Mercury-IRIS poll: 55-45 to Labor in Keira

The Illawarra Mercury has published one of its occasional small-sample polls on local voting intention, this time gauging reaction to David Campbell’s enforced outing at the hands of Channel Seven and subsequent resignation from the state ministry by targeting his seat of Keira. The poll gives Campbell a 55-45 two-party lead over the Liberals, and while this points to a 17 per cent swing on the 2007 election result, it marks a slight improvement from the 53-47 he recorded in a similar poll in January. No primary vote figures are provided, but we are told equal proportions of voters – “one in five” – said they were more and less likely to vote for him following his recent dramas. The sample for the poll was 300, with a high margin of error of about 5.5 per cent.

The accompanying report in the Illawarra Mercury notes “rumour is rife that the party is considering endorsing another candidate”, one report suggesting Heathcote MP Paul McLeay registered interest in the seat on the evening Channel Seven aired its exposé of Campbell’s gay sauna visit. However, this was dismissed by McLeay as a “a pathetic, juvenile attempt to regurgitate the ‘Kick Campbell’ story”.

NOTE: Please reserve this thread for discussion of state politics. Those wishing to discuss federal matters can do so in the post below.

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.

43 comments on “Mercury-IRIS poll: 55-45 to Labor in Keira”

  1. Be curious to know what the Greens primary was. I still reckon that’s a bit of a dark horse seat for them if Labor cops a thumping.

  2. It is not in any way a dark horse seat for the Greens under these circumstances. The only circumstance in which the Greens can win Keira is if the Liberals don’t contest. Otherwise, the Liberal primary is going to be higher than 2007 and the Greens will come a distant third, mark my words, and probably the words of anyone else who has ever lived in Wollongong which is not Greens territory. I can’t see why anyone disgusted with Campbell for moral reasons is going to to go to the Greens either. Working class social conservatives who can’t look past Campbell’s indiscretions but can look past his local achievements (believe me, the 55 bus introduced during the term is a godsend) are going to go to the Liberals. The Greens would be better off focusing on Kiama, but even that’s a long shot.

  3. Seriously, I know many virtuous Greens want to smash the two party system and introduce some actual democracy to the virtual one-party state that is the Illawarra but don’t get excited about Keira, or Wollongong in general. Michael Organ came third on primaries as an incumbent, remember.

  4. Funny re Campbell. That journal of record, the Sun Herald mentioned him as a “possible” for the new cabinet positions that have opened up, on the basis of his acknowledged “ministerial talent”. It’s a story that doesn’t make sense on so many levels.

    Then again, if they’re having Campbell back, why not Della, the one man in caucus with any political talent at all (other than the ability to count).

  5. The only hope for the shambolic Labor Party in NSW is for Keneally to quit….and for Frank Sartor to be appointed Premier.
    However, whilst ever Keneally remains, it does provide the best comedy show taxpayers money can buy.

  6. I gotta say, those poor ol’ NSW taxpayers are providing me with plenty of comedy. A round dozen ministers to quit or be sacked since the last election? Madness. SMH says Macdonald was:

    [ the 12th minister to go of the 22 who were sworn in after the 2007 election. ]

    And that figure doesn’t include ministers who only managed to keep their jobs for fractions of time since that election, like Matt Brown. How many would there be in total?

    It ain’t all funny, though… from what I’ve read about Graham West, I actually feel sorry for the guy. Sounds like he had good intentions, but ended up disillusioned with the whole politics thing. He’s young, too… people like that are supposed to be in charge of rebuilding the shattered wreckage of the ALP after they’re reduced to 20-odd seats next year. As it stands he’ll probably be replaced by another puppet of the powerbrokers over there, who are literally insane. He’s deserting the sinking ship, but doesn’t sound like so much of a rat.

    I tip a 20% swing in the Penrith by-election. Does that sound too mild to anyone else?

  7. BoP at 12

    Yeah, I’ll go out on a limb. Classic “baseball bat” government anyway. The ALP is facing a whole panoply of problems, including alleged unlawful conduct of this local member causing this by-election.

