Newspoll: 61-39 to Coalition in NSW

Courtesy of GhostWhoVotes, the latest bi-monthly Newspoll shows the executioner’s axe continuing to hang over the head of the Labor government in New South Wales, although they have just slightly out-performed their all-time low in the previous poll. The Coalition’s two-party lead is down from 63-37 to 61-39, although the primary vote changes are fairly minor: Labor up one to 24 per cent, the Coalition down one to 45 per cent, the Greens down two to 15 per cent and others up two to 16 per cent. Barry O’Farrell has taken a six point hit on approval to 42 per cent after what looks like an aberrant result last time, and his disapproval is up one to 33 per cent. Kristina Keneally is down on both approval (three points to 35 per cent) and disapproval (one point to 49 per cent). The “uncommitted” result for each is up substantially. Keneally has slightly narrowed the gap on preferred premier, from 42-35 to 40-35.

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.

155 thoughts on “Newspoll: 61-39 to Coalition in NSW”

  1. A few percent here or there makes no difference. Labor is in serious trouble and needs a magnificent campaign and big Lib mistakes to avoid a historic loss. The campaign will start mid Feb so for me I’d say 6 weeks isn’t enough for labor even with a South Australia style marginal campaign they are doomed…. Doomed.

  2. Add to that, Mod Lib, that 24% is a 1% boost on an earlier poll. Who are they indeed?

    The challenge might be to get above 25% primary. Fatty O’Barrell could announce any amount of privatisations right down to Births and Marriages and couple that with fee and tax increases and it would still be hard to see Labor primary increasing.

  3. There was a rumour/speculation in the media that Eddie Obeid might retire. Does anyone know if there is any hope or truth in that?

    While I know that it is normal in Australian politics not to pursue the personal, in this case it would be interesting to see just how many ex NSW State Labor politicians have been personally enriched while in office in this shamelessly compromised government. From property deals to mining licenses, there have been far too many conflicts of interest, reminiscent of Joh-era Queensland. I’d bet there are quite a few leaving with millions in personal assets, even before their parliamentary super is considered. If these “servants of the working class” think that is OK, they should ask a nurse or teacher how easy it is to buy a house in Sydney on a basic public service wage.

    Good riddance when this lot are gone.

  4. I commented a while ago about the problem with another State governments foregoing collecting of developer levies so that a huge backlog of infrastructure and financial liabilities accumulate. Here is another textbook example in NSW:

    Why am I so against such cave-ins? Because there is NO evidence that it makes any difference to house prices. Developes will sell the properties for what they can get on the market whether they pay a reasonable fee or not. All this does is increase their profits at pubic expense. Meanwhile the lack of said infrastructure limits the number of areas that can be developed and thus land supply, locking us into an absurdly over-rpiced market. Stupid or corrupt? That is the problem with NSW State Labor: you can’t see the corruption for the incompetence.

    It will take decades, and billions, to fix Sydney after State Labor are gone. There are many years worth of additional financial liabilities already locked into the system.

  5. >>What R they thinking???

    They are probably the proportion of the population who have a clear memory of the shambles the Greineristas so efficiently wrought in public education, social services, child welfare, prisons, public transport, housing etc etc. They also remember the corruption of the Nationals during that time and worry when they see them already planning the deals for THEIR coronies.

    They are probably aware of and understand the dangers of the far right wing christian fundamentalists (both Opus Dei and protestant) pulling the strings of dopey O’Farrell and the other “leaders” of the Liberals.

  6. I have no idea Albert, but that does not mean the incumbents deserve their jobs. They only got elected by default last time. They care nothing about Labor Party values; they damage the brand.

    Even if the opposition is hopeless, a lot of the current patronage systems will have to end, so at last the corruption will reduce in the short term. Queensland did change after Joh was gone. I would say to NSW voters: keep changing governments until you get one worth keeping. Hopefully the party will reform in opposition, and the self-serving will give up their hold on the carcass.

