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. Carmel is running the state while Krissy is overseas visiting relatives.

    Carmel’s great. If we had clones of her, Kristina and Verity Firth, we might be a chance. Unfortunately, we have F’OB and his band of farktards to look forward to for the next eight or so years. That’s something to be afraid of.

  2. Why do we bother with these polls? I was astonished that the ALP won the last NSW election when the premier was a card board cut out.

  3. [ Why do we bother with these polls? ]

    For the same reason people will go to Kardinia Park to see Geelong destroy Richmond or the West Coast Eagles by 100+ points. It ain’t pretty, but it’s bloodsport.

    Labor won the 2pp last election 52.7-47.3, so this would represent a uniform swing of 13.7%… hefty. (Yes I know I can’t rely on that last decimal place… close enough eh. 😛 ) Borrowing Antony’s updated calendar, that leaves them with 24 seats (Parramatta was bang on 13.7%, I’m giving the Libs the benefit of the doubt there).

    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%

    (Just-relevant aside: William, does the blog software support tables?)

    Of those 24, there’s 3 each around Newcastle and Wollongong, and 18 mostly in W and SW Sydney. The first 6 might be also in some danger from independents; Heffron could well be becoming a “hey, maybe…” on optimistic Greens’ radar; and I just reckon it’d be poetic justice if Joe Tripodi got the boot with a 20%+ swing, which would surely break the record for a swing in a general election (currently held by Al Grassby, I think). The Liberals might even have a special go at Fairfield the same way Labor had a successful go at Bennelong. So that’s 16 seats which, based on this, Labor oughta keep. Based on the amount of minor party voters who exhausted at the Penrith by-election, Keira and Heffron could have smaller margins than given above (high Green vote).

    So, yeah. Disaster.

  4. That’s huge. It’s hard to imagine a swing that big not affecting the outcome of the Federal election. I hope I’m wrong.

  5. It’s a possibility, but half the relevant areas are Lib held at federal level anyway. For example: Macarthur, Hughes, Gilmore (southern Sydney), Macquarie, Greenway (outer western Sydney), Robertson, Dobell and Paterson (central coast) cover a dozen or more state seats Labor is 99% certain to lose, but the federal mob can get away mostly intact if they lose Dobell and Robertson and fail to win a few redistributed seats they don’t really hold anyway – they can’t really do much worse than that. If they keep their NSW losses to 2-4 seats, they can live with that and maybe even balance it out with wins in SA or Vic. A reduced majority is still a majority, eh.

    Plus, y’know, differentiation between state and federal issues and all that. My guess is the fireball of a state govt will stop federal Labor from winning any more seats, but shouldn’t cost them that many.

  6. With the ALP primary being so low and the Greens up to 16%, is there anywhere the Greens might win a seat? (I am not asking for flame war here; just curious if there were any seats close enough last time that this might happen?)

  7. One more thing – assuming NSW ALP insiders already know things like this from internal polling, it certainly explains why people like Mark Arbib have started migrating into the Federal arena. I fear more will follow, one way or another, in the coming months.

  8. [ With the ALP primary being so low and the Greens up to 16%, is there anywhere the Greens might win a seat? ]

    Yeah, there’s two near-certainties and a few more vague possibilities. The obvious two are Balmain and Marrickville, with ALP/Grn 2pp margins of 3.7% and 7.5% respectively. The ALP-Grn swing won’t work the same way as the ALP-Lib swing, but I really can’t see Labor holding Balmain. They’d be lucky to hold Marrickville either the way they’re going.

    Other possibilities, which would sound completely stupid coming up to any other election: Coogee, Blue Mountains, Heffron (in that order). In the first two, the Libs will probably win but the Greens could be a chance (particularly if Labor crash really badly and come third); Heffron is probably safe for Labor, but the Greens could cut it fairly fine if they overtake the Libs (last election they trailed them 21-19, with Labor on 56).

    The Greens should also take second place in most of the north shore seats and probably a couple of others like Ballina, not that it’ll mean anything for them. The main thing all those contests will be good for is a trove of data on what happens to ALP preferences when they come third, which they’ll be doing throughout NSW.

  9. Also, take my post at 5 with a few grains of salt. Seats like Strathfield, Oatley, East Hills and Kogarah were marginal before the 1999 election and some were even Liberal-held. (Another one was Ryde.) They could get washed away even if the average swing isn’t quite 13-14%. I haven’t got time right now, but an interesting way of picking possible Liberal gains would be to look at the margins back then.

