Newspoll: 61-39 to Coalition in NSW

The latest bi-monthly state Newspoll for New South Wales has the Labor government digging further below what previously looked to be rock bottom. Their primary vote is down six points to a record low 25 per cent, with the Coalition up four to 46 per cent and the Greens up two to 16 per cent. Kristina Keneally’s approval rating is nonetheless steady on 47 per cent, such that she would have kept her mantle of Australia’s most popular leader if it hadn’t been for the events of last week. However, she is also up six points on disapproval to 37 per cent. Barry O’Farrell’s approval rating is up three points to 44 per cent and his disapproval is down one to 33 per cent. Keneally’s lead as preferred premier has narrowed from 45-30 to 44-36. The Coalition’s two-party lead has widened from 55-45 to 61-39, though as always it should be noted that the primary vote on its own means at least as much under optional preferential voting.

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.

91 comments on “Newspoll: 61-39 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. Fran

    I think the ALP in NSW are beyond it. Too tired, too cynical, just morally and poltically bankrupt.Just campaign that much harder for the Greens.

  2. East Hills 0.4%
    Oatley 0.7%
    Toongabbie 0.8%
    Charlestown 0.9%
    Strathfield 1.4%
    Smithfield 1.8%
    Wallsend 2.1%
    Maroubra 2.4%
    Kogarah 4.0%
    Newcastle 4.1%
    Campbelltown 4.8%
    Fairfield 6.7%
    Keira 8.3%
    Blacktown 8.7%
    Heffron 10.0%
    Wollongong 11.6%
    Bankstown 11.7%
    Mount Druitt 11.7%
    Shellharbour 13.1%
    Liverpool 13.2%
    Canterbury 13.4%
    Auburn 15.0%
    Cabramatta 15.3%
    Lakemba 20.3%

    — snip–

    So, yeah. Disaster.

    Too right look at the deadheads some of the most disadvantaged areas in NSW will have still hanging around to “represent” them. Time servers, placemen, hacks, the lot of them.

    Another good reason to vote Green in March.

  3. blackburnpseph

    I think the ALP in NSW are beyond it. Too tired, too cynical, just morally [ethically] and poltically bankrupt

    Regrettably, I agree. I still don’t see the logic of their tactics though. Since, realistically, The Greens could never form a coalition with … err … the coalition, and aren’t going to be governing in our own right any time soon, that means we need the ALP to do something like the right thing.

  4. SO Ms Kristina Keneally makes history once again.

    She becomes the first leader of NSW Labor in the history of Newspoll to record a record low in primary support at 25%.

    The question now is – Can Keneally continue to make history in each of the forthcoming Newspolls by reaching a new record low in each successive poll.

    Maybe not, but I suspect we have not yet seen the record low, and the 25% mark will be breached before the March 26 2011 poll.

  5. Gusface, Labor deserve to sit in the naughty corner for a few rounds.
    If they win, it’s from corruption and fraud at this point.

    Anybody who think nsw is “doin’ just fine ” isn’t living there.

    Also today it appears JG used the priministerial jet to raise funds for herself. $13,500 in costs to get maybe $2000 from shity lunches. Dispicable. We wouldn’t alow it from Tone why should we accpet it from someone in the top job.

    @ Albert Ross, greens are hippie pussies who will hand ther prefernces over for some organic lentels. just make sure you stock up on polling day.

  6. AEN

    its despicable not displicable

    Sorry living in gods own country I realise self interest trumps MSM spin everytime

    anyway fatty will do someting silly/his party will do something silly

    as it always has been

  7. Optional preferences…

    The majors will direct seat by seat where they will get best value. The local independents (esp in the ALP’s Hunter seats and the former Nats rural seats) will benefit. More independents are likely in the next parliament, but given a lower than usual ALP primary, they will start to skew more to safe ALP seats than safe Nat seats (cf 1988).

    Even with Lib preferencing, Greens won’t win Heffron. In the Blue Mountains, the ALP preferencing is more likely to be significant than the Lib preferencing – because the Libs will definitely finish in the first two, and really the Libs should win the seat. Could the Libs themselves win Heffron? Umm, no.

    Your typical urban Lib voter is both probably going to follow the card, but probably not choose to preference Greens if they really thought about it. Having said that, those few people who vote Liberal in Balmain or Marrickville are significantly more likely to countenance Green preferencing – for the simple reason that they are not “typical” (younger skewed, tertiary educated, demographically similar to the people voting Green in those areas).

    The Greens will direct to the ALP or exhaust. This will make barely any difference whatsoever, because Greens voters make up their own minds. That’s a real problem for the ALP, but not THE problem.

    THE problem is a primary of 25% and no prospect of making it up. Optional preferencing (passed by Carr to stuff up the Libnats in the days of One Nation and the odd three cornered contest) just makes the ALP’s life more difficult.

  8. There is no doubt the ALP will get a spanking but their primary vote will be way above 25%.

    The Greens will romp it in in Balmain and Marrickville. From memory they got ~50% of the primary in the last local counil elections.

    Verity Firth is one of the few Labor Ministers worth keeping in Parliament.