  7. >>BTW Albert, would you seriously suggest there are not corrpt right wing religeous findamentalists in the NSW Labor right?

    I certainly wouldn’t. I am no Frank’n’Ron. In fact I see no difference between the ALP and the Lib/Nats here in NSW other than that the RCs in the ALP seem have more representatives of a Mediterranean persuasion.

    I am simply terrified of what atrocities Adrian Piccoli who originally hails from Griffiths has in mind for public education

  8. [Even if the opposition is hopeless, a lot of the current patronage systems will have to end, so at last the corruption will reduce in the short term.]

    I think that is essential, Socrates. Our two-party system really requires us to make the governing party accountable.

    In Victoria a far less crooked government, that by various state standards was relatively competent, was sacked. There were indeed too many closed-door insider deals but what really sank them was failure on public transport. And deservedly so. The public is entitled to some say whatever the alternative.

    The point of Obeid and others getting out raises another one about what Mod lib and I had speculated. Could the primary vote actually increase above 24% if enough of these types go?

    You’re right, Socrates, there must be a bit of purgatory.

  9. One interesting thing to contemplate about this is the likely effect on opinions of the Federal government.

    I know the “received wisdom” is that once the NSW boil is lanced that things will start to flow back to Labor federally in that state. My suspicion is that it isn’t quite as simple as that, although it is probably true in the longer term.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to actually see the inevitable change in government in NSW accompanied by a further fall in labor Federal popularity for a while. THis is purely impressionistic / gut feeling based, but I reckon there is often actually a “honeymoon” period for a few months, during which there is a tendency for voters’ federal opinions to follow their state voting behaviour, especially if they are voters who have “swung” in the State election, before. This seems to right itself after a while, but if I’m right then JG is likely to have some pretty awkward results during the period immediately following the NSW election.

    Anyone seen any actual research about such things? My feeling, for example, is that this has actually occurred in Victoria in recent weeks.

  10. Albert

    Your fears about Piccoli might well be realised. But the current mess can’t go on. reelecting a corrupt incompetent government won’t reform them. Hopefully, the NSW Liberals will be turfed in four years time.


    Interesting you mentioned public transprot as a key factor in Victoria, as transport planning is my day job. If I seem grumpy at many State governments it is because so many have turned transport management over to a bunch of bean counters who know nothing about how the systems work, underfund it, and then wonder why it collapses when we have one of the highest populaiton growth rates in the OECD.

    The minister I thought who did this job best in the past decade was Alannah McTiernan in WA. They are trying hard in Qld too now, and things will improve with the rail upgrade in Adelaide as well (though I am worried they may have stuffed the O Bahn extension into town). But our two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are a mess. No consistent plan, no long term program with funding, no clear strategy. The Regional Rail Link project (stimulus money) in Melbourne is a big step forward, so Victoria may have turneed the corner, but too late. Sydney still has a way to go.

  11. [Hopefully, the NSW Liberals will be turfed in four years time.]

    and replaced with what?

    Our only hope after that would be if Kang and Kodos decide to run in NSW instead of the US.

    The Libs will be fine and anything other than this shambolic pile of corruption will be wonderful.

  12. Election night in March 2011 will be a fine example of televised electoral carnage. From a psephological point of view it will be fascinating to see what real electoral carnage looks like.

    Also interesting will be to see how many seats the ALP can get 50% or above in and in how many they poll single figures. My guess on the latter could be 15 -20.

    If the Libs did some tactical preferencing of the Greens, they could cause some serious damage, perhaps even take out KK herself, and Carmel Tebbutt. The Libs probably. Even in the historical heartlands such as Balmain, it is conceivable that the ALP might come third.