    The area is seemingly marginal these days, despite the history of the seat. There are plenty of people in this seat who voted for both Carr and Howard (just ask David Bradbury). Absolutely no clear air for Keneally, and O’Farrell trying hard and people clearly want to give him a chance, even if it’s just out of disdain for what the government has become.

    The media sharks clearly have the scent of blood around this government, and more scandals and resignations over the next 11 days are a real possibility. Plus Paluzzano had a high base to start with. And by-elections in these situations are always “difficult” for a government past it’s prime.

    Against that, as someone said in another thread, the government recently brought in MyZone…

    Given the numbers from Ryde, 20% would be par for Boffa. I tip a 23-25% swing.

  8. The NSW State budget has included major reductions in stamp duty for home buyers where the home is new and/or under $600,000.

    These are actually very good reforms. Too much of current government interventions in the housing market act to raise price without encouraging more supply. This both raises supply (reduction for new houses) and doesn’t increase prices (capped to $600,000). A good move.

    Other State governments should be reminded of their commitments to eliminate stamp duty when the GST deal was done. It is a very unwise form of tax.

  9. #14

    Whatever may be the economic consequences of the reduction in this state tax, the perception in the community is that it was done as a last “hurrah” to help out Labor’s developer mates.

    Budget day at the NSW Parliament could be best described as funereal.

  10. Peter @ 11. No, just no. Keneally is the most popular part of this Government. That you don’t like her isn’t exactly representative of the rest of the state.

    Most people won’t notice but the budget was actually very good. Peter @ 15, again, stupid point. Sydney has a huge housing shortage, which is the large reason why houses are so damn expensive here (and then the anti-development NIMBYs complain about high house prices and blame the Government). More houses need to be built. Period. Any reduction of stamp duty for ‘cheaper’ houses is good policy. If any kind of development is to help out mate then no Government can win. Not that they could with you anyway.

  11. Hamish #16 & 17

    I am pleased that you can (publicly at least) remain so upbeat as the Keneally government hurtles toward the cliff precipice.

    1. Your suggestion that Keneally is the best thing going for Labor, presumably is based on your belief that somehow she is “holding up” the Labor vote at a higher level than it would be under any other leader. That is debateable. My reasons for suggesting she should quit and Sartor be appointed is that it would be far better for the good governance of the state and its citizens. Simply put she is doing an appalling job for the state.

    2. Many economists have supported the stamp duty reductions, including Ross Gittens. However my point related not to the economic impact of them, but rather the public perception of them. Put simply, there is a large number of people who believe the measure was intended to help out Labors mates, the property developers. Trying to convince them otherwise, is a difficult task – because people have stopped listening to Keneally/Labor. If Labor needs to break through this wall of tuned out people, they need someone with some economic and leadership credibility to sell the message. Keneally aint that person. I suggest Frank Sartor would do a much better job.

  12. Hi Peter,

    A bit of a contradiction there. You say that Keneally is doing an appalling job (and I disagree, I think she’s doing alright) but in your next point you say that the main thing to work on is public perception. If we’re going by public perception, Keneally is the most popular leader of a Government in Australia. Sartor is, from what I understand, a hard working minister, but he’s not popular. Politics is tough like that. He may be a good Premier, but his numbers wouldn’t be anywhere near Keneally’s.

    Further, I struggle to see how Keneally is doing an appalling job. She’s widely considered as capable and smart, but badly let down by a team that’s falling apart. Not exactly her fault. The public reaction to Keneally, and not just by your average Joe but from industry to environmental and charity groups has been very positive – which is pretty incredible given that this Government has had its share of troubles over the past few years.

    Moving onto your second point, you may well be right that people have stopped listening. That’s the curse of old Governments. My head isn’t in the cloud, it will be incredibly difficult to keep O’Farrell and co out of Government. However, if the large number of people out there see this policy as poor policy, or as helping out ‘mates,’ just because they’ve stopped listening, that’s a reflection of their cynicism and prejudices, not on the Government. This Government has made mistakes and has been slammed for its mistakes. If people judge the good policies based on the bad, that’s pretty sad to my eyes.

    Cheers, HC

  13. #19
    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said

    [ She’s widely considered as capable and smart, but badly let down by a team that’s falling apart.