    And here’s a scary thought for Labor: assuming the above happens and the Greens get just the two they’re expected to, the numbers end up as: Lib 45 / ALP 24 / Nat 16 / Grn 2 / Ind 6. If Labor do just that little bit worse, and if the Nats manage to win back Dubbo, Tamworth or even Port Macquarie (I doubt that one) from the independents, Labor could end up with less seats than the Nationals, ie: be the third party. Doesn’t mean much in terms of forming governments, but it’d be embarrassing… kinda like the reverse version of when the Nats ended up with more seats than the Libs in the early 80’s.

  10. The best chance of the ALP in Marrickville would be the Liberal overtaking the Green with a strong performance. Carmel might be out of a job after the election which would be a disaster for politics

    I did not see you with any objections when Rudd was polling 58-42 2PP, do you only have objection when the polls are bad for the ALP?

  11. William

    have you done any analysis of the Penrith preference flow (was there any)?

    some small matter happened at the end of last week, which took over all news coverage

  12. marktwain

    The horrors in NSW is that we have had Carr, Iemma, KK and Reese over the last 6 years as NSW premier, and only 1 election to vote them out

    and if you guys think that Iemma was a cardboard cut out, did you guys see the lemon NSW Libs had at the last election, FOB and his Farkards are not much to be afraid of

    When the QLD ALP treasurer said that they are better than NSW ALP, who had done nothing for the last 10 years…

  13. Dovif

    I think that as Ayres won on primaries the NSW electoral commission did not do a preference flow. If you follow the Penrith by election link to the live results it is discussed on the last page.

  14. Someone should mention that it’s a terrible result for O’Farrell because KK is leading the preferred premier, just to annoy Antony Green…..

  15. I am amazed the NSW Right hasn’t changed leader again because obviously that solves all their problems 😉 Oh well. Hopefully the moderate libs will have the numbers to keep the crazies in control.

  16. [The best chance of the ALP in Marrickville would be the Liberal overtaking the Green with a strong performance.]

    The Libs don’t even run a campaign in Marrickville. They got 12% last time, to the Greens’ 32% and Tebbutt’s 46%. To win Marrickville, Tebbutt will have to outpoll the Green by several percent and then hope that Lib preferences exhaust.

  17. [yep if NSW Labor ever wanted to get to know their rusted on voters there’s never been a better time 43 minutes ago via TweetDeck ]

    From Poss. Says it all really, and at 25% primary vote there aren’t too many ‘rusted ons’ left.

  18. Ah statistics statistics.

    Most of us are over it. We just want an election ASAP to rid ourselves of NSW Labor. The same could be said of Federal Labor. Fortunately for Labor most of the electorate don’t follow political machinations. Consequently the electorate has missed the exodus of the people that stuffed NSW Labor to Canberra. In fact most of the pundits have missed Obeid’s contribution to the downfall of Rudd.

    There are very dark clouds looming on the Australian political scene. A scene is being set that is very similar to the 1960s. All true believers should batten down the hatches because we in for a very bumpy night.

    Who is our saving grace? I would be ashamed to be Australian if the electorate thinks that Lady MacBeth is the answer.

  19. Bird of paradox I think you’ve used the last election’s number for Lakemba and Cabramatta. There were large swings against both when the bi-elections for Iemma and Reba Meagher.

  20. hamish coffee

    maybe the ALP’s Marrickville strategy should be vote 1 Liberals preference ALP, but Tebbett would be a loss for NSW politics

  21. After personally witnessing two thirds of the Greens vote at Emu Plains PS exhaust, and just twice as many flowing to Labor as to Liberal, there are two things to take away:

    1. This will more closely resemble a first-past-the-post election than any other election ever done in Australia. I don’t think the commentary sufficiently takes that into account. Given that, the Greens chances in seats like Marrickville, Blue Mountains and Coogee are much lower than people expect – the wider public still swing between the two major parties. (That’s how I read the UK election)

    2. By some amazing cosmic event, should the Greens win the balance-of-power, it would be the death knell for them if they propped up the Labor government with a power-sharing arrangement. Given the exhaust rate, the only legitimate outcome could be minority government.

  22. Voters like KK more than O’Barrell, but she can’t save Labor in March 2011, so how many Labor MPs will be left after the trainwreck?