  13. Why would the Libs preference the Greens with OPV? Wouldn’t happen.

    As I’ve said before, the NSW Libs are a group of sincere right-wing nutters, far worse than any state (possibly apart from SA). The NSW Greens are generally considered the most left-wing of any state Greens. Certainly from my experience they are the most uncompromising. I also think that, ironically given the truth in advertising push by the far better minds in the Federal Greens, the NSW Greens mislead the public even more than the majors. Certainly in my area, where the Greens are strong, we are constantly bombarded with misinformation and letters from ‘local community groups’ that turn out to be Green fronts.

    As for corruption, ICAC has said again and again, as recently as a couple of weeks ago, that there is no evidence of corruption in planning or other aspects of the government. Only D’Amore and the former Penrith MP, who both got in trouble for stuffing up parliament forms – hardly things that affect the greater state – have done anything, yet this perception remains. If you say something enough, people will believe it.

  14. [As for corruption, ICAC has said again and again, as recently as a couple of weeks ago, that there is no evidence of corruption in planning or other aspects of the government.]

    How many NSW Labor pollies had adverse corruption findings from ICAC?

  15. Hamish

    I am not suggesting crimes have been committed. If you understand the system, there are many ways decisions can be made that are unethical, against the public interest and massively benefit individuals in power. I say again – lots of NSW politicians have enriched themselves at public expense. To me that is corruption. I am not suggesting they will ever face a court.

    The cambridge on-line dictionary has the following definition of corrupt:
    [dishonestly using your position or power to your own advantage, especially for money]

    The word illegal does not get mentioned. So you can be corrupt without breaking the law.

  16. Hamish

    How many NSW Labor ex-State politicians would you say are millionaires apart from the value of their home? Or do they all live in modest workers cottages west of Parramatta?

  17. It’s very difficult to determine what the most likely result will be, except to say that the Coalition will win easily.

    The ALP could lose between twenty and thirty seats, depending on where the swings hit hardest.

    A number of those may well be won back by the ALP at the 2015 election just due to electoral gravity.

    O’Farrell, unless there is some great stench of corruption associated with his govt, will have eight clean years to do whatever it is he wants to do.

    However, he will have the same problem all new govts have, especially when the people have turfed out the previous govt emphatically. That is, being able to show real and clear improvements in all the things the public want better.

    It’s not clear to me what it is he wants to achieve, if anything, except to remove the current govt. Maybe he’ll be lucky and maybe that’ll be enough for the public, we’ll have to wait and see. But I suspect it won’t be.

    I would hope the likes of Steve Whan holds his seat in Monaro and, if so, goes on to become the Leader of the Opposition. He would be a good choice. A relative clean skin. But I fear Uncle Fester might get the guernsey.

    As for Keneally, you have to admire her guts. She knows they are heading for a kicking, yet she fronts up, day after day, taking the hits and wearing them. That takes a particular kind of resolve.

  18. Those two that I mentioned, for defrauding the parliament. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but something like signing forms saying that their staff were in parliament when in fact they were at their electorate office (or maybe the other way, something like that). Point is that certain corners of politics and the media constantly scream about, say, corruption in the planning process, when none has ever been revealed.

    This Government is one that has pushed high-density development in the city (which, for the record, I as an environmentalist believe in) – which I suppose invites attacks – but there has been no evidence of anything but due process. I love it when the people who bleat corruption at every turn later complain that they can’t afford low-density housing in the inner city and what is the Government going to do about it!? I read a former Greens candidate say exactly that in the local paper a few weeks ago. Kind of reminded me of an old Chaser headline ‘Outrage: Low-income students can’t afford to live in highly-desirable inner-city terrace.’

  19. 22- I wouldn’t have the slightest clue and don’t really see the relevance. I don’t believe that they have received money from dishonest means if that’s what you are insinuating. And if it is, I’d like to see otherwise.

    23- “It’s very difficult to determine what the most likely result will be, except to say that the Coalition will win easily.” That’s a pretty good line.

