Newspoll: 53-47 to Coalition in NSW

The Australian reports the latest bi-monthly NSW state Newspoll shows the Labor government continuing to narrow the gap after the post-mini-budget blowout to 59-41 reported in November-December. The Coalition now leads 53-47, down from 56-44 in January-February. Labor’s primary vote has struggled up to 33 per cent, up from 26 per cent in November-December and 30 per cent in January-February, while the Coalition is down two points to 40 per cent. Beyond that we’re only told that both Nathan Rees’s and Barry O’Farrell’s dissatisfaction ratings have “spiked” – Rees’s from 42 per cent to 46 per cent. More to follow.

UPDATE: Graphic here. Rees’s approval rating is down three to 34 per cent, which is where it was in November-December. However, Barry O’Farrell’s disapproval rating (37 per cent) exceeds his approval (35 per cent) for the first time. O’Farrell has nonetheless narrowed the gap as preferred premier from 34-29 to 33-31.

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.

79 comments on “Newspoll: 53-47 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. Let’s not forget that the Lib/Nats need to win 11 seats to govern in their own right. In order, that’s Miranda, Menai, Wollondilly, Camden, Gosford, The Entrance, Monaro, Wyong, Londonderry, Coogee and Drummoyne, the last being an 8% swing. If they miss just 2 of those 11 (and I think that Steve Whan is popular enough to withstand a swing) they need to start winning Riverstone, Rockdale and others, all over 10%.

    Rees is improving Labor’s image in NSW and I expect a close election yet. People wont want minority Government and people aren’t really judging the Libs yet. All Labor needs is for Peter Debnam to start speaking a little more and there’ll be a ball game yet.

  2. [People wont want minority Government and people aren’t really judging the Libs yet.]

    If Labor runs a “don’t risk a Coalition minority government” campaign, they will get slammed for their arrogance and will drive more people towards the Coalition.

    People will vote for the party they want – if it ends up in a minority government, so be it. After all, we’ve had 2 minority governments in NSW in recent years (Greiner/Fahey from 1991 – 1995, Carr in the period before The Entrance by-election in 1995) and most people would say that those governments were better than the choices we’ve got atm.

  3. I agree NSW isn`t Tasmania.
    Minority government does not have the same negative connotations.

    I think a big party free government would have quite a bit of support (as long as it does not have fringe parties in it).

  4. “If Labor runs a “don’t risk a Coalition minority government” campaign, they will get slammed for their arrogance and will drive more people towards the Coalition.”

    Maybe so and I don’t expect that Labor would run that campaign, but I’m simply pointing out that for the Libs to win in their own right they will probably need a 10% swing, which I think is doubtful.

  5. On a side note, if Clover didn’t run that would make Sydney very interesting.

    At the 2007 election, in the LC, the Libs and ALP got 29% each and the Greens 27% in the Sydney electorate.

  6. [Maybe so and I don’t expect that Labor would run that campaign, but I’m simply pointing out that for the Libs to win in their own right they will probably need a 10% swing, which I think is doubtful.]

    That’s true. But I don’t think the prospect of a minority government will stop people from voting for the Coalition at the next election.

  7. It will be interesting to see if the libs can keep their religious nut cases under control.

    They have so much practice in grasping defeat from the jaws of victory.

  8. Indeed, I would be sending David Clarke on a Research Assignment to somewhere without telephones for election month if I were the Libs.

  9. [I would be sending David Clarke on a Research Assignment to somewhere without telephones for election month if I were the Libs.]
    Some small town in Mexico would be ideal.

  10. Centre, there is nothing wrong with voting Liberal to get rid of a bad government, I did it myself in ’92 in Victoria. Trouble was that it was such a rout it took two elections (with the second one being a phenominal result -Jeff thought he’d be retiring in 2010 and handing the state over to one of his colleagues) to get rid of the arrogant lot we elected back in ’92. If the rout is too severe you can be stuck with a government that has a philosophy opposing your own for many years to come.

  11. Gary B., You are correct, this sort of extreme tactical voting can have unintended consequences but in Vics case only 2 terms of “love the hair love the look” Kennett was pretty much a dodged bullet.

    Puru G. as premier of NSW is bad enough but her husband as “first lady” would be scary, David Barnett has some pretty virulent views.

  12. Rofl “don’t risk a Coalition minority government” was pretty much Jim bacon’s election platform here in Tassie, back in the day.

  13. [If the rout is too severe]

    No rout can be too severe. 96 was a rout but Howard almost lost in 98, probably would have if the opposition was better prepared led and had policies.

    A rout would have been good in 07, would have shown the opposition that it wasn’t the people sleep walking, now they risk a rout in 2010.

  14. I used to think that there was a bit of an “anyone but Labor” feel about, but I have noticed that people are no longer ANGRY at the government. They are merely angry. I felt that there had been a bit of a mood change and that the polls would reflect it. But, that doesn’t mean that when the election comes, that people won’t be ANGRY again.

