Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in NSW

Newspoll has released a survey of New South Wales state voting intention, showing Labor pulling ahead to a narrow two-party lead in March-April after the parties were locked together on 50-50 in January-March. However, the headline figure is Morris Iemma’s satisfaction rating of 28 per cent, which is the lowest recorded for a Premier of New South Wales since Newspoll began in 1985 (compare it with Brendan Nelson’s current rating of 38 per cent). This has transferred directly to his dissatisfaction rating, up from 52 per cent to 56 per cent. However, Iemma still retains a narrow lead over Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell as preferred premier, of 36 per cent to 33 per cent. The Coalition has maintained a lead on the primary vote, of 38 per cent of 35 per cent. The Greens account for most of the balance, being on 14 per cent compared with 9.0 per cent at the March 2007 election. This is the first poll conducted entirely after the Wollongong City Council scandal became known to the public.

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.

67 comments on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor in NSW”

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  1. Oh, and looking at Council-wide results wont work – Dover Heights in Waverley Council is strongly Liberal (and in Vaucluse state electorate), just as South & central wards in Randwick are strongly ALP (and in the Maroubra seat). looking at ward results might provide a better ‘feel’ for what might happen.

  2. Maybe if this high Green vote continues then they could have a seat or two and therefore a leader in the Legislative Assembly. That would mean more profile and a chance at a share of the balance of power.

  3. Stewart J, everything you say about Coogee is correct, except I’ve been writting the same thing about Coogee at every election since 1991 and it has stubbornly refused budge out of the Labor camp. Already at the 1991 census, Coogee had the highest proportion of high-income earners of any Labor-held seat. Admittedly, the bad Liberal results in 1988 and 1991 owed a lot to the factional wars that saw local Liberal branches dominated by the far-right. The Liberal Party had control of Waverley Council for a period in the 1980s, so those factional wars were well known to the public and damaged the Liberal cause.

    In 1988 and 1995 they stood Margaret Martin, a Randwick Councillor. They were wrong to stand Allan Andrew in 1991, him being MP for Heathcote and forced to move across the city. In 1999, they stood Kevin Junee, a dual rugby international, admittedly at an election where the LIBs got thumped. In 2003 it was David McBride, son of William McBride, a barrister, ex-UK SAS officer, documentary maker and explorer, though he had also unfortunately been a Labor Party member till 2 years earlier. And in 2007 they stood Jonathan Flegg.

    As I said, nothing the Libs have done in Coogee for two decades has worked. Where the LIBs need to be active now is where the marginal seats are, Sutherland Shire and The Entrance. They need to be hammering Penrith, and Camden, and working out links with conservative Independents in the Hunter. Hammer the areas where the public is sick and tired of the government. Stick to the bigger issues and let the Greens hammer Labor on local issues in Coogee and run a campaign that aims to garner some of this local anger.

    And remember, anything the Liberals do now will be swamped in 2010 by the run up to the Federal election, which will probably be some time in October, before Victoria at the end of November. So you can count on 6 months where the Federal Liberals will run negative against state Labor Iemma, but the state Liberals will be invisible. I’m afraid you won’t hear much positive from the state Liberals till after the Federal election, as no one will remember any positive message put out now by the time the Federal Libs have finished running against the state Labor government.

  4. @52
    Indeed the Rudd-haters are spitting chips, if the comments are anything to go by. They must be feeling more and more marginalized with each passing day.

  5. “Indeed the Rudd-haters are spitting chips”

    They have been hit twice recently Meng.

    Howard did not get the knighthood that was so sought after, it went instead to a lord chamberlain and a lord liutenant, whatever those blokes do they were obviously considered better people for the knighthood than Howard.

    And then a short while later Rudd gets international recognition through the Time magazine.

    It must hurt, I feel their pain.

  6. Antony, having sat on a booth with a local Lib campaigner, and had to listen to him complain about the party putting nothing into Coogee, I’m sure that even a moderately funded campaign could pay dividends. Flegg was also perceived as a Queenslander and not local. But you are right – like Wentworth, Coogee has a long history of just not moving. But I personally think that a better gauge of its likely move is to be found not with its high income earners, but their professions of those earners. Just as Balmain, Marrickville, Heffron and Vaucluse now see sizable Green votes, this is where you find inner-urban professionals living and working. If you want to a post-materialist viewpoint, these are the people who are comfortable enough, and educated enough, to be now considering issues beyond their hip pockets. I note that Keneally in Heffrom won 56% on primary, but a bad election could change that – with the Greens on 19% and the Libs on 21%, preferences could become very interesting.