  20. With optional pref voting……. if some one votes for a minor party such as the greens they need to consider if they’ll extend their preferences or not. A green vote can be a liberal vote if they choose not to. eg alp 38% Lib 42 % 17% …… if most green votes exhaust….. the libs win……….

  21. Alan Kohler in today’s Business Spectator:
    (  )

    “After reading the NBN business plan it’s actually a bit hard to remain aloof and unexcited. This is a magnificent, awe-inspiring undertaking: there has never been anything like it, not in this country and probably not anywhere in the world.”


    “Not only will the NBN not be a white elephant it will almost certainly prove to be a great investment. In fact, without wishing to get carried away (too late do you think?) it could represent, on its own, a huge national savings plan. When it’s finished the asset will be worth several times the government’s investment of $27.5 billion.”

    Argue against that at your peril MT!!…. 🙂 🙂

  22. Hamish

    I respect your sincerity, and agree inner city redevelopment has been a good thing. But from my own work I am aware of numerous examples in NSW planning and development decisions where process has been a sham. For example people working on NW Sydney regional planning were explicitely told to take required rail/PT corridors off the maps before public display. What they have promised they don’t deliver. Then there are the numerous cases of major developments, notably in the Hunter, approved against departmental advice despite massive long term liabilities. Or consider Homebush, and all the promises of clean up and redevelopment after the Olympics.

    There are numerous othe areas of NSW government that need reform (ie cost cutting) notably Sydney rail. Inquiries found people had stolen government property and they didn’t even get sacked. Costs in several areas are 25% to 30% more than in Qld or Victoria. So the whole economy carries a lot of baggage.

    The cost of inner city terraces is not the point. The fact is average property prices in Sydney are high by world standards and Australian historical trends. Whether inner or outer urban, there hasn’t been enough housing provided. The problem is hard to fix because there hasn’t been enough of the supporting infrastructure built to allow more housing to be built. These are all issues under State control. They have failed.

  23. I’ll believe it when I see it. The government’s record is no worse now than it was in 2007. In fact it was worse in the lead-up to the 2007 election than it is now. I was flabbergasted that good people of NSW returned such a clusterf*** to power then, and it would not surprise me if they do the same again. Polls, schmolls.

  24. >>As for Keneally, you have to admire her guts. She knows they are heading for a kicking, yet she fronts up, day after day, taking the hits and wearing them. That takes a particular kind of resolve.

    Or stupid.

    >>I read a former Greens candidate say exactly that in the local paper a few weeks ago.

    I don’t suppose there has ever been a case of a former ALP candidate/member saying something stupid.

    >>Certainly in my area, where the Greens are strong, we are constantly bombarded with misinformation and letters from ‘local community groups’ that turn out to be Green fronts.

    As opposed to ALP and Liberal Party front groups?

  25. Socrates, thank you for your reasoned reply, all valid points. I’m not saying that this Government hasn’t had faults, clearly all governments do, but I do understand and to a point defend their thinking in planning. I’m not involved in ‘the process’, so while I do appreciate the need for reform, only really know it from the perspective of my work, which I believe the Government has done well in.

  26. How many inner west residential properties do members of the NSW ALP own? Why did they persist with the Inner West Metro plan for so long in the face of overwhelming disapproval? Why did the NSW ALP go to the 2007 election with a “state transport plan” which was 90 per cent made up of the Inner West Metro and improvements to Victoria Road through Sydney’s Inner West?

  27. 31 – Albert, I was making an observation that the Greens in the inner-city are hypocrits for constantly demanding transparency and truth yet, in my opinion, mislead the public more than even the majors. Not anywhere did I say that non-Greens never say anything stupid or form fronts, but it is doubly noteworthy for the Greens because they run on such a ‘pure’ image of ‘protecting the community,’ when in fact, in my area, their supposed protection is often simply politically driven lies, embellishments and scares to the tune of ‘if this is approved, what’s to stop 300 mines/20 story apartments/millions of cars hurting our way of life.’ I have no objection to them actually running scare campaigns, all parties do it, but I intend to highlight the hypocracy and BS of all parties when they indulge in this habit – and as I said, in my area, the Greens excel far more than the majors, yet get exposed half as often.

