Verdicts in

Two polls today point to a clear Labor victory in New South Wales, but differ in their extent: ACNielsen has it at 56-44 in the Sydney Morning Herald, while it’s 53-47 in the Daily Telegraph‘s Galaxy poll. ACNielsen might have more value as a brand name, but a good word should be put in for Galaxy, which has performed extremely well on each of its three previous entries:

Federal 39 46 37.6 46.7
Queensland 48 38 46.9 37.9
Victoria 42 39 43.1 39.6

Both agencies took advantage of the public mood of disaffection by asking respondents if they thought either side deserved to win, knowing full well the response they would receive. According to Galaxy, 59 per cent said Labor did not deserve to win against 67 per cent for the Coalition; ACNielsen encountered a slightly more contended sample, with figures of 52 per cent and 57 per cent. It’s also interesting to note that both polls indicate a solid increase in the non-major party vote, both compared with 2003 and polls from the start of the campaign. The sense of disenchantment is echoed in each of of the major newspapers’ editorials, although most have given reluctant backing to the Coalition; the exceptions are the Sun-Herald, which alone backed Labor, and the Financial Review, which vaguely indicated a preference for the Coalition without providing an explicit endorsement:

Sydney Morning Herald: "As the Opposition Leader, Peter Debnam has run a disappointing campaign … Yet on the Coalition benches sits a core of talent that could form the nucleus of a good government. In Victoria, Steve Bracks came to power with a similarly small pool of front-bench talent to draw on. By concentrating power in that restricted group, his Labor Government was able to run that state effectively – to the point where, with fewer natural endowments its economy now outperforms NSW. Given the same opportunity, the Coalition could be expected to do the same here. As for inexperience – the argument has no force. In any democracy it stands to reason that a new government will be less experienced than the one it replaces. So what? In any case, Labor’s experience of government has been of repeated and widespread failure. Its supposed experience should be seen, if anything, as a liability. Labor’s best talent resigned soon after Bob Carr. When Michael Egan, Craig Knowles and Andrew Refshauge also quit the scene, Labor lost its edge in ability. Labor and the Coalition now face each other as equals in talent. It is, we admit, an uninspiring choice for voters, but when they enter the ballot box a choice must be made. As voters look from Labor after 12 years – tired, talentless and arrogant – to the Coalition’s untried and patchy team, they must assess the risks each represents. We believe the re-election of Labor is simply one risk too many".

Daily Telegraph: "It’s hard to envisage a more tired, rotten, arrogant, useless government than this lot. Equally, it’s hard to remember a worse campaign than that run by the tragi-comic NSW Liberals and their Speedo-clad leader, who decided five weeks ago to unleash himself on the voters without any pants on … However, today The Daily Telegraph recommends a vote for the Liberals. We happily endorsed Labor in 1999, with qualifications in 2003, but we cannot do so again – at the state level – this time. Labor has now shown it is a demonstrably bad Government – an irretrievably bad Government – with a talent pool shallower than our parched rivers, incapable of becoming a force for genuine good regardless of its future configuration. They simply do not deserve another four years. There is a chance that, despite the misgivings over his campaign methods and past judgment, that Peter Debnam and the Liberals could, in power, deliver a break with the drift and paralysis which mars this current Labor administration, and become a new, fresh, good government.".

The Australian: "The choice that presents itself to voters going into the polling booths tomorrow is not an enviable one. On the one hand incumbent Morris Iemma looks likely to fall over the line by running not just against his opponent but, cynically, against his Labor predecessor Bob Carr as well. On the other is Peter Debnam, a man who should be in the box seat but who has been unable to bring excitement, or policy, to the table … Despite the wealth of ammunition available to it, the Opposition has not been able to push even the most simple message, that the NSW Labor Government has passed its use-by date. But this is clearly the case. At the previous election, we endorsed Labor before the full extent of the state’s woes was known. In hindsight, voters were entitled to feel ripped off at the result. This time we recommend voters suspend their natural suspicion of Mr Debnam and punish the Government. We do so in the full knowledge that it won’t happen and that NSW will wake up on Sunday to the same horror it has today".