    It is her lack of leadership that is allowing the “team ” around her to fall apart. A true leader would have united the team and have them working as one toward a common objective. She has failed to unite the parliamentary party. She lacks any moral authority to do so, not at least because she was installed in a putsche led by factional warlords in order to protect their own interests and even the “faction” that supported her is pretty evenly split down the middle as to her suitability for the job. The damage caused to Labor MPs recently had its genesis in the bitterness between certain groupings, with leaks emanating from these groups designed to harm members of “opponent” groups (leaking has even occurred against Keneally herself). Clearly Keneally is not in control and some powerful ministers just do their own thing, paying little regard to her. On the tests of leadership, like setting out the pathway, uniting disparate groups and exercising moral authority Keneally gets a big FAIL. Her leadership and thus her performance as Premier is appalling. That is not to say she does not have the skills to make a good minister in a cabinet. However, she has been given a job higher than her level of incompetence (the Peter Principle). Whilst she may have been receiving good approval ratings (that is the public perceived her as performing well) those came about following an initial period of 3 months when she basically refused to engage with the media except for photo shoots and her novelty (female) and cat walk looks appear to be the major factors in her popularity. I am not confident that popularity will hold up.

    Frank Sartor has acknowledged leadership skills ( having been Lord Mayor of Sydney for 12 years before entering parliament). Not having been imbued with the culture of Labor factionalism he has a unique (for Labor that is) insight into the need to place the general good above factional self interest. His strength was seen as a problem by factional warlords, namely his independence. This was a quality that would have given him the moral authority to be a strong leader.

    The bad “reputation” he had was certainly a problem to be confronted had he been made leader in December 2009, but he would have had plenty of time to work on it. It must be remembered that much of his “reputation” emanates from certain factional warlords who deliberately set out to smear him because his period as Planning Minister was not as “developer friendly” as they wanted. His public image i suggest would have improved over-time.In comparison, Keneally’s public image, which appears based on “puffery”, can only plummet as reality becomes apparent over time. If the end point is March 2011, then I suggest Sartor’s standing (had he been given the opportunity) would have been much higher at that time than Keneally’s will be.

    However, leaving aside the “marketing” aspect of it, the simple bottom line is that Sartor would have left NSW as at March 2011 in better shape than Keneally will.

  14. [It is her lack of leadership that is allowing the “team ” around her to fall apart.]

    Nonsense. She can’t be held accountable for the actions of others (and the recent ‘scandals’ have been clearly external ones.)

    Again, reporters will play the ‘puppet’ card all the way until the election. It sells papers, so fair enough. But there has been no evidence beyond BS hearsay that anyone but Keneally is making the decisions of the Premier of NSW. Most of your post and indeed most Sydney newspaper articles are just rhetoric and BS. People like Keneally but they won’t give her and her party a chance. This is their prerogative and they’re entitled to it, but it doesn’t change that posts and blogs about ‘failing to unite…’ are politically motivated BS.

    To say that Sartor is not factional is more nonsense. He is a substantial figure in the NSW ALP Right. The man, as I’ve said, is competent, but he is unpopular. If Sartor was the best chance for Labor to win this election he would be Premier now. As it is, Labor caucus decided that he wasn’t and all signs, and polls, point to Keneally being Labor’s best chance.

    And that’s my last post on the matter. I have better things to do than argue with Peter.

  15. #22 Hamish

    Thank you for allowing me the last say on this subject. I am afraid that you may have misunderstood my comments. There are two interests to be considered, first the interests of the state as a whole and secondly the interests of NSW Labor. It is an error to believe that what is in the best interests of Labor, is in the best interests of the state, but that appears to be a common misapprehension.
    1. Interests of the state:- Sartor would make a far better administrator, than Keneally could ever hope to be.
    2. Interests of Labor:- It is debateable whether Sartor or Keneally would have produced a better result (that is saved more furniture than the other) at the 2011 election. The results so far indicate that whilst Ms Keneally is “popular” she has not moved the Labor vote off the levels achieved by Nathan Rees. So much for her “popularity” being helpful to Labor.