  28. The NSW ALP retained power in 2007 because the Liberal Party committed suicide with their internal leadership turmoil.

    The planning laws in NSW needs to change. Currently, the biased toward protecting propery value is preventing high density housing from being build. If the Australian population is expected to hit 35 million, Sydney will have a population of 10 million!! We need Asian style housing estate : no parking, 50 floor, 8 x 2 bedroom units to a level @50 square meters, and 8 buildings to a block. The apartments will be located 15 minutes away from the city by train, and priced around 150K. It’ll be an environmentalist dream and everyone else’s worse nightmare.

  29. The basis of democracy is that you have to change your government every now & then even if the opposition isn’t something worth praising – which at this stage the Lib/Nats surely are not. Unfortunately we in NSW have left it one election to long to do this & Fatty O’Barrell can “do & say” nothing in the lead up & will still walk into the job.

  30. This is the paradox of democracy as plebiscitary dictatorship.

    Right now, all the Liberals have to do to win is nothing. They don’t have to announce any policies or persuade anyone that they’d do a better job. In fact, it might even be better if they don’t. Once people have made up their mind to chuck out the government, it’s better that they not be forced to confront whom they’ll be inserting, since there ereally is no other option.

    The Lib slogan could be Vote NotLabor for a Change! and that would do it In fact they don’t even need to run an ad campaign beyond the strictly pro-forma. People are sick of ads. Put one laid back ad on TV every hour (softly spoken reassuring voice: Throw them out: you know you want to {pictures of Roozendale and Sartor and Keneally and even Arbib}), stick up a few posters, pose for happy snaps and keep the bulk of the campaign money. Say nothing definitive. A few puffy feelgood slogans about getting the state back on track and tidying up the mess and off you go.

    Of course, by this time next year everyone who isn’t rusted onto the Liberals will know it made not a scrap of difference. A new cast of ugly characters will be in charge. Those of us on the left can take some pleasure in the fact that the ALP-right will have been gutted and that there is the possibility that maybe what remains of the ALP will be a little less sordid.

    In my case, living in Greg Smith’s electorate, my vote is, as always absolutely useless and irrelevant. There’s no prospect at all that my vote or my preference could make a difference — not now and not ever. Then again, that’s going to be true of almost everyone in practice so I’ve really no business complaining about it. The system is designed to ensure most people’s votes are irrelevant.

  31. Thanks for that info on transport, Socrates. I’m not surprised you rate McTiernan highly. I’ve heard the Perth metro rail system really went against the trend plaguing other capitals.

  32. While only 2 (which is bad enough) NSW ALP MPs had been found guilty of corruption. This does not mean corruption had not happened, it just means that nothing can been proven beyond reasonable doubt. It also does not mean that when the Liberal comes into power, and set up commissions, that more NSW ALP MPs would not be charged.

    The fact that ALP councillors in Wollongong was caught in a planning scandal, and Keannelly saw fit to ban developer donations shows that there is some reason to worry about corruption.

    Ethnic classes would teaches you that a person of higher standing, need to make decision with actual independance, but they also need to make decisions with perceived independance. So that the public does not lose faith in the decision making process of the government.

    Kennelly allowing developer to make donation again, which may/may not have any effect on them getting their development plans approved, makes it difficult for them to fulfill their perceived independance obligation and makes the public less likely to trust this government.

    Another example is, Bob Carr, prior to his retirement, started the desalination plant bidding, the bidding was won by Macquarie bank, within a month of leaving parliament, Carr was a director of Macquarie bank. While every decision might have been made correctly. It could be preceived that Macquarie bank will makes 10 million a year from this deal and Bob Carr will be paid $1 million a year as a director.

