Newspoll: 52-48 to Coalition in NSW

The latest bi-monthly New South Wales state Newspoll shows the Coalition maintaining its 52-48 lead, although Labor has recovered a point on the primary vote. Barry O’Farrell’s lead over Morris Iemma as preferred Premier is steady at 39-32, and his satisfaction rating is up three points to 40 per cent. Morris Iemma’s approval rating remains at a disastrous 26 per cent, although his disapproval is down three points to 60 per cent.

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.

133 comments on “Newspoll: 52-48 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. There is no doubt Labor are in trouble in NSW but it is a bit too early to be totally writing them off as the headline gleefully in the OO does – “Morris Iemma’s Labor dead in water” To me the figures show there is some hope (as explained in the last thread) if Iemma goes. I would agree with a headline that said “Morris Iemma is dead in water”.

  2. Labor under Iemma is toast no matter which way you slice the bread.

    Every qualitative metric has fallen over a cliff – the trends are making me wonder if the ALP in NSW is even paying attention, as it’s only a matter of time before the TPP vote collapses. In over 23 years of Newspolling, both Federal and States, no government has ever recovered from the position NSW Labor now finds itself in – even Howard in 2001 wasn’t this far behind.

    And the TPP vote is misleading – being behind 52/48 looks good compared to what it actually means with both OPV in NSW and the qual metrics running the way they are.

    Undecideds have broken against the Premier, and they dont come back.

  3. Anyone know what the average age of the NSW Cabinet is? They always look about the same if not worse than the Queensland Pineapple Party’s 49.1years to me.

  4. Labor’s 48% 2PP in NSW is imaginary. At 33% primary vote, Labor can’t win under optional preferential voting. There will be 25-30 seats that will not finish as Labor versus coalition contests. On those primary votes, the Coalition will win easily because Labor will be fighting wildfires in its own safe seats against Green and Independents.

    2PP analysis only works when then are two clear major parties in the overwhelming majority of seats. If minor party vote gets above 25%, you get too many seats where a major party candidate is eliminated, so you can’t get a statewide 2PP which is anything other than a book-keeping entry that allows you to order seats. This is even more the case where optional preferential voting is used, as in NSW.

    On those primary votes, there will be a string of safe Labor seats where the Liberals will run dead and be lucky to poll double figures. But there will be many many more of them than in 2007, while I would expect there to be less Coalition seats under threat from Independents.

    Tick off Greens or Independents winning Balmain, Marrickville, any Hunter or Illawarra seat you choose to pick, and try and figure out how Labor can possibly end up with more seats than the Coalition on those figures.

  5. Possum @3. Your analysis did not surprise me at all. There is ineffective leadership with Morrie (a decent guy yet a classic example of a person who has risen above the level of his own competence) but there is also a broader perception in New South Wales of a hapless, helpless and hopeless government which has been there too long, and which no amount of leadership rearranging will fix.

  6. By contrast the average age of the members of the Queensland cabinet is in the low forties but some female Ministers don’t disclose their age.

  7. NSW Labor have noone else. I suspect they will hold on til the last possible date. Doubt there’ll be much need for a leadership change in the NSW Libs anymore so they can’t expect any party infighting in the Libs to help them out. On the contrary Labor may have some embarassing fights as they panic.

  8. I went to sleep thinking the 2PP Club and the “Big Boys” would rule forever.

    I woke up (like others) to see:-

    “only a matter of time before the TPP vote collapses”

    “Labor’s 48% 2PP in NSW is imaginary”

    written by a couple of the greatest minds in the political field.

    I’m very happy to see some people are paying attention.

    Lets dream that the MSM wakes up to the fact that
    The Greens are a major factor in Australian elections.

  9. The beauty of democracy. Sooner or later all governments get on the nose and they get turfed out for a period of renewal while some other mob have a go.

    A hypothesis would be that urban problems grow at geometric rates when urban populations grow at arithmatic rates and that the incumbents have failed to address that challenge.

  10. Optional preferential voting was introduced by normal legislation in 1980, but entrenched in the constitution. It can now only be removed by referendum.

  11. I recommend Iemma and Co stop wearing panama hats, black glasses, black shirt, thin white tie and white shoes and put those violin cases away.

    They of course need a dramatic shake up and change in people and policy. As is they haven’t known for a while?

  12. I suspect a lot of Green voters are so uninspired with Labor they are likely to vote 1 only and not bother with preferences. Labor’s best hope would be to highlight the social conservatism of the NSW Libs to hold this constituency. But overall it’s 1988 all over again. Iemma personally is reasonably competent but the govt is dragged by the legacy of Carr’s short-termism on infrastructure and the deadwood of the NSW right, maybe all the bright Labor right-wingers are off in the corporate sector making mega $$.

  13. Three years is a long time. If I were a betting man I’d say Labor is gone but I’m not prepared to say it is totally over yet. On these figures Labor wouldn’t win according to those in the know and they’re right obviously. It’s a matter of if these will be the figures in 3 years time. That’s all I’m saying.

