Taverner: 54-46 to Coalition in NSW

The Sun Herald has published a Taverner poll showing the Coalition leading 54-46 in New South Wales, bearing in mind that two-party results can be a bit askew under the state’s optional preferential voting system. That being so, it’s more than usually unfortunate that no primary vote figures are provided. Barry O’Farrell leads Nathan Rees as preferred premier 50 per cent to 33 per cent. A question on alternative Labor leaders found 20 per cent support for Carmel Tebbutt (who looks likely to face a strong challenge from the Greens in her seat of Marrickville), 10 per cent for Frank Sartor and 7 per cent for Kristina Keneally. There are further responses on individual issues, all of it bad news for Labor. No sample size is provided, which is poor form – it’s bad enough that Australian newspapers don’t discuss the margin of error – but past experience suggests it was on the low side, maybe around 600.

UPDATE: Oz in comments reports the sample was but 500, according to the print edition.

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.

66 comments on “Taverner: 54-46 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. I can’t see the Greens supporting the Libs in the Inner-West, their supporters would kills them.

    Assuming there will be some swing, it will be interesting how it works out.

    Looking at ALP seats under 8% with a 2pp against the Libs we’ve got:

    Miranda (outer subs)
    Menai (outer subs)
    Wollondilly (outer subs/rural)
    Camden (outer subs/rural)
    Gosford (outer subs)
    The Entrance (Regional)
    Monaro (Regional)
    Wyong (Regional/Outer subs)
    Londonderry (out subs/rural)
    Coogee (Inner-city)
    Drummoyne (inner city)

    If only one of those catergories (regional or rural/inner-city/outer subs) doesn’t swing to any level, the Libs won’t get a majority. In fact the Libs need to win 11 seats for a majority, which is all of the ones on that list, or they’ll be pushing for 10%+ swings.

    It’s no secret that I admire Rees, but there is clearly a level of discontent in parts about the NSW Gov. It would be interesting to see a poll with swings split between the different areas.

  2. Phil.

    You can argue individual seats but it’s almost certain that the Coalition will win a majority if they get 54% TPP, especially with Labor’s primary vote so low. If you’re arguing Labor might claw it back to 50-50 TPP by election time that’s a different story, but there’s no realistic scenario in which the Coalition can get this level of the vote and not win a majority of seats. If it’s not these specific seats, there will be others.

  3. Perhaps, they would certainly form Government, but with a large number of independents and most Lib votes in heavily Liberal seats I think a majority Gov will be a big challenge. Indi’s aren’t factored into 2PP (when they win – if that makes sense).

    But, yes, if the Libs get 54% they will form Government one way or another, I was simply speculating on the other.

  4. philofsydney at 50, I don’t think you can limit it to seats needing 8% swings. The Libs should be targeting as winnable such seats as Kogarah and Strathfield. And yes, Toongabbie, Oatley, East Hills, Parramatta, Bathurst, Blue Mountains, Rockdale and Riverstone. Essentially the sorts of seats Greiner won in 1988 (Rockdale a bit left field, but one to watch for “local factors” next time round).

    I personally don’t rate the Libs having any chance in the Hunter or Illawarra (independents do though) or in seats like Granville, Macquarie Fields or Mulgoa, even though the margins on those seats are around 10%.

    The only thing that will take these sorts of scenarios off the table is the ALP “turning it around”. Despite your regard for Rees, there are scant signs of that happening, so far. If anything, more wheels are falling off, with parts of the bureaucracy turning against them.

  5. A simple mathematical point which people often overlook: if the Statewide swing is an average of X% (8%, or whatever), but some parts of the State swing less than the average (or even not at all), then it necessarily follows that some other parts of the State swing more than the average.

    So if there were a swing of 8% to the Coalition on average across the State, but some areas (whether it’s regional, outer suburban, or inner city) don’t swing, so that the Coalition misses out on picking up seats there with less than an 8% margin, then it necessarily follows that other areas swing by more than 8%, creating opportunities for the Coalition to pick up seats with more than an 8% margin.

    This is all hypothetical–I don’t know what the Statewide swing will be and I don’t know whether it will vary significantly across the State. But the logic about the consequences which would flow from particular hypothetical assumptions is ironclad.

  6. Phil 49

    I think history shows that independants will generally support the party that is up and coming, and not a party that is old and stale.

    Especially if the government is one as incompetant as the one in NSW

    Recent example includes Victoria, SA (National supported Labor) and WA

    If a government is on the nose, independants will distance itself from it. If Labor does not get a majority, they will get kick out

  7. [Why?]

    I think he came into a difficult job and has tried admirably. I think that he’s honest, intelligent and decent and works damn hard.

    NSW, along with most of the country, is not in a perfect situation. It’s in debt, has ageing infrastructure and has suffered perhaps most of all from the downturn (with GST receipts etc). None of this can be turned around overnight, but I think he’s made more inroads, especially with the public service heads then Iemma or Carr, and in much less time. He’s made tough, unpopular decisions that had to be made and frankly I don’t think that Iemma would have made.

    The Government has to take credit for the issues in NSW, but Rees is, in my opinion, a good man who’s made good choices with depleted resources (money) and isn’t the one to blame for past mistakes. Naturally, people vote for parties as much as leaders, and NSW Labor has had a long time to make mistakes, so I’m not saying vote Labor because of one guy, but I think that he’s a genuine talent in a situation that no one could really shine in.