  9. Optional preferential voting was not introduced by the Carr government. It was introduced in 1980 by the Wran government nearly two decades before One Nation. It is an entrenched provision of the state constitution and cannot be repealed without a referendum.

  10. I find that observation interesting Antony. The states have original sovereignty so it is hard to see how they could bind themselves. It is settled law that sovereigns cannot bind future sovereigns. In NSW, the government is bound only by matters inter se, letters patent, S92, pertinence to the state and the “good government of” standard.

    This is different from the Commonwealth where legislative power is contained under specific remit.

    Even if repeal of optional preferential is specified via referendum, surely this measure itself could be repealed.

  11. If you find my observation interesting, I suggest you read the Privy Council’s judgment in the Trethowan Case (1932) which backed the ability of the states to, within reason, entrench provisions in state constitutions. It is one of the most important cases in British and Australian constitutional law.

    I’d also refer you to Anne Twomey’s book “The Constitution of New South wales” who argues that Trethowan does not give states open slather to entrench and that some of the entrenched provisions may not be as secure as current case law assumes.

    The Trethowan case concerned the entrenchment provision in Section 7A of the NSW Constitution that requires a referendum to be held before any section listed in 7A can be amended or removed. It was originally inserted to prevent the Legislative Council being abolished without a referendum. Section 7B has since been inserted which entrenches several matters concerning the Legislative Aseembly in a similar manner, including optional preferential voting.

  12. In 1932 Lang Labor had 40.2% this was inflated by uncontested safe conservative seats the anti-Lang Federal Labor Party had 4.3% (this was inflated by them being only opposition to Lang Labor in some seats) a 2PP in the low 40s? In 1938 the Lang and anti-Lang Labor parties had 38.4% but uncontested seats dragged down the Labor vote and Joan Rydon estimates a 2PP for Labor of around 47%. In votes, if not seats, 2011 is shaping up to be Labor’s worse ever NSW performance since the emergence of the two-party system.

  13. Antony

    Most interesting link.

    What I think could be interesting next year is how many seats a major party (in this case the ALP) gets less than 10% of the vote in. With the Greens doing well, it could be a swag.

  14. Gusface @ 57

    [anyway fatty will do someting silly/his party will do something silly]

    The ALP is so far gone that it’s no longer of any consequence who the Liberal leader is or what he or she does. Mr O’Farrell can go full-Latham and it won’t matter a jot because a bacterium on a flea on a drover’s dog could comfortably lead the Libs to victory.

  15. The ALP is so far gone that it’s no longer of any consequence who the Liberal leader is or what he or she does.

    The Libs could always resurrect Peter Debnam, see how that goes. That would be fun.

  16. marktwain @ 70

    [The Libs could always resurrect Peter Debnam, see how that goes. That would be fun.]

    Bring it on!

  17. An exceptionally poignant summary of the NSW Keneally/Labor government:-
    A young girl watching turned to her mother and asked breathlessly: “Mum, is that a princess?”
    The moment spoke volumes of the strange political situation in this “premier” state of NSW. We have far and away the worst government in Australia. We also have the best looking premier.
    Princess Kristina is not just the best thing the NSW Government has got going for it, she is the only thing.

    A princess deserves a party

    This latest Newspoll however supports the intuitive feeling that the “sinners” of NSW are patiently waiting with baseball bats to beat the living daylights out of “the Princess” on 26 March 2011.

  18. [ In votes, if not seats, 2011 is shaping up to be Labor’s worse ever NSW performance since the emergence of the two-party system. ]

    If the lowest primary vote recorded for Labor in a NSW election was 38.4%(1938) and 40.2%(1932) then you can bet London to a brick on that Kristina Keneally will lead Labor to a historic (in terms of primary vote) defeat in 2011.

  19. The 1932 result is the worse result though Labor’s vote was lower in 1938. But that’s because in 1938 Labor only contested 62 of the 90 electorates, and 10 of the seats it did nominate for saw uncontested victories. No Labor votes were recorded in 10 of the safest seats in Labor’s industrial heartland. That’s why the Labor primary vote in 1938 is so low.

  20. Geez PY, some of your posts about Keneally really are nasty. Anything you want to talk about? (I may note, just once, that the ‘sinner’ thing wasn’t in reference to homosexuals, as Keneally noted, and that Keneally is in fact supporting same-sex adoption).

  21. Fran Barlow@61 has touched on my favourite subject matter of state constitutional law (very sad I know), which relate to ‘manner and form’ provisions in state legislation (including state constitutions).

    See s 6 of the Australia Act which says:

    [a law made after the commencement of this Act by the Parliament of a State respecting the constitution, powers or procedure of the Parliament of the State shall be of no force or effect unless it is made in such manner and form as may from time to time be required by a law made by that Parliament, whether made before or after the commencement of this Act.]

    As voting methods go to the ‘constitution’ of state parliaments voting methods can be entrenched in state legislation by proscribing a ‘manner and form’ that future parliaments must follow in order to amend the provision. For instance, they might state that the amendment must be carried by a 2/3 majority in both chambers. The courts have suggested a threshold might be set too high (for instance, requiring a unanimous vote) but have held that provisions requiring referendums or plebiscites are valid ‘manner and form’ provisions in the past.