Australian Financial Review. "The Labor governments of Morris Iemma and Bob Carr before him have mishandled every important aspect of economic policy under their control, squandering the ‘premier state’ inheritance that fell into Mr Carr’s lap when Labor won government 12 long years ago. Twelve years of autopilot have left NSW with the slowest growth in the country for the past two fiscal years and the slowest growth of any state for the past eight years. Thousands of train passengers were stranded in peak hour in the middle of Sydney Harbour Bridge last week, hospitals and schools are crumbling, NSW has been, with Queensland, the worst manager of water resources, and its bizarre approach to energy markets and privatisation has frustrated the development of an efficient national electricity market. The roads system makes extensive use of private capital but the process has been poorly planned and managed … If the opposition were vaguely competent, Labor would be voted out tomorrow. Sadly the opposition Liberal Party and its leader, Peter Debnam, do not appear to be even vaguely competent. The party is riven by factionalism and in thrall to a right-wing cabal led by upper house MP David Clarke that prizes its own power above the party’s political success and has actively discouraged moderates such as former leader John Brogden. NSW voters are – perhaps understandably in the circumstances – showing themselves to be more forgiving than The Australian Financial Review".

Sunday Telegraph. "It’s impossible to document all of Labor’s failures here. We’ll list a few instead: the economy, land tax, the vendor tax, the Cross City Tunnel, Campbelltown Hospital, hospital waiting lists, everything to do with water, Milton Orkopoulos, Carl Scully, Stephen Chaytor, the Queen Mary 2 visit, trains, buses, school air-conditioning, police numbers, Cronulla riots, the M5 tunnel … Debnam hasn’t been able to sell himself as a viable alternative, and the electorate is right to be suspicious. His policies are wafer-thin, designed exclusively for seven-second television and radio news grabs … the Sunday Telegraph has agonised over the decision confronting voters, but believes a vote for change is necessary. The Coalition could hardly do any worse".

Sun-Herald. "Neither the Government nor the Opposition deserves to win next weekend’s state election. And no doubt many voters will find themselves struggling to put one side ahead of the other as they wait at polling booths on Saturday. The exercise of any real democratic choice seems almost impossible given that this is a two-party contest in which the ALP’s appalling track record is matched only by the Liberal Party’s abject failure to prove itself as a credible alternative … What Debnam has failed to show is that he can do any better on health, transport, education, the environment or service delivery. It has not helped that he’s been a lone voice – seemingly unsupported by a ministry that has remained in the shadows. The result is that the ALP, incredibly, looks to be the better option".

To tie up a few loose ends: five days ago, I promised that posts would be forthcoming summarising the main candidates for the upper house. Unfortunately I have not been able to fit this into my schedule. I will however take a punt on the outcome: nine seats for Labor, eight for the Coalition, two for the Greens, one for Fred Nile and one for Australians Against Further Immigration. The latter will benefit from a good position on the ballot paper, lower house candidates in most seats and the disappearance of One Nation and Pauline Hanson (who ran in 2003 as an independent); the three collectively accounted for 4.3 per cent of the vote in 2003, when 2.0 per cent was enough to win a seat for the Shooters Party. If I’m right, persistence will finally have paid off for the party’s perennial candidate, Janey Woodger. When taken together with ongoing members, this will put the numbers in the upper house at 19 for Labor, 15 for the Coalition (10 Liberal and five Nationals), four for the Greens, two for Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party and one each for the Shooters Party and Australians Against Further Immigration.

Finally, it’s worth noting that those of us outside the state will be getting a remarkably good deal in terms of election night coverage, provided we have pay TV. Not only will Sky News be providing its traditional coverage, but the ABC’s effort will also go to air nationally on ABC2. Failing that, there is also the ABC Radio coverage on News Radio and, best of all, live blogging here at Australia’s forty-fourth most loved political website.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

61 comments on “Verdicts in”

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  1. The newspaper editorials today are hardly a surprise.
    The Daily Telegraph has been running an anti-Labor campaign for months, and the Herald presumably had to atone for the sin of actually endorsing Bob Carr in 2003. The Print Media in New South Wales traditionally supports the conservative side of politics, and yet the ALP still wins elections.

  2. Evan I agree with what was said in all the newspaper, I voted for Carr and Egan up until the last state election, because they SEEMED to be doing a good job, but like how the editorial summed up.

    Iemma is the only good thing going for the government, none of the other ministers seems even remotely competant. It is a really sad state of affairs for NSW when there is no talent in both government and opposition.