    So, you are of course right, in that the election will be won and lost in the outer-urban and regional-urban seats on the Central Coast, but the shift in voting in the inner-city and east could open up new possibilities for both Libs and Greens – if they are prepared to grasp them.

  7. It is fascinating to note the evolution of the old Sydney middle-class seats, look at Strathfield & Drummoyne going opposite ways; NESBs vs. Anglo water front yuppies? Question for Greens is whether they can go beyond an appeal to left-wing Labor voters to an appeal to disillusioned Labor voters more generally as the Democrats once did. Does their increasing vote suggest this? NSW is so socially diverse that different political systems emerge in different regions. Labor’s collapse in rural NSW created a political vacuum that the independents filled.

  8. It is the rise in the Green vote which is the reason why the Liberals will be doubtful at throwing money at Coogee. It seems that gentrification in the inner-city of Sydney, which is causing a huge lift in average incomes in traditionally Labor suburbs, results in a rise in Green vote rather than Liberal vote. The Coogee problem for the Liberals is voters deserting Labor for the Greens rather than the Liberals. But, with optional preferential voting, a ding-dong battle between labor and the Greens in Coogee could benefit the Liberals with the highest primary vote.

    As for Heffron, if the Greens have their heads screwed on, they will contest Botany Bay Council rather than leave the Hoenig Labor team to have another walkover. Botany Bay Council is the only Sydney council that doesn’t use Proportional Representation. But it was also the Heffron booths in Botany Bay where the Greens got less than 10% in 2007, where their vote was above 30% in the more gentrified areas from Erskineville through St Peters and Alexandria to parts of Redfern.

    It’s the same pattern in Marrickville. The Green vote dominates around Newtown, but areas in the west of the electorate that have not been less gentrified see Labor still dominating over the Greens.

    It will be interesting to see how Marrickville Council goes in September. Labor lost control because of a botched attempt to gerrymander the ward boundaries. Labor had the highest vote, but the Greens got more seats.

  9. In respect of Botany Council – if the ALP let through the changes to the LG Act this may yet change, but it all hinges on them accepting an LC amendment on having elections within 12 months of sacking a Council – this Govt has a like for long periods of administration under Govt-appointed (and potentially compliant) Administrators…

    And yes the Greens should run in Botany…finding candidates may be the issue of course, as less than 10% means its a tough area to find good candidates to stand as a Green!

  10. Also remember that, unlike state and federal, you actually have to live in a council area to run in the area. But it’s true that Botany stands out amongst the councils on the inner sydney peninsula, the other six councils nearby have all had Green mayors or deputy mayors: Sydney, Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick, Leichhardt and Marrickville.

    But I don’t know Botany council area that well. Is it really demographically similar to the councils around it? I know a lot of its territory is covered by the port and the airport, but is it’s population undergoing the same gentrification as those around it?

  11. Since council elections have been raised again, I might mention again that it might be good to have an open local council thread. Sure, it’s not reasonable to expect William to stay on top of all the councils up for the election this year (all of NSW and Victoria, over 50% of Australia), but so many people on here would have knowledge about their local council that I reckon it would be really informative.

  12. Iemma grows some, as Colbert would say, either that or he watched Andrew Bolt suggest he stands up against the unionista and goes ahead with the power privatisation.

    Gotta say, he didn’t have much choice.

  13. For those still interested, here’s the final 3 pars from the SMH this morning:

    “In the end Mr Costa took to the stage on Saturday. His arms were flailing, his voice rising. On ABC TV yesterday it was referred to as a “Mussolini-like” performance. The vote went 702 votes to 107 against him.

    “Just before the negotiations ended, Mr Tripodi, outside the meeting room, turned to the assembled unionists and said: “We’re dead, anyway.”

    “Asked whether Mr Tripodi was referring to the union or the Government, a union source said: “I think he meant the whole shebang, the conference, the party, the lot.”

    Gotta love “Mussolini-like performance” and Tripodi’s commentary on the NSW ALP…

  14. Wrt Coogee

    I wonder if a portion of the inner city, affluent Green vote is actually due to Liberal voters who vote tactically against Labor. They know the Liberals can’t win, and the party puts zero effort into these seats, so register their anti-Labor protest in this manner.

    I’m thinking of Wenworth at the last election where the Liberals got a substantial hike in their vote around Darlinghurst and Paddington which were previously in ultra-safe Sydney. Clearly, when the party actively campaigned and gave them a genuine option, they were prepared to vote Liberal. It’s possible that areas like Randwick, Clovelly, Bondi and Coogee could see a similar shift if the party got its act together.

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