  23. Doviv (12) “I did not see you with any objections when Rudd was polling 58-42 2PP, do you only have objection when the polls are bad for the ALP?”

    I think it has more to do with the fact that not even the most partisan labor hack thinks the ALP are even going to get close, let alone win the election. That’s a pretty rare thing in Australian Politics. (Even if middle of 07 you had people claiming “the narrowing!” even when the mood for change was clear).

    There has been a few times where incumbents have been all but ensured a win 6 months out, but never as certain as an alp loss in NSW (and it’s still 18 months to go!)

    Perhaps the last time an incumbent was so clearly getting tossed out would have been the State Bank election in SA 1993.

  24. One of the things I find perplexing is this:

    Clearly, anyone who is going to give their effective preference to the ALP now is not someone whom the ALP can discourage from continuing to do so. KK could dance naked on the harbour foreshores and they’d still vote ALP. (Hmm … that might actually get them a few)

    Being serious though I can’t but wonder why they don’t do the politicval equivalent what any self-respecting team that is way behind in a cricket match do when all reasonable chance of victory is gone in a must win game — swing for the bleachers.

    As others have pointed out, we have optional preferential here in NSW. People like me will vote Green and exhaust. Why not come out with an unambiguously left-of-centre and green program and run hard with it? What would be the downside of that? Unless they change the game they will be not merely beaten but absolutely flogged. If the rusted on supporters can say — here’s why we need to support the government and stop O’Farrell, then the foot soldiers will not only vote but campaign and donate. O’Ffarrell will have to actually say something in response and that could open up divisions on his side, and prevent him running a simple I-‘m-not-the-corrupt-and-tired-ALP campaign. Right now, few if anyone takes State government initiatives seriously. One suspects the bureaucracy is readying itself for its new insect overlords even now. So tjhey need something spectacular.

    It can’t really backfire in any meaningful sense. Whether someone in a marginal is beaten by 5% or 15% is neither here nor there, and realistically anyone now in a marginal is likely to be beaten by 15% even now. Whether the ALP winds up with 25/99 or 20/99 or even 15/99 is again, neither here nor there. So there’s virtually no downside.

    If they change the game, they might hold onto some of those marginals and shore up those that aren’t. Instead of getting flogged, they might just get well beaten, and if the Libs self-destruct — look at the preselection wrnagling there right now — well the ALP could be back in the game. Or it might make no practical difference but at least you have gone down swinging. The loyal get a few moments of hope and righteousness to console themselves with.

    I’d understand a small target thing if they were down 53-47, but let’s face it, you are never coming back from 61-39, 8 months out unless you go large and get lucky.

  25. 25# In most cases I agree, the swing will be between the major parties. But in Marrickville, the major parties are the Greens and Labor – Council has reflected this for ages. Tebbutt is a good minister and her recent pamphlets have been pushing her green credentials very hard, but, if an election were held today, she would lose her seat. Who the Greens select as their candidate (they have a couple of good councillors and a couple of attention-seeking doomsaying Nimbys on council) could well decide Marrickville.

    In my opinion, the Greens have huge chances in Balmain and Marrickville and really very slim chances in Coogee and the Blue Mountains. I think their chances in Heffron are pretty well zero while Keneally remains so popular. A phrase that I’ve heard again and again on the news is that people would vote for Keneally but won’t vote for Labor. If the polls don’t go up for Labor, Keneally may end up as the only beneficiary of her popularity. Further, most people who will change their vote are working-class (aspirationals). Heffron, while having a large working-class vote, also has the most public housing in NSW and you can be sure that that vote is all but anchored – many tenants have never seen a Lib or Green before, let alone had them run bbqs etc at the housing estates. You vote for who looks after you, after all.

  26. Would be nice if liberals campaign/preference strategically – play doggo in Balmain/Marrickville and use the funds for the common good in Fairfield 👿

  27. Mark Tobin on Twitter:

    [Greens MP Sylvia Hale is hoping to switch from Upper House to Lower House by winning Greens pre-selection for the seat of Marrickville.]

    Bird of Paradox asked:

    [Just-relevant aside: William, does the blog software support tables?)]

    No, I believe not.

  28. Laocoon

    The member for Fairfield had probably branch stacked the electorate

    There will probably be 10 votes for every John Smith living in the electorate

  29. I would be quite disturbed if Ms Gillard began showing some “balls”. Abbott in his budgie smugglers was already TMI.

    On a more serious not, is it not possible in this marginally more inclusive age to describe firm resolve on matters of ethical or public policy principle other than by reference to attributes of male anatomy?