    Adding to this all the lies about building transport infrastructure in NSW, where every election they rolls out the same lies of NW railline and within 2 weeks of winning the election, they have scrapped it. The wastes and fraud that in happening in Cityrail.

    The traffic congestions that happens every morning on the M4 and M5, caused by the lack of planning by this government

    There is absolutely no doubt that this government deserves what it gets comes March

    When most ALP supporters I work with, and most ALP supporters on this site are saying this ALP government is abysmal …. that is saying something

  33. I do not know why the Liberals are required by ALP supporter to give out everyone of their plans 6 months before the election…. apart from any mistakes will be picked at by the ALP

    The only thing the Liberals … a government in waiting should have done in the last 2 years is to develope a NSW recovery plan…. ie plan as if they were already in government, if they have not done this they are idiots.

    And there is no reason to release anything other than the briefest of pollicies, the issue of this election is the NSW ALP, and how they failed NSW completely for the last 10 years. Why shift the focus to anything else

  34. [As for Keneally, you have to admire her guts. She knows they are heading for a kicking, yet she fronts up, day after day, taking the hits and wearing them. That takes a particular kind of resolve.]

    That’s right – no-one could ever turn this sinking ship around, so good on her.

    She could have easily preserved herself my jumping off like the other rats, or fleeing to federal politics like Arbib – but she stayed and will cop the brunt of this upcoming defeat.

  35. [It’s the Oprah effect……….a few more visits from U.S talk show hosts & Kristina could do the impossible in March]

    Evan – why do you have so much schadenfreude when it comes to ALP women?

  36. [And there is no reason to release anything other than the briefest of pollicies, the issue of this election is the NSW ALP, and how they failed NSW completely for the last 10 years. Why shift the focus to anything else]

    Usually you would want to know what the alternative is, as there is always the possibility that they could be much worse.

    That is what happened with Howard in 96, no policies and got elected in a landslide. promptly lost around 9 ministers to various scandals, absolutely clueless on the economy, more intent on vengeance after 13 years in opposition than governing and only scrapped in in 98 with less than 49% of the 2PP.

    I suppose the libs in NSW think if they run like Howie on some vague all encompassing policies then they will not cop much flak when they start cutting services imposing the ideals of their mad right and looking after their mates.

    No doubt the libs will win in 2011, labor deserve to lose, but it would be good for the libs if they took a principled stand before the election as you note and said this is what we plan to do when elected.

  37. Richard Farmer had a piece in today’s Crikey email suggesting that so much of the swing going to the Greens cf the last election result shows disenchantment with the two-party system.

    Not only is his summary a little bit dubious (calling the Greens the big beneficiary when they are supposedly getting six points cf. the Coalitions eight) but looking at the Victorian and Tasmanian state elections you can see that even if the polls show a large slice of the swing from an ailing Labor government going to the Greens, on election day far more of it goes to the Coalition. Indeed Victoria was remarkable because not that far out from the election polling was showing nearly all the swing going Green and in the end it nearly all went Coalition.

  38. It will certainly be a train wreck. And that will be bad not only for Labor but also for the incoming government and the people of NSW.

    A big majority results in an arrogant, unwieldy government and a weak opposition.

  39. Castle

    While the 96 Liberals lost a few minister, that was not the reason for the 99 close election. The public always give a government a second term

    The only reason the ALP got so close was the lies of the scare campaign on the GST. Note not many of the 130 countries around the world that has a sales tax, GST, VAT etc compaigns much now, and note the ALP is quite happy with the GST now.

  40. I’ve got the script for the TV ad now.

    “A big majority results in an arrogant, unwieldy government and a weak opposition.

    Trust us, we know these things.

    We’ve been proving it true now since 1999.

    Vote Labor.”

    Should I work in advertising or what? 😉

Comments Page 1 of 4
1 2 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *