The architect of the Labor Party's unsuccessful election campaign is being urged to stand down with one senior figure describing national secretary Noah Carroll as "dead as a dodo bird."
Mr Carroll is being criticised for two major failings - commissioning Newspoll as the party's pollster and failing to grasp the strength of the Coalition's attack on Labor's franking credits policy.
"He's extinct before he's dead," one Labor MP said of Mr Carroll.
Another MP said when colleagues tried to tell Labor's campaign headquarters in Sydney how bad voters' reactions to the proposed franking credits changes were, they were told not to worry because polling showed people who were against the changes were not Labor voters.
A veteran campaign operative said Mr Carroll was "dead meat" and had questions to answer about why Labor used Newspoll - also used by media company News Corp - for its internal research, instead of a polling company which could be contracted exclusively to the party.
"There's a view he failed spectacularly with the research," the campaign insider said.
Another Labor source said Mr Carroll was "dead as a dodo bird."
But South Australian senator Don Farrell, an ally of outgoing Labor leader Bill Shorten, defended Mr Carroll and questioned why he should take the blame given the party campaigned on a policy package endorsed by the shadow cabinet.
He also pointed to publicly available polling which showed Labor in front before and during the campaign.
Labor's final internal track poll showed it was neck and neck with the Coalition in key seats, suggesting undecided voters swung the election the Coalition's way in the final 24 hours to polling day.
"Why should he be the scapegoat for the campaign? We all signed up for this," Senator Farrell said.
Mr Carroll, a member of the party's powerful right faction, was appointed national secretary in 2016 after five years as the state secretary of the party's Victorian branch. He ran the 2014 Victorian state election campaign which saw Dan Andrews elected premier after just one term in opposition.
Labor insiders said the party's internal polling showed it was at 50-50 with the Coalition in the key NSW seats of Reid and Gilmore throughout the campaign and that it was possible it would retain Lindsay.
Labor lost Lindsay, failed to pick up Reid but was successful in Gilmore.
The polling also indicated the party's national support was being dragged by its vote in Queensland when there was actually a nationwide swing in play.
One source present in Mr Carroll's briefings rubbished the lack of interpretive advice he was able to offer the campaign.
The source said he would provide highly technical breakdowns of polling data instead of providing informed political advice based on the results.
Others were critical that ads attacking the Coalition over climate change were not run until the final week of the campaign, well after millions of people had already voted.
"We didn't run a decent ad until the last week," said one campaign insider. "We also got outgunned on social [media]."
Former Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane, who oversaw the Liberal Party's victories in 2004 and 2013 but defeats in 2007 and 2010, was sympathetic to Mr Carroll.
"Being campaign director of a losing campaign I understand the pain and frustration that comes with that. Noah's a professional and did a good job in a clearly difficult campaign," Mr Loughnane said.
Two people are being named as potential successors to Mr Carroll. One is Samuel Rae, Mr Carroll's successor as state secretary of the Victorian Labor Party who ran Daniel Andrews' successful campaign last year. The other is Paul Erickson who ran the party's marginal seats campaign in the federal election.
Mr Carroll did not respond to attempts to contact him.
- SMH/The Age