    We know how incompetant the state government is, and Iemma as much as he tries to deny it, was a part of the Carr government. He now want more time than his 12 years to fix thing. This is a really really sad state of affairs in NSW

  3. I disagree Evan. It is a great surprise to me that the media has recommended a vote against Iemma. For weeks and months they have run a campaign highlighting every blunder of Debnam. Meanwhile, they have let the government get away with:
    1. An outrageous taxpayer funded advertising campaign on a “State Plan” which cost more in advertising than the plan itself.
    2. A sleazy ad campaign against Debnam’s record.
    3. Delaying the Lane Cove Tunnel opening (at a cost of tens of millions) so that it will happen after the election and not embarrass the government.

    This is palpably the worst government in NSW in living memory. The media’s last minute endorsement of Debnam will have no effect.

  4. Well, its good to see Galaxy and my predictions of earlier this week are aligned 53-47.

    Not a bad result, if it comes out like that we will have a competitive environment in NSW which is a good thing.

    I will be particularly watching for the outer West of Sydney and the Shire on Saturday. I think if the outer West backs Liberal (or stays close) in spite of the WorkChoices scare campaign you can pretty much call it for Howard in October.

    If the Liberals make ground up in Manly/Pittwater and the Shire we should have a reasonably competitive political position which will be good for the State.

    Will the Liberals keep Debnam if it comes out 53-47? Any views?

    Interesting to see if Iemma take the scalpel out to Cabinet, turnover of 50% – new faces etc. Will Watkins take the fall for Carmel Tebbut to be Deputy Premier?

    I’ve taken out a bit of insurance too, backed the ALP in Balmain at 1.45 odds and Drummoyne at 1.25 odds (which have since narrowed), I just couldnt bring myself to back the Libs in Miranda ( is Barry Collier really that popular?)

  5. Given past form, it’s hard to imagine Debnam surviving – the NSW Libs seem to like their blood sports. His main problem won’t be the 2PP vote, but how many seats he wins. If the Libs win less than 5-6 seats, Debnam is toast. Even half that amount looks beyond him, and it’s not inconceivable that the ALP will actually pick up a couple of seats.

    Even as a rusted on ALP man, I can see that a result like that would be bad for all concerned. It will make Labor even more complacent (I meand, if they can’t lose this election, when will they lose?), it will send the Libs into even more infighting, and it will State politics will be even more useless than usual.

  6. If Iemma wins, one hopes there is a thorough shakeup of his cabinet, Tripodi and the other deadwood goes, and talent like Linda Burney and Phil Koperburg gets promoted. If he wins Granville, David Borger is another guy I’d have in the ministry.

  7. My expectation was that the SMH would plump for the “none of the above” option. Like the paper did at the last federal election.

  8. Debnam will be gone in seconds even with a close win and then they need a replacement.
    Hmmm… Barry seems to have more sense than to go on the room-service/rubber chicken curcuit (who wan’t to put back on weight & I know about that!).
    I’d go for that nice lady from the south coast whose husband was in those home movies.
    Yep, they thought the people were filming a “documentary”.
    Did anyone on the clips on TV LOOK even a bit like David Attenborough?
    That’s the type of “looking on the good side of everyone” view the new Lib leader needs.

  9. This has to be a first. Almost all major newspapers are backing what will be the eventual loser. I’m predicting 55-45 with a net gain of 1 or 2 seats for the coalition. O’Farrell should become leader on Sunday. I wonder if, or should I say when, the O’Farrell story will be leaked by Labor or factional rivals….


    Tripodi will not go, Iemma owes him too much. He is also a business associate of Pat Sergi, “alleged” Griffith mafia boss. Ask anyone is Sydney’s Calabrian community about him.

  10. I’m trying to recall the last state opposition leader of any party who suffered a bad election loss and survived to fight another election. Kennett surviving from 1985 to 1988 is my best guess.

  11. Ahh, four more years of hard Labor..

    At the end of the day, it came down to who had the most money, to assist in the campaigning.

  12. The 1985 state election in Victoria saw the Liberal win seats from Labor and it was a fairly close result. Kennett survived as opposition leader probably because of it.

  13. In NSW I think you would have to go back to Bob “think of the money we will make” Askin in 1962. But as he said “I was elected party leader because no one else wanted the job”

  14. The ‘who had the most money’ line doesn’t really work– the incumbent will always have more money, particularly while no-one is principled enough to outlaw ‘Government advertising’ that amounts to soft-propaganda for the ruling party. It constitutes one of the reasons why, Australia-wide, incumbents win more often than not; but if it were a guarantee, incumbents would never be defeated.