  22. Having said that I’ve made the embarrassing mistake of applying the test to the entrenched provision rather than the amending law. A law to repeal optional preferential would need to be construed as a law respecting the ‘constitution, powers or procedure of the [NSW] Parliament’ (which it would seem to satisfy).

  23. Hamish raises some interesting points on Sylvia Hale vs Fiona Byrne. Outcome will be known Sunday evening: I’ll probably tweet it unless I’m embargoed.

    I’m on the fence on this, unsure as to who would be the better candidate. I don’t share Hamish’s pessimistic view on Sylvia, I think she’s as much chance as Fiona Byrne of cracking the Warren, the lowest socio-economic area of the electorate, and the booth with the greatest difference (46%). I think we’ll need to get Labor votes to swing to the Greens instead of the Liberals, but that’s easier said than done (cf Penrith).

  24. In my opinion, it’s not so much that Hale can’t win, but that 1) She would almost certainly give away the benefit of incumbancy after four years when, one would assume, Labor would be back in the polls and challenging for Marrickville again 2) She’s a cheap populist that doesn’t help the wider Greens image. As I said before, her interrogation of public servants (“did you have anything to do with the murder of McGurk?”) was pathetic, one-eyed and frankly bordering on conspiracy theorising. She’s like a walking Green Left Weekly – everyone is ‘Tsar this’ and ‘developer that.’ I don’t know about the rest of you, but I prefer an MP who can articulate opposition to something without resorting to pithy insults and baseless generalisations. Fiona Byrne is such a person, as is Ian Cohen, Jamie I’ve-forgotten-his-last-name from Leichhardt and Cate Faehrmann, but, from what I’ve seen of Hale, she reinforces all the negative stereotypes of the Greens.

    I’m not in Marrickville, so it doesn’t affect my vote, but if was I just don’t think I could bring myself to vote for Hale. Anyway, I’m out, we’ll see soon enough.

  25. #76 Hamish Coffee
    [ Anything you want to talk about? ]

    I was hoping you might comment on my assertion that it is London to a brick on that Kristina Keneally will lead NSW Labor to a historic low primary vote in 2011 (thats if you disagree with it).

  26. Well, if the two lowest Labor primary votes are 38.4% and 40.2% in the 1930s (which I suspect isn’t true, given that Labor polled 39.0% in their comprehensive 2007 election victory), of course Keneally is going to lead them to their lowest ever result. As I’ve said before, I expect Labor to poll in the very low 30s. As to where that actually sits on the historical scale, I have no idea.

    However, to lay the blame for the defeat on Keneally alone would be ridiculous. People are voting out a 16 year old Government, not the only popular part left. I would guess that Keneally’s personal vote will hold up quite well, whereas the rest of NSW will crash.

  27. #76
    [ I may note, just once, that the ’sinner’ thing wasn’t in reference to homosexuals, as Keneally noted, and that Keneally is in fact supporting same-sex adoption ]

    Yes I see the fake Keneally has issued a clarifying tweet:-

    KKKeneally I’m not saying gays are sinners. It’s the bible that says that.
    about 20 hours ago via web

    [ Well, if the two lowest Labor primary votes are 38.4% and 40.2% in the 1930s (which I suspect isn’t true, given that Labor polled 39.0% in their comprehensive 2007 election victory),]

    I haven’t done the research myself, but I have no reason to suspect that Antony Green has got it wrong (see # 75).

  28. Fiona Byrne has won preselection in Marrickville. Both her & Sylvia were extremely good candidates so there is no surprise that it was close. What’s surprising is how close: 1 vote! No informal votes. Fiona & Sylvia are with me having a drink at Zanzibar so we’re all happy with the outcome.

  29. thanks for comments very interesting. I was also at the Marrickville pre-selection and Zanzibar. One point not mentioned that Sylvia Hale has effectively retired from politics at the end of her term.

  30. Make what you will of it, but in an interesting article the Daily Telegraph’s Andrew Clennell and Simon Benson report on “secret” polling carried out by “the Left of the party and the National Union of Workers” which shows a statewide swing against Labor of 15% and that inter alia, Ministers Tebbutt (Marrickvile) and Firth (Balmain) will lose their seats at the 26 March 2011 general election.

    The article concludes by reporting on comments made by Princess Kristina Keneally:

    Premier Keneally is understood to have been dismissive of dire polling when spoken to by Mr Dastyari in a meeting before the Penrith by-election disaster. Labor sources said she told the general secretary that the polling didn’t equate to what she was hearing in the streets from people.

    Senior Labor figures face annihilation

  31. Tripodi back in the news: NSW MP Joe Tripodi referred to ICAC over Patrick Low’s appointment I don’t think the allegations will stick – Tripodi’s a smart player.

    Anyway Sylvia has a bright future ahead of her. She might go for the NSW senate in 2013. She might have a tilt at Heffron – there, her media profile may help against Keneally, as opposed to Marrickville where I feel Fiona’s strong links to the community through her Deputy Mayor role will swing the seat to Green for good.

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