    As to the comment:-
    “If Sartor was the best chance for Labor to win this election he would be Premier now. As it is, Labor caucus decided that he wasn’t and all signs, and polls, point to Keneally being Labor’s best chance.

    I think it is instructive to consider the votes when the putsch against Nathan Rees was launched. The Right met and voted Keneally 25 and Sartor 23. In the full caucus meeting the vote was Keneally 48-20 Rees. Sartor did not face a full caucus vote, and it is conceivable the result may have been Keneally 25 – Sartor 43. In any event it is clear that about 60% of the caucus believed someone other than Keneally was the best person for the job of Labor leader, and it is silly to suggest that as at December 2009 caucus believed she was the best chance for Labor.
    (Note- the voting figures are off the top of my head and may be in slight error).

  16. In addition to my comment above, I should have added that Keneally has really reduced the level of political debate in the state to that of a schoolyard tantrum, for which she must stand condemned.

    Just by way of example, is this answer to a question in parliament on 10 June 2010:-

    Mr BARRY O’FARRELL: My question is directed to the Premier. Given that in August 2009 the Premier, when she was planning Minister, promised the people of Penrith $80 million in funding to deliver the Erskine Park road link—

    Ms Kristina Keneally: Link road.

    Mr BARRY O’FARRELL: I am glad the Premier is paying attention. Given that she promised funding and pledged that construction would start this year, why does the Premier’s latest election budget provide no construction funding, no total cost for the project and no completion date? Or is this yet another Labor lie?
    Ms KRISTINA KENEALLY: I will just say this: When they learn the name of the road, then I will answer their question.

  17. Latest Morgan poll on NSW: Coalition/ALP 58/42 2PP. Primaries 45/28.5 with Greens 16 and ‘Independents and Others’ 10.5, and 41/36 to KK on preferred premier. Enjoy your long weekend Hamish Coffee.

  18. Don’t be silly SpinsUp

    We all know anything less than 101% of the 2PP is a disaster for the Liberals and proof Labor is storming back into contention……….

  19. Sample of 360. It just confirms what we know and what I’ve been saying. This Government faces a gigantic uphill battle to get re-elected. If there was an election today it would be a wipe out. Keneally is popular and the best thing NSW Labor has going for them at the moment, but her popularity isn’t transferring to Labor votes. There were some very good features in the budget, but not enough people seem to be listening for it to change the polls.

    Why smartarses jump on me for stating the obvious I don’t know.

  20. [There were some very good features in the budget]

    Well, it wasn’t unrelentingly bad. It certainly wasn’t the desperate last throw of the dice type budget that some commentators seem to have been expecting.

    Beyond that, it was little more than a steady as she goes effort. I guess when a government sets very low standards for itself, people should be happy about an average performance.

    By the way, I liked the “gigantic uphill battle to get re-elected” comment. Replacing “get reelected” with “save the furniture” or “minimise the massive losses”, would make it more realistic, or perhaps a statement of the obvious, as you say.

  21. As this section is actually about David Campbell and the seat of Keira, I should add this (which events occurred out of the blue)….
    1. I saw David Campbell last night. He has had a makeover. Gone is the walrus moustache and n it’s place a Hitler style moustache. His hair has been neatly trimmed. He appeared to have a spring in his step.
    2. I met 2 elderly ladies from Wollongong. One had worked with Campbell when he was Mayor of Wollongong. They are quite accepting of the “scandal”, but feel sorry for Mrs Campbell and the children. The events that occurred will not influence their vote. They aren’t in the seat of Keira. However, they have no respect for NSW Labor, even though they have been life-time Labor voters.

    P.S. The latest poll shows Keneally heading the primary vote down to 28.5%. The record low for Labor is 26%. Her initial lift in the Labor primary vote is now dissipating.
    The question is – will she crash through the 26% mark ?

  22. 29# Well, yes. I think it would be possible to ‘save the furniture’ with a good campaign. I’d be interested in what the Labor heavies would consider an acceptable result. Saving the furniture is not such a huge hill (I guess it depends on how many seats are needed to save the furniture), but to win the election, well, I think the betting agencies are usually a pretty good indicator of the size of that hill.