    Could someone please call a moratorium on the ‘hard Labor’ pun? Dilemma, Mini Morris, the Carr Crash, whatever other disparaging play on words leaps to mind… but for gawsakes, not ‘hard Labor’ for the millionth time.

    Hugo is dead right: statewide 2PP is only of interest to those who want a one-line snapshot of which party is liked more (or disliked less). I don’t think the knowledge that he got 51% 2PP in 1998 made Beazley feel much better. In terms of Debnam’s survival, it’s all about seats.

    Or would be, if he didn’t already have the smell of death about him. Even a stunning result of winning 38 seats might only be enough to give him a 12 month or so stay of execution; if most of his colleagues are satisfied that he doesn’t have the personal appeal to ever become Premier (and on this campaign, there’s evidence for that conclusion), you’d think they’ll turf him well before 2011.

    PS Very disappointing that both the SMH and Tele in effect said that neither Labor nor the Libs are deserving of readers’ votes… but then felt obliged to tell readers to vote for one of them anyway. Do they not realise that there are other parties? Are they not aware that we can cast a valid vote without preferencing either Liberal or Labor? It’s that kind of lazy thinking (‘if it’s not A, it must be B’) that perpetuates a boring, staid 2-party system where the major parties have little incentive to lift their game, and little or no meaningful debate ever occurs in the Legislative Assembly.

  15. I agree with everything the paper’s said. The NSW state government is the worst in all of Australia. It is repugnant in every way. Iemma is the only decent character among him and his strange run for office as a quasi-indpendent must be an Australia-first!

    I am predicting a slightly closer result than the polls. I predict Labor to lose Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Swansea and Maitland to independents. I think the Liberals will gain Menai, The Entrance, Camden, Woolondilly and Penrith from Labor. I think they will gain Manly from David Barr. I think the Nationals will win Tweed and Monaro from Labor, win Dubbo from independent Dawn Fardell, and play a very close game in Tamworth, perhaps winning this seat as well. I think they will retain the notional Nationals seat of Murray-Darling.

    It is often said that the recommendations of the press aren’t heeded, but surely a mass desertion of media support as has happened today in NSW, will make some sort of difference. In the 1992 UK General Election ‘The Sun’ claims that their vicious attack on the Labor opposition resulted in a win for the Conservative government. The press can have an influence.

  16. Ah, also meant to take a punt on the LC: Very hard, almost impossible, to fault your first 20, William. The coalition have surely got to get enough votes to guarantee 8 spots, and it’s hard to see Labor getting more than 9. Then barring shocks, the Greens 2 and Fred Nile 1 should also be certainties.

    You can absolutely raffle the last slot. There are arguments for any one of about 5 parties (even Our Dawn might have the support, but has been sunk by being ungrouped). I would love to see ACE (Dems) get back in, because he’s not just twistin’ his own melon when he describes himself as ‘the hardest working rep in the upper house’ (admittedly, the competition up there ain’t exactly sparkling); but wishing don’t make it so. Toss a coin: Fishing Party (just ‘cos of their spot on the ballot)?

  17. “Iemma is the only decent character among him and his strange run for office as a quasi-indpendent must be an Australia-first!”

    Don’t forget that Beattie won the 2004 Qld election by campaigning against his own party…

  18. Edward StJohn Says: March 23rd, 2007 at 9:10 am
    “Well, its good to see Galaxy and my predictions of earlier this week are aligned 53-47.
    Not a bad result, if it comes out like that we will have a competitive environment in NSW which is a good thing.
    I will be particularly watching for the outer West of Sydney and the Shire on Saturday. I think if the outer West backs Liberal (or stays close) in spite of the WorkChoices scare campaign you can pretty much call it for Howard in October.”
    Just a couple of points Edward – a) If those figures hold for the election, according to the report accompanying this poll, Labor will have much the same majority they have now. Wow, what a great result for the conservatives. b) It is really a big call to suggest Howard will be returned on the basis of one area in a NSW election going a particular way. Are you saying if the outer West goes against the state Liberals you can right off Howard? Doesn’t the rest of NSW and Australia count? The Libs have awful problems in Qld.