    If he were the opposition Labor leader after 16 years of Liberal Government, I think there would be a lot of excitement about him.

    Hope that made sense.

  8. 54 – I honestly don’t think the swing will be that big. I think it will be a quite conventional election, though I know I’m in the minority with this, but that’s my opinion.

    Sartor isn’t popular but is apparantly gaining local support with some Rockdale issues and frankly I think that Kogarah and Strathfield are just a bridge too far.

    The only chances, I think, over 10% for the Libs are Blue Mountains (11%) if Koperberg retires, Rockdale (10%) and Kiama (12%), as the South Coast media, rightfully or not, are crucifying Matt Brown down there.

    Heathcote @ 8% is my benchmark. A mix of out subs, regional but still somewhat cosmopolitan, that’s the kind of seat that will decide NSW.

  9. Phil 56

    The problem with your analysis is that Rees was part of the NSW ALP Government that destroyed the budget, that did nothing since the 2000 Sydney Olympic, that did almost no infrastructure in its whole 16 years (What it did was PPP such as cross city tunnell) which led the Hong Kong operator to refuse to ever do business in Australia again.

    He was part of the problem, most of the architect of the problem are still around, ie Tripoli, Sartor etc. Until those are cleaned out, the NSW ALP is unelectable.

    Even Kevin Rudd’s team is trying to trash NSW on infrastructure, that is very telling on the competany of Rees and his staff

  10. philofsydney at 59

    I am not saying the overall swing was as high as 10%. It won’t be. But there are some conventionally marginal seats sitting up around and above 10%. There are some others around that margin that wouldn’t go Liberal under any circumstances. Such as Swansea. And Heathcote is a *very* tough bellwether seat, I would have thought. The Libs have much more chance of winning certain Sydney seats on higher margins.

    Purely by way of example, Parramatta and Riverstone I would have thought would be very hard for the ALP to even hold. Both areas have shown they *can* vote Liberal (admittedly at Federal level) and have been royally stuffed around by the present NSW government. My impression is Parramatta has a reasonable local member, Riverstone, umm, perhaps less good. But I think that after 2011 the ALP will only hold two or three seats in the northern half of Sydney – Blacktown and Mt Druitt. Toongabbie is a maybe. Penrith will be winnable for the Libs, assuming the locals have forgotten or forgiven the Libs’ Lindsay debacle in 2007.

    What I meant by “local factors” in Rockdale is the ongoing shenanigans re Rockdale Council, the possibility of Sartor moving out of politics and the instability that may create in the ALP finding a saleable candidate. I’d agree that if Sartor stays, the ALP should hold the seat. Not sure that he will though, in which case…

    Kiama I think is tougher for the Libs to win than say Oatley, East Hills, Toongabbie or Penrith. The local branches should either put up with Brown and attempt to rehabilitate him, or roll him and get a cleanskin in there. If Kiama fell, the coalition would be looking at 60 seats. I just see Kiama as the sort of place where many people may loath the local ALP member but find it very difficult to actually bring themselves to vote Liberal.

  11. 61 – Many good points, only time will tell. Kiama has a surprising ‘bible belt’, if you will, which would not approve of the Brown controversy – keep an eye on that one as a dark horse. Yes, if Sartor retired, Rockdale would be a definite battleground. You’re right that Heathcote is a tough bellweather, but NSW is a traditionally Labor state, and I think that if the Libs win it will be traditionally labor seats like Heathcote, Drummoyne and Coogee that will win it for them. We’ll see how Western Sydney goes.

    60 – In his defence, Rees was only elected to Parliament in 2007. His cleanskin thing was a part of him getting the job. I think I’ve made my points re: Labor and Rees previously.

  12. Phil of Sydney ….. yes he was only a member of parliament since 2007, but look at the list of people who he worked for …. Knowles, Iemma, Carr and Orkopoulus, you might try to paint him as a clean skin, but he was a central part of the problem

    Nathan Reece has worked over the years as an adviser to Health Ministers Craig Knowles and Morris Iemma, Premier Bob Carr and, most recently, disgraced Swansea MP Milton Orkopoulos. The latter connection came to haunt him two months after his preselection, when Orkopoulos was charged with offences including sex with boys aged between 10 and 18, sexual assault and supplying illegal drugs. Morris Iemma called Reece in to ask if he heard of the rumours surrounding Orkopoulos, which appeared to have been widespread in Hunter-area party circles.

  13. I know that he worked for the Gov before he was an MP, but by that’s pretty weak logic to say that issues from the past 16 years is his fault. Many are the Govs fault, as I’ve said a few times now, but, as I’ve said a few times now, I think that Rees is working hard to change past mistakes.

    And the Orkopoluos smear is just that. As Rees said at a recent community cabinet, if you think you know anything about that, call ICAC because it’s nothing to do with him. It’s disgusting that you’d smear a man by association without the slightest bit of proof like that.

  14. phil of sydney,

    that came from pollbludger’s write up of the member for Lukemba at the last election, it was no smear, it is factual.

    He was a key adviser to Bob Carr and Morris Iemma, quite simply at least some blame can be placed on him

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