Newspoll: 59-41 to Coalition in NSW

The latest bi-monthly Newspoll survey of state voting intention in New South Wales is nothing short of a catastrophe for Nathan Rees’s government. In the wake of last month’s mini-budget, which cut against the federal government’s economic strategy with a range of tax hikes and spending cuts, Labor’s primary vote has slumped to 26 per cent from 29 per cent in the last survey – which was itself the worst Newspoll result ever recorded by either major party in New South Wales if the Liberals and Nationals are taken together. Rees’s relatively encouraging personal ratings from the previous survey have evaporated: his dissatisfaction rating has rocketed from 26 per cent to 47 per cent, while his satisfaction is down five points to 34 per cent. Barry O’Farrell now leads as preferred premier, though not by a sufficient margin (33 per cent to 30 per cent) to douse talk about Joe Hockey being drafted to replace him. Tellingly, Newspoll saw fit to ask if the government should be allowed to serve out its full term – 49 per cent said it should, which is less than the Whitlam government was getting in response to similar questions in late 1975. The Greens are up three points to 14 per cent, a further indication they stand poised to win seats in the lower house for the first time. The chart below shows the primary vote across all Newspoll and election results going back to Newspoll’s foundation in 1985.

UPDATE: Antony Green employs the good old-fashioned uniform two-party swing method to calculate which Labor seats would fall to the Coalition if the result of this poll was borne out. However, Antony concedes that “with a third of voters off with the Greens and ‘Others’, more than admitting they will vote Labor, I’m not sure that analysis based on uniform 2-party swing is very useful”. That being so, I’ve taken a different approach: changing the results in each electorate in proportion to the shift indicated in the poll and applying the same preference distributions as last time. No doubt this is statistically clumsy, but accepting the exercise as a bit of fun (unless you’re one of the dwindling band of Labor loyalists), here’s what I’ve come up with. Coalition gains from Labor: Camden, Cessnock, Drummoyne, Gosford, Granville, Heathcote, Londonderry, Macquarie Fields, Maitland, Menai, Miranda, Monaro, Mulgoa, Penrith, Riverstone, Rockdale, Ryde, Swansea, The Entrance, Wollondilly, Wyong. Greens gains from Labor: Balmain, Coogee, Heffron, Marrickville. Independent gains from Labor, should the relevant candidates choose to run again: Charlestown (Paul Scarfe) and Newcastle (John Tate). Result: Coalition 55, Labor 25, Independents 9, Greens 4.

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.

120 comments on “Newspoll: 59-41 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. State Labor being what it is, I don’t think you’ll find any Libs willing to preference Labor above The Greens.

    But will they preference at all, that’s the question.

    Definitely the southern areas of Heffron are the weakest for The Greens. Nice mix of people that don’t quite fit The Greens demographic.

    One point I disagree with Antony – I think the new developments in Alexandria and Waterloo etc. will be more Green then what is there currently. But the change from industrial to residential/commercial is going to take at least a decade, so kind of moot at this stage.

    The issue of candidates pops up. Greens candidates haven’t really been high profile in the area and are virtual nobodies next to Kristina Kenneally so all the vote comes from Green policies and the brand name. Having someone who locals know and has some kind profile will bring up the vote by some percentage.

    In summary, my pick 2 years early: I think The Greens will outpoll the Liberals in 2011 and I think they’ll get a decent amount of Liberal preferences but I don’t know if enough Libs will preference.

  2. From what I remember from the Wollongong council stuff Hay didn’t seem the sharpest tool in the box, and this proves it. If she was involved in getting this guy sacked it’s not only improper but DUMB. Why not just ignore him- let him blow his top and do his worst? It’s not like he was prime time on Austereo or something…

  3. I think it a bit strange that no-one has noticed that Willoughby is a supposed gain for the Liberal Party. If there is a liberal MP that gets on TV more than Barry it is Gladys B.

  4. > Greens candidates haven’t really been high profile in [Heffron] and are virtual nobodies next to Kristina Kenneally so all the vote comes from Green policies and the brand name. Having someone who locals know and has some kind profile will bring up the vote by some percentage.

    Like who?

  5. #105

    What do you mean “supposed gain for the Liberals”? Willoughby has been a safe Lib seat, although that Elvis impersonator mayor came close a couple of times. Isn’t Gladys B-J shadow transport? Probably explains why she’s seen and heard so often.

  6. MDMC @ 107 Yes Gladys Berejeklian is shadow transport spokesperson. She is heard ‘often’ because the other mob are doing such a lamentable job with public transport and she has plenty of material to work with. The local mayor Reilly (aka Elvis impersonator) ‘came close’ once only in the 2003 election.

  7. MDM: Probably because William’s got it listed above as one of the 20-odd ‘Coalition gains from Labor’. Might’ve been mixed up with Wollondilly? 😉

    By the way, while I’m quibblin’, William: Maitland’s in the wrong set. It’s mighty marginal, but not against the Liberals – that was one of those Newcastle-area safe Labor seats with local mayors running as independents. Independents don’t seem to usually do so well in second elections compared to first ones where they come close (not the ones I’ve been looking up, anyway… eg, Pat Reilly in Willoughby), but Greg Piper being an MP at the moment could change that – it’ll be interesting to watch. Is anyone on here from Lake Macquarie? If so, how’s he doing?

  8. Bird, I do believe you’re correct about Willoughby/Wollondilly – have changed this. I may also have erred in Maitland, but I don’t have the calculations I used handy so I can’t say for sure – it’s possible I had Labor vote plunging so far as to give the seat to the Liberals.

  9. #109, 110

    Maitland was held by the Liberals during the 90’s- the independent in 2007 was the former Liberal MP- although maybe the boundaries have changed to make it safer for Labor. If we keep seeing these sorts of numbers then Maitland would be a good chance of falling to the Libs, depending on the strength of any independent candidate.

  10. Ben, I have no idea. I wasn’t suggesting a particular person, just hypothesising that one way to get The Greens across the line would be someone with a high profile in the community.

  11. NSW Labor replaced Morrie Iemma (a likeable guy and incompetent manager) with Nathan Rees (an unlikeable guy and incompetent manager). Now there is talk of replacing Rees with Frank Sartor (an unlikeable guy and competent manager). The miserable reality for NSW citizens is that they have no say in who is the premier until the end of March 2011.

  12. Actually all gags aside it would be pretty unfair for Rees to get dumped. It’s not his fault the government is where it is. He wasn’t even in parliament for most of the time Labor’s been in office!

    I thought he was the best pick they had since he was a relative cleanskin and a clear break from Carr and Iemma. If they dump him, who will they turn to? Going back to a Carr/Iemma person like Sartor or Della Bosca wouldn’t be clever, and they can’t dump a newbie for another newbie. They should back Rees to do his best in impossible circumstances.

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