  19. Gary, I say on your points:

    53-47 is not going to be uniform, if that’s the figure there will be bigger swings elsewhere, Miranda, Menai, Dubbo, Tamworth, Penrith, Pittwater, Manly, Murray-Darling and so on should be in play. If you check Centrebet many odds are tightening even as I type. There are a number of seats which are 60-40 odds to the ALP at the moment – not out of the realm of possiblity that these could fall.

    I think those who promote the no change at 53-47 scenario are pendulum obsessives like Hugo/Adam, swings werent uniform in 2003 either.

    On your second point, the Howard battlers which in NSW are your outer western sydney tradesman type voter are the people who supposedly have been turned off the rodent by workchoices. If WChoices is the silver bullet election changer you would expect they would all vote ALP in a campaign which has run an almighty scare about W/Choices without a response from Team Debnam (ie swings to the ALP in Camden and Wollondilly or a lower than state wide Lib swing). That region is not dissimilar to your “Connect East” seats in Vic or the Qld marginals. Having said that the Libs probably will drop in QLD (hard to better the existing figures) but 16 seats worth of drops – I don’t think so and dont forget WA may be a worry for the ALP. Bottom line any first term Federal government will have a majority of NSW seats and I suspect Heavy Kevvie will do a Whitlam a la 69′ close but not close enough setting himself up perfectly for 2010 with a bit of triangulation along the way.

  20. Edward, in your analysis you seem to forget that in NSW the government is badly on the nose. That surely must have somewhat of a dampening effect on the IR issue. The fact that the government will get back at all will be amazing – thankyou Mr Howard for the leg up. (Where has Howard and his attack dogs been in this election? Weren’t they going to make their presence felt?)
    Federally, the government is on the nose and they are the architects of these laws. So, given these two conditions there is no guarantee that just because the outer West votes one way this election that they will vote that way in the Federal election. To try and link the two to that degree is fraught with danger.

  21. ESJ, to state the obvious: of course swings aren’t uniform. But absent a particular reason why a seat is going to swing more than the average, the chances that Miranda, Menai, Penrith, Tweed, Monaro, Wollondilly etc will swing less than the average, are the same as the chances that they will swing more.

    Of course the odds are that the Libs will pick a seat or two off Labor on a 4% statewide average swing: but the chances of them picking up 6 seats, if they’re currently rated a 40% chance of winning each? You do the maths. Of course right now it’s about speculation based on likelihood, possibility and improbability; and if Labor had secured the same statewide vote in 2003, but had 6 seats each with margins of under 4%, the likely story would be different.

    Talking of statewide swings and statewide 2PPs is completely irrelevant to whether the coalition win back independent seats like Pittwater, Manly, Dubbo and Tamworth.

  22. Iemma will lose seats: the question is how many?
    My guess is that Labor loses Tweed, Camden, maybe Port Stephens, Newcastle(to an Independent).
    Kevin Rudd was in Newcastle today – a sign the ALP is worried about this seat.
    A Hung Parliament wouldn’t shock me, but I favour Labor to retain government in some form after March 24.

  23. I find the overt plea just released in the the SMH to be just abhorent. The media has always been the problem, now they are not even disguising their attempt to manipulate.

  24. GB,

    Maybe. Nielsen said the Workplace laws were a big issue.
    Secondly assume the opposite happens and the Libs go backwards – I assume the ACTU will be trumpeting it as a rejection of the laws.


    Swings will be different in regions not seats, eg Tweed wont be concerned about the cross city tunnel but tweed and clarence would both be concerned about development on the north coast.
    I disagree the strength of the conservative vote/commitment will influence independent votes/seats because much of the independent voter base are normally liberal coalition votes. This was certainly uncle’s experience when he had his moment in the sun in the 60’s.

  25. I’m actually predicting Labor to gain South Coast, but to lose Newcastle which maintains their 55 seat standing. The Coalition will regain Pittwater.

    Other than that, I can’t see much changing. David Barr will strengthen his hold on Manly due to the Green vote.

    As John Stirton from AC Nielson pointed out, before the 99 Victorian election, Bracks had managed to attain a 50% approval rating ofver the course of the campaign, whilst Debnam has actually gone backwards from 34-30%.

