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.