-backs and argued the opposition "doesn't have the willpower to do it".
Labor would "send an absolutely unequivocal signal to the people smugglers that under a Labor government, anyone who manages to get to Australia on a boat will be able to stay here permanently.
"Imagine the chaos that we would be presented with under a Labor, Greens, independent government."
Asked on Wednesday if the flow of asylum seeker boats would restart under Labor, Mr Shorten said: "No".
"You have to love the Liberal Party central headquarters. It is the break-glass issue. Spread concern and say somehow Labor has a different policy to the Liberals when it comes to deterring boats. This is proof-positive that the Liberals have run out of anything positive to say about themselves," he said.
Pivoting to Medicare, Mr Shorten said the future of the health system was "a key question in the July 2 election".