    I’d like to think so.

  30. Silvia Hale…just when one thought public administration in NSW could not get any worse…Here is a bit more detail…
    [New South Wales Greens MP Sylvia Hale is hoping to switch from the state’s Upper House to the Lower House and snatch the inner Sydney seat of Marrickville from Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt.

    Most people thought Ms Hale was retiring from politics when she announced last year that she would not stand for re-election for the Upper House spot she has held since 2003.

    But it has emerged she is facing off against Marrickville Deputy Mayor Fiona Byrne for preselection for the electorate held by Ms Tebbutt, ahead of next year’s state election.

    The winner will be declared next week.]

  31. A big Liberal majority will have lots of eccentric one-termers and how many will run as independents in 2015? Liberals elected from normally Labor seats are likely to be socially conservative. Will there be a safe injecting room or school ethics classes by 2012? Maybe the ALP national executive can force a clean-out of the remaining deadwood before 2015?

  32. 30# I think you’ll find that the light rail & the new national park in the South West are both aimed squarely at Green preferences

    [Greens MP Sylvia Hale is hoping to switch from Upper House to Lower House by winning Greens pre-selection for the seat of Marrickville.]

    Now that’s a way to make the Greens lose Marrickville. Fiona Byrne is by far the more sensible one. I remember seeing Hale in Martin Place, giving a speech about women in Iran (they are exploited, Government does nothing etc). I have a Masters in IR and an interest in the region, so went up and asked her afterwards what she thinks we should do about it. She said ‘economic sanctions.’ This killed me a bit because it was these very economic sanctions that drove Iran toward Syria and away from any form of friendly relations with the west – they are hardly going to convince Iran to treat their women better. I explained this but no dice, because she didn’t see any other way, so I left it at that. Basically, I think Hale has a very narrow, a very black and white view of society.

    Hale would be a truly collosal mistake. This is the person who thought she was a prosecutor at budget estimates, asking public servants if they had anything to do with the murder of Tony McGurk. That was disgusting. Truly attention-seeking reactionary garbage.

    Byrne, on the other hand, would offer a young, articulate and moderate alternative to Tebbutt, and importantly, an alternative that would contest elections to come (with due respect to Hale, her wiki page says that she graduated from her first degree in 1964, so she’s have to be at least 65 now, so she won’t be contesting Marrickville for the long term). A true crossroads moment for the Greens I’d say.

  33. Now that Kevin has been sacrificed for the good of the party – why weren’t KK et al forced to sacrifice themselves for the good of the party – all it would have taken was one little no confidence motion in themselves.

  34. Nate at 21:

    [ Bird of paradox I think you’ve used the last election’s number for Lakemba and Cabramatta. There were large swings against both when the bi-elections for Iemma and Reba Meagher. ]

    That’s just copied straight over from Antony’s pendulum, with 13.7% subtracted. He included the new figure for Ryde due to the change of party, but not the other two. (Also, that was pre-Penrith by-election.)

  35. Fran @ 30

    You really are clutching at straws. Even if they did follow your plan, they would probably not deliver, or more likely would not deliver as it would just have been a cynical ploy to suck people like you in. If you want change in NSW and you want it from the left, vote for the Greens.

    Frankly the NSW ALP is such a rabble they are beyond redemption at least in this and the next term. After 2011, they might get the federal intervention they deserve (if they still do that). The way things are going, 2011 will become Year Zero for the NSW ALP. The best way to start would be for every surviving MP to get up and explain themselves before a large panel of the rank and file. Those that don’t deliver, out.

  36. If the Greens came up with a well known candidate for Blue Mountains, I think they might just manage it, if Penrith was any guide at all. Looking at the 2007 federal results (not ideal but most accessible), the Greens have a serious base to work with in the upper Blue Mountains – Katoomba, Leura, Blackheath, etc. A good vote in the lower Blue Mountains a la Penrith, they might just overtake Labor.

    Depending who the personalities are – is Phil Koperberg running again? – it could be one to watch.

  37. Well I will be campaigning for The Greens this time, as I have in the past, blackburnpseph but I still think I’d like to see the ALP make some sort of attempt to do this. It might mean that the defeat can be put into a context in which chnage will come more quickly.

  38. #30. My research on the 1932 NSW election suggests that although Lang Labor was smashed they did better going down fighting than Labor in other states.

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