  14. For Labor to survive in NSW, they need to dump Iemma for someone new. As highlighted above, the problem is that there does not seem to be anyone decent around.

    However, one option for the NSW Labor party is to do a “Iemma” and pick some random non-entity minister (much like Iemma was when Carr retired) who has done reasonably well in their portfolio (this criteria would narrow the field considerably 🙂 ) and elevate him (or her) to the Premier-ship.

    Hence, the recent calls for Nathan Rees. I’m sure there are others like him lurking in the multitude of Labor seats in Western Sydney…

  15. Labor, in its present set up will lose the next election but they have nothing to lose by trying tyros if need be. If you’re going to lose don’t do it by doing nothing.
    Not only change those at he top but buy the electorate, do a Howard, it worked for him for years. It probably won’t work but there is no use going on as is and copping a pasting.

  16. Bet on the Federal Coalition running against state Labor in the next Federal campaign, after which the state Coalition can start to give a more positive picture of their own plans.

  17. Another line dropped into the water by ESJ. I knew I could bring him out again.
    Must be lunch break. That bell must be going soon.

  18. Actually, I do think voters can distinguish between state and federal politics. But I hardly think that the image of the state Labor government is going to be improved by the next Federal election campaign.

  19. Antony @ 24

    Have you got a view on if labour in at the fed level then out in the states/territory level, and, for liberals, vice versa?

    Mackerras has indicated that he holds to this view.

    A blogger in another thread did some figures for WA, since I think 1948, which showed that there was a 70% probability that if labour was in government at federal then it would hold government at state level.

  20. re: 15
    “Labor’s best hope would be to highlight the social conservatism of the NSW Libs to hold this constituency.”

    As opposed to the social conservatism of the NSW Labor Party who are absolutely in no way progressive, and aren’t going to get my vote because of some myth they’re “slightly better” on things like the environment, socially progressive issues, public transport etc. They’re not.

  21. #22

    1990 was a good example of an election where federal Labor was both punished and rewarded in different states depending on the performance of the various state governments. They were hammered in Victoria in the middle of the Cain/Kirner fiasco, but did very well in Qld with the new, popular Goss government in power. 1993 was a bit the same with states swinging both ways. So it does happen.

  22. Chairman Mo should initiate a “mid-term” election and call 7 or 8 by-elections in seats the ALP is likely to lose, thereby handing the poisoned chalice of minority government to the un-ready O’Barrel and the downright evil right-wing of the NSW Liberal Party.

    Seriously though…

    Rudd, Faulkner & Co. are surely growing uneasy about the antics of Tripodi, Meagher, Sartor, Costa, Della Bosca et al.

    Mo & Co. need to be bashed about the head.

    In hindsight, Mo was a dreadful choice to replace Carr.

    Where’s Carl Scully when you need him?

  23. 23 David – don’t read them David.
    ESJ likes to snipe rather than argue a case. If he wants to debate me properly I’d be delighted but a 15 yo schoolboy could do what he does.
    Who knows what the state government will do in the next 3 years. I’ll say it again they probably will get done but it is 3 years away. Who knows what will happen? Writing them off totally now is a little silly IMHO, no matter what the Federal Libs (whose situation we’re yet to be certain of) will do.

  24. My view is that it depends. Clearly sometimes it matters, at other times it doesn’t. When is voting at the two levels causally linked and when is it coincedentally linked? In 1976, Neville Wran struggled to win a state election in NSW because of the Whitlam legacy. In 1978 and 1981, he won thumping victories in results that had no relationship whatsoever with the 1977 and 1980 Federal elections. Clearly there was a relationship in 1975-6, but not 1978-81.

    It’s the old glass half full/half empty argument. Yes there is a relationship, but at other times there isn’t a relationship. There is likely to be swings against state Labor government in the next year or two. Is that because there is now a Federal Labor government, or because most of those state governments are coming off high votes?

    A 70% probability means that in 30% of cases there isn’t a relationship. Of the next 6 state and territory elections, 4 will have some Federal relationship, and two won’t. With 70% probability, I’d reckon looking at each election on a case by case basis is a better way to asses the matter than applying a standard rule.

  25. I think some people can differentiate between state and federal, but not all.

    The Iemma government was only elected at the last election based on 3 factor
    a. Howard Government
    b. Iemma saying he will make a difference
    c. the inept opposition leader

    So i think the Federal tired Howard government had a role in Iemma’s re-election.

    The problem with the NSW ALP is that
    a. since Iemma had done nothing since the election on Hospital/infrastructure/transport etc, another premier is not going to do them any good.
    b. Since the Labor government have preferred to use money to produce “Spin” rather than to use money to fix hospital/infrastructure/transport etc. People are turned off from the ALP and the ALP no longer have the budget to build the hospiral/infrastructure/transport

    The only way the NSW ALP to survive is to cut cost, spend the money on infrastructure, without going into budget deficit or increasing state debt. That would get the people of NSW to notice

    The price of Spin Bob Carr created this Carr wreck for NSW. Labor is going to pay for it, kind of similar to Howard and federal Liberal.