    30# Can I ask where you saw Campbell?

  23. [equally tragic, Qld ALP]

    The Qld government, upon re-election, adopted the Iemma/Roozendaal style manual of ditching election promises within days. Anna should have stuck the Beattie model – feed ’em BS and a few stunts but above all do not actively p!ss anyone off.

    Of course, Anna’s (or Andrew Fraser, in all likelihood) still a lot better off, owing to the completely underwhelming and frankly unelectable kingrat that comprises the opposition up there.

  24. #31

    [ 30# Can I ask where you saw Campbell?

    Yes you may ask.

    He was near Kings Cross railway station, walking the street (briskly ). He was very neatly attired in a business suit and tie, with from recollection a pink shirt.

  25. On the theme of an earlier post regarding people having stopped listening to the Keneally government, Alex Mitchell has an excellent article in the SMH, which succinctly captures the mood:
    Few lessons in budget bonanza

    He concludes:-
    If you live in Penrith where a byelection will be held next Saturday, make sure you visit the telephone booth in the high street where Labor voters plan a mass meeting. The rest of the electorate will have to wait until March 26 next year to put an end to this disreputable outfit and its make-believe budgets. In the meantime? Stand easy and fix bayonets.

  26. C’mon folks. There’s two NSW threads on the go, and they’re both eerily silent with a by-election in two days. Anyone? GP slavering over Barry O’Farrell? GG coldly informing us that Labor will increase their majority? God forbid, a local observer or two? I could’ve sworn the Ryde etc threads were busier last year.

  27. #38
    [ C’mon folks. There’s two NSW threads on the go, and they’re both eerily silent with a by-election in two days.]

    I think the best possible explanation for the eerie silence is that the rusted on Labor supporters find it all too painful, and have no stomach for discussing the Penrith by-election. It’s a bit like when you go to the Dr for an injection – it is preferable to look away and pretend it’s not happening than actually watch as the needle goes in.

    From anecdotal reports in the media it seems that Keneally remains popular with electors (she provides a fashion show for light relief) but her popularity as a “star” does not translate into votes for the Labor label. This anecdotal evidence seems in line with recent polling.

    Saturday will be Keneally’s first test at the ballot box as leader, and the first test of the decision by Labor’s factional warlords to appoint her leader based on the belief, inter alia, she would lift Labor’s statewide vote because of her beauty.

    [ Has there been any polling for Penrith, apart from dodgy agenda-driven “internal polls”?

    No doubt the partys have done some, but they would be keeping it close to their chests. I am not aware of any polling results published in the media. The media would probably consider it a waste of money to pay for proper polling – when instinctively the result is not in doubt – only the margin.

  28. [ The media would probably consider it a waste of money to pay for proper polling – when instinctively the result is not in doubt – only the margin. ]

    Maybe so, but Ryde got polled before its by-election – see here.

  29. Perhaps NSW Labor will rebadge itself the REGRET Party after the Penrith by-election.

    Labor’s candidate for Penrith, John Thain, now regrets that Labor distributed a smear sheet.
    Penrith Labor candidate regrets party’s pamphlet

    Presumably Thain even regrets being a member of the Labor Party, as his campaign material contains no mention of Labor.
    Politics without a whiff of Labor

    Labor’s Premier Kristina Keneally regretted her inappropriate comments made immediately following David Campbell’s resignation and she also regretted the comments she made about Caroline Pemberton.

    Maybe after the Penrith by election Labor will regret that Karyn Paluzzano used staffers (being paid for by taxpayers) for political campaigning, that Labor contested the Penrith by-election, that Labor appointed Kristina Keneally as its leader and that the Labor Party exists under that name.

  30. CentreBet opened its markets on the Penrith by-election in early June 2010 with Liberals at $1.20, Labor at $4.25 and Greens at $11.00.

    The current market is:-
    Liberals – $1.10
    Labor – $6.50
    Greens – $17.00
    Independent – $29.00 (previously $26.00)
    Aust. Dems – $41.00 (previously $43.00)
    Christian Dems – $81.00 ($67)
    LDP – $81.00 ($67)
    Aust First – $81.00 ($67)

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