  26. Of course WorkChoices has been a big issue – why else would Team Iemma be hammering it so much? Every piece of evidence that I’ve seen (eg polling, focus groups, state elections) suggests that the IR laws are a big negative for the Coalition, be it Federal or State. The only rebuttal to that argument that I’ve seen has been the ESJ’s of the world saying “no, that’s not true, it’s all a scare campaign”.

  27. Will this be one of those rare events that disproves the adage: Oppositions don’t win elections, Government’s lose elections?

  28. Edward, the unions will rightly be trumpeting a rejection of the IR laws anyway. A tired, inept, unpopular government with more troubles than you can count, it seems, will be returned with a relatively low number of seat losses. This surely is a victory for the campaign and as you have said that campaign was largely against IR. It’s a dream scare campaign. Forget whether it is accurate or not. The fact is as scare campaigns go it is poison to the conservatives. If it can play a big part in saving this government imagine what it will do to the architects.

  29. Hugo from a partisan point of view it is a fantastic gift from the gods that Howard and his Howardettes can’t see how scarry IR is.

    They have lost the plot because union bashing was so successful on all levels including political level, that they don’t see this as any more than another assualt on the unions.

    Real workers don’t see it as an assault on unions at all – it is a nasty vicious assault on them, and that the Howardettes don’t see this distinction. Bit funny though that TT and A current affair see and understand something the political godds in the Libs don’t see.

  30. I think the “WorkChoices is biting” thesis will stand up in any event. The Iemma government is one that should lose pretty heavily, for all the reasons outlined here previously. Anything less than a Coalition landslide would suggest that Howard has handed Labor a lifeline with his much cherished IR ‘reform’. As the worst case scenario for Labor is the outside chance of a hung parliament, it looks like WorkChoices has already done its magic.

  31. I’ll confidently predict that the Liberals retain my local seat of Epping, but the current 7.7% margin is reduced a little.

  32. Monaro might be interesting – the national party candidate madew – has a strong family recognition in Queanbeyan – and makes a nice drop of wine to boot. He may be lucky not running as aLiberal but with the sort of sophistication that would make Liberal voters comfortable with him.

    Whan the ALP candidate has been running around trumpeting deliverables -three bus shelters in Bungendore no less.

    Best guess a reduced margin to the ALP in Monaro.

  33. Having just come off 5 hours of pre-polling in Coogee (formerly a close marginal and partially within the Fed seat of Wentworth) I can say that the issues mentioned today are: IR, health, aged care, public transport and climate change. Voters were asking about all these issues (and different aspects too – quite a few discussions regarding cycling). The distortion of the Greens drugs policy also came up, so the Telegraph has done its job well.

    I also noted that most voters had already made up their minds but seemed to be taking the HTV’s as a matter of courtesy not need. Also questions about the optional preferential system (as you’d expect) but this nearly always in the context of not wanting to preference either major party.

  34. Dave (and others), as someone with slightly more inside info than most, let me tell you the Nats have no hope in Monaro, Dubbo and Tamworth. If you think otherwise, suggest you get in touch with the bookies as the sort of odds they are offering on Nat wins in those seats would make you a nice little profit (if you are right). Same goes for The Entrance and Penrith.

    Everyone has had their fun with predictions. Any possible upsets on the way tomorrow night? And I’m not talking about the Liberals losing South Coast or the ALP losing seats on the Central Coast. I’m thinking more along the lines of major shocks like Oxley ’96, Ripon ’99 and Mildura last year. If I had to pick one, keep an eye on Russell Turner in Orange – I reckon he will go very close to getting rolled by Independent John Davis

  35. I’m in Ryde, and predict that Watkins will comfortably retain his seat. I think he’s been a pretty good MP, and rises above most of his colleagues in any criteria that come to mind.

    The Lib candidate Vic Tagg is quite electable, but unfortunately for him he’s up against Watkins. Tagg comes across as politically moderate, has done a good job as a local councillor, is a very decent bloke, and has been putting in some hard yards in grassroots campaigning. However, the NSW Libs are of course listing badly, and he’s had Howard on his flyers…

    Are the Federal Libs currently polling worse than the state Libs? If so, why do they have that Howard character “assisting” the State campaign? No, that wasn’t a serious question…

    Sorry, I can’t think of any minor party or independent candidates. Advertising from them hasn’t exactly been copious around my place.