  26. Of course, it’s worth remembering that the Federal Coalition tried to run against state Labor governments (in almost all the states) in last year’s election and it didn’t help them at all.

    So I doubt it would work particularly well in 2010 (or whenever the next Fed election), unless things continue to get worse for state Labor governments (which could happen…)

    As for the 1990 comparison, it is worth remembering that the state ALP government in Victoria almost bankrupted the state with the failure of the State Bank. Whilst Iemma has been pretty terrible as a Premier, I doubt his failures will ever reach those levels (and have the same effect on federal politics)…

  27. Antony @ 30

    Thank you.

    BTW, I made a mistake in my original posting. The blogger who did the stats on fed/state probabilities and came up with 70%, did it for WA alone and not for all states/territories.

  28. “b. Since the Labor government have preferred to use money to produce “Spin” rather than to use money to fix hospital/infrastructure/transport etc. People are turned off from the ALP and the ALP no longer have the budget to build the hospiral/infrastructure/transport”. I really don’t buy this point of your argument. Sleeze or the perception of sleeze will turn people off more than anything and this government has had more than it’s fair share of that rather than an over abundance of spin. All governments spin.
    I do agree with the spending of money on the areas that count but a new leader would also do them the world of good. Changes and big ones need to occur for them to have any chance.

  29. I was wopndering about that. Over the last few decades, WA has the highest incidence of the same party being in government at state and federal level, while NSW has the lowest, which is odd given state identity would be much higher in WA than NSW.

  30. Does the WA election result mean that the ALP has a buffer of 4 seats, depending also how the independents go? Oh oo? Looks like trouble to me

  31. Lots of crystal ball gazing going on. 🙂

    The last NSW election is generally accepted as a LNP loss against an on the nose Govt.

    Never underestimate the Liberal Parties brilliance at turning a winning position into a defeat.

  32. The length of time that parties overlap in government at state and federal levels is not surprising considering the lack of turnover at federal level in some states. In NSW, the state ALP (elected in 1941) had to cohabit with the Menzies government through to 1965, unlike other states the Libs (Nick Greiner) were in office for a substantial period of the Hawke Keating era. In QLD the CP/ Nats sat right across the last 15 years of conservative rule plus all the Fraser years.

    When it comes to the number of occurences, SA comes out the winner (since 1945) with 7, followed by WA on 6 and the rest on 5 (Victoria counted since 1952 only – before that it just too hard). SA comes out the winner as it has more one term governments than the others.

  33. Does anyone think that Iemma’s determination to privatise electricity in NSW is a factor in his government’s loss of support?

  34. “The last NSW election is generally accepted as a LNP loss against an on the nose Govt.”

    Work Choices helped in NSW and QLD, Pru said it was worth at least 5% and NSW and QLD premiers said it was a big factor.

    As well as costing Howard government Work Choices kept labor in in NSW and helped them keep a healthy margin in QLD.

  35. 41 Darn – The only thing I would say about that is why would someone critical of the electricity decision turn to an opposition that is also in favour of privatising electricity? If anything they would turn to parties against it. Maybe they have but how do you determine who has and who hasn’t?
    I believe it’s the sleeze factor personally. People can wear a lot of things but sleeze, corruption call it what you will, that is a different story.

  36. Gary Bruce @ 43

    Spot on. They are on the nose. Administration of NSW needs a big clean up.

    The only thing that could save them is a public outbreak of right wing religious mania in the Opposition. Unlikely, but the ground work has been laid.

  37. Gary B,

    You clearly called for bribery in your earlier post.

    The NSW Government is in trouble because of its absolute capitulation to is public sector union base. Essentially the NSW Government excessively taxes wealth creators not to provide services but to featherbed union numbers. Costa and Iemma to their credit finally decided to take this on with electricity privatisation.

    The dovif prescription is the correct one – the suggestion that a change of face will do the trick is facile.

  38. 45 Edward – I stand by my suggestions made earlier. Governments bribe electorates on a regular basis. Howard was a past master at it and it worked for most elections. You may be right about a change of face not working but all I’m saying is if what is being done is not working changes have to be made. Am I wrong? A government in trouble has nothing to lose by making the changes I suggested. I really don’t see why that is so unreasonable.

  39. Is there any substance behind the Libs in NSW?

    I’ve heard of Farrell. Who is the hard man (or woman) that will deliver the reforms?

    How does Mr and mrs. Dubbo think about the Government?

  40. GG you’ve hit the nail on the head. Given the disaster which is the NSW government the real question is why are the Libs not further ahead? It is a very shallow talent pool in the NSW Libs.

    Time to move to North Queensland?

  41. ESJ 48

    Without wanting to sound too unkind the talent pool of liberals all round Australia seems very shallow to me. Can anyone suggest any really bright lights among them?

  42. Darn, more to the point the talent pool is shallow in most parliaments irrespective of party.

    Really strip away the supportive cocoon of a bureacracy and not many mp’s come up to good.

    The parliaments of Australia – especially the Labor side is made up of people who couldnt cut it in the private sector.

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