    I thought Rees’ steady as she goes – I am angry with the government too approach was a waste of time – but now I am not so sure.

    O’Farrell is so well known now that I am surprised that he does not have such a better approval figure. Maybe this will be the downfall for the conservatives.

  15. I, and many people I know, voted for the NSW government at the last election, holding our noses. The said government should have been somewhat chastened, but instead showed not a jot of humility, carrying on like the medieval pontiff, can’t remember which, who observed “Since God has given us the Papacy, let us enjoy it.”

    Dancing around in your underwear at a party, for heaven’s sake! More like a rugby team than a government. Now they are paying the price, basically for treating politics as a game rather than a profession.

    Look at the rubbish they pursue, with their faction fights and deals. These factional leaders would be unemployable in the real world. If you had a group of workers coming to work on your garden or house, you would sack them in two minutes if they spent all the time backbiting each other, rather than just getting the job done. I have no doubt that one of the reasons the Rudd government is doing so well in the polls is that it isn’t engaging in this sort of nonsense, but is focussing on doing what people expect it to.

    I suspect even people who are sympathetic to the ALP in NSW have concluded that the party machine is so dysfunctional that the only way to reform it and to make it viable in the long run is to see it so flattened at an election that the old ways will be permanently discredited, as happened with Japanese militarism at Hiroshima.

  16. Pedant

    I agree the ALP is totally concerned with the spoils and nothing to do with the governing. In 14 years of government, I can think of nothing they have done.

    I ask and no-one has ever provided me with an adequate answer – Name one significant achievement of the NSW ALP government that they started and finished.

    Look at all the transport announcements with nothing achieved. In both the 1990s and the 2000s in WA a major rail line was built – north and south. Yet here there is nothing major at all.

  17. Tom the first and best @ 45

    What are the chances of enough independents and Greens getting up, joining together and saying “A pox on both your houses, we`ll for a minority government”?

    Nil, I should say, once you think through the procedural details of how the system works.

    Let’s say that neither the ALP nor the Coalition wins a majority in the Legislative Assembly, and let’s say ‘others’ win a total of, say, 15 seats. What happens next? Either the Premier tenders his resignation at once or he doesn’t.

    If he doesn’t tender his resignation, presumably he will try to secure undertakings of support, or at least qualified support, from crossbenchers. If he gets enough, that’s it. If he doesn’t, what happens next? Probably, Parliament meets and the Coalition leader moves a motion of no confidence in the government (or its procedural equivalent). If this isn’t carried, the ALP government will continue. If it is carried, the ALP government will resign.

    So, if we get, one way or the other, to a situation where the ALP government resigns, what happens next? Either the outgoing Premier will advise the Governor who to commission as Premier or not. If he does, who is he going to advise if not the Opposition leader?–particularly if the Opposition leader has moved a succesful motion of no-confidence, but probably even if not. The Governor doesn’t have to take the outgoing Premier’s advice, but is likely to, and is likely anyway to nominate the Opposition leader if he has moved a succesful motion of no-confidence. Even in a scenario where the ALP Premier resigns immediately after an election defeat and tenders no advice to the Governor, who else is the Governor going to commission if not the Opposition Leader? We’re looking at a situation where the crossbenchers still only have about 15 seats, and they will also have no recognised leader. Even if they could get together to agree on a leader, that person would not have been in the public eye as leader, let alone potential Premier, during the election campaign and won’t have the same public status as the Opposition Leader–and, in this scenario, will still have the support of fewer MPs than either the ALP or the Coalition leader.

    Once a Coalition Government is formed, the ALP, having just resigned from government, is hardly likely to move an immediate motion of no-confidence, and is also hardly likely to support one if the crossbenchers move it. So the Coalition Government will carry on for the time being.

    In the immediate aftermath of an election with the kind of results you’re talking about, pretty much the only way the crossbenchers could prevent the formation of a Coalition Government is by keeping the ALP government in office, protecting it from defeat on a motion of no-confidence.

    In any case, where do you see your scenario going from here? I just can’t see any sequence that leads up to your government of Independents and Greens.

  18. 71 – I’ve learned my lesson Andrew. If an ALP government goes stale I’m not going to vote for the opposition which stands for everything I don’t. I’d rather vote informal.

  19. Carmel Tebbutt vs Pru Goward in 2011. That would be sweet! The Coalition would end up with 70 seats or more!

  20. Tebbutt v Goward. Women v women, Tebbutt would win. The voters would take one look at Tebbutt and think hmmm she could do ok. One look at Goward and go yuukk. Tebbutt has got it. Goward ain’t.

    It’s all intangible and you can’t define it. You would need a real good quack to work it out. 🙂

  21. Nonsense! Pru would win easily if her Labor opponent is also a female. Having said that, this Newspoll is only a brief hiatus for Labor, Barry will still cream Nathan and lead the Coalition to a historic landslide.

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