  36. Chris from Edgecliff is right that Orange is a seat to watch. The local paper ( reports that someone has put $1500 on Davis to win. I believe Turner will survive because:
    1. He is not as popular as he used to be
    2. He is largely unknown outside the Orange end of the electorate (eg in Mudgee)
    3. He was formerly Mayor of Blayney and this part of the Electorate has been hived off.
    4. There have been stories about him being a Labour stooge and the local paper reported this week that he was in fact a former member of the ALP (despite Davis not being able to remember this)

  37. Polls have shown that about 25% of voters are angry at the IR laws. The Liberals are oblivious to this…their anti-union stance cuts them of from these angry voters.
    The poll showed that about half the angry voters.were people who normally voted Liberal,but are now really angry,having lost a good deal in the workplace agreements,
    Howard’s Battlers are on the move…left!..and the Liberals will pay a big price…this is not evident top the well paid “suits” who make jup the entourage of the Ministers and others in Canberra.
    Oddly it may also hit Debenham!
    Wait and see !

  38. Brian,

    But what is the proof that WorkChoices is a factor in tomorrow’s poll? What is the test that proves Hugo’s theorem, presumably a pro-Labor swing in Balmain/Marrickville or Sydney is not proof that WorkChoices cost the Libs the election?

    How will we know?

  39. Sadly, short of a survey of the AES kind tomorrow, I don’t think there is a proof, just anecdotal evidence. The real problem with taking comments from voters is that this is a self-selecting group. The people I have spoken to (or even overheard on public transport) are the ones who feel they are in a dilemma – vote ALP for bad government or vote Lib and be seen to support Howard on IR. The ones I have heard/spoken to are nominally ALP-leaning, but dissatisfied with the Carr/Iemma, they are the ones particularly receptive to the “Debnam=Howard=WorkChoices” advertising.

    So, I doubt there is a proof. Although maybe swings against the Libs in safe seats (working on the assumption that they can vote ALP there AND send a message to the Libs re WorkChoices)? I don’t know.

    Oh, and I don’t think Hugo is right with ‘anything less than a Coalition landslide’ thesis because the Lib campaign has been poor, the candidates pretty lacklustre, and I just don’t believe that Debnam has instilled any confidence in his ability to govern. Work Choices can act as a brake on any drift to the Libs from people fed up with Carr’s Government (thus comments heard like ‘I hate Bob carr, but Iemma’s at least trying’), so just retaining government at this stage could be seen as IR being that key issue.

    And FINALLY – as an after thought – I’ve been chatting to a few ALP/ALP-leaning people recently and they all think Watkins would make a better Premier than Iemma – he’s just from the wrong faction – what do others think?

  40. Work Choices is an issue, even Debnam campaign against it saying that he would keep the nurses on the state award.
    When the state liberal leader is campaigning against work choices I think voters have the idea that it is not popular

  41. Dave is missing the point with Port Stephens. The same Kiwi slut who authorised the ineffective ads and ran the poor campaign in Maitland in 2003 is doing the same job on the Liberal candidate in Port Stephens this year. While you may not see exactly the same size swing to the ALP, there will be one, none the less.

  42. On WorkChoices, 85% of the working population is already covered by the Federal system so whatever Debnam does is irrelevant.
    There are only 2 categories of people who are in the remnant State system who could be “handed over” to the Federal Government

    1: Those who work for a partnership or a sole trader (Not very many – maybe people working on a farm)

    2: Those who work for State Government.

    As I understand the Liberal policy was to hand over group 1. The essence of the Labor scare campaign which was brilliant was that somehow Debnam was going to hand over the 85% who are already under WorkChoices (and which the Liberals didnt refute)
    So all those people who are voting on WorkChoices tomorrow are voting on a false premise ie that there vote will actually have any impact whatsoever.

  43. I’m going to take a punt at the LC as well. My guess – and that it certainly is – is 8 Labor, 8 Liberal, 3 Greens, 1 CDP with the last seat a toss up between Dems, AAFI and the Climate Change Coalition, though if the latter gets up I’ll revise the Greens down to 2 and also rate the chances of Fishing, Shooters and especially AAFI much higher for the close last spot.

  44. Well I have to say that given the circumstances if what is predicted actually happens then Labor will have done very well.

    I personally believe the result will be much closer than is predicted. The biase of the daily terror and the SMH is unbelievable. It has been non stop and I think a perception of the State being in a much worse state than it actually is has been created.

    It will be interesting to see how this translates into voting tomorrow!!

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