Galaxy: 66-34 to Coalition in NSW

I don’t have comprehensive data to hand, but I believe NSW Labor has recorded the worst opinion poll result in Australian history. The Galaxy Research survey of 800 respondents (margin of error about 3.5 per cent) has Labor’s primary vote on 20 per cent (yes, 20 per cent), just five points clear of the Greens. With 51 per cent, the Coalition can make a rare claim to an absolute majority of the primary vote. On two-party preferred, the Coalition has an (I think) unprecedented lead of 66-34, pointing to a swing of over 18 per cent – which if uniform would reduce Labor to about 14 seats out of 93. Though in fact it’s actually worse than that, as optional preferential voting would further starve Labor of Greens preferences.

On top of that, Kristina Keneally’s personal ratings are not what they used to be: she has an approval rating of 30 per cent and a disapproval rating of 62 per cent, putting her in the same sort of territory as Anna Bligh (though we could maybe do with an update on that one). Barry O’Farrell on the other hand would appear to be benefiting from the comparison: he has 53 per cent approval and 33 per cent approval. O’Farrell has a 54-32 lead as preferred premier, which is about as good as it gets for an opposition leader.

Full results from GhostWhoVotes.

UPDATE: I see that Galaxy have asked Greens voters what if anything they will do with their preferences, finding 55 per cent will direct them but 44 per cent will just vote one. This appears to be hardly different from the last election, when about 40 per cent of Greens votes exhausted. However, a) the sample of Greens voters is very small (about 120), and b) the 55 per cent figure presumably includes some who will number more than one box without passing a preference on to either major party.

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.

201 comments on “Galaxy: 66-34 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. Diog, everyone knows that he is going to and will win. So he should do SOMETHING. Else he will be branded as “do nothing” Loafer.

  2. Labor is doing an excellent job of being its own opposition. Why would O’Farrell distract attention from that and muddy the waters?

  3. With reference to two of the posts above:
    – the suburbs in Balimain – Balmain, Annandale, Glebe – are similar to say the suburbs of Richmond and South Melbourne. The seat of Marrickville would equate very much with the seat of Brunswick.
    – I lived in NSW in 1988 and there was fairly general relief in particular that the spectre of Laurie Brereton had gone. My view from now being a non resident is that the mood in NSW would make 1988 look all gooey and lovey toward Labor. Remember also that there is a viable alternative on the left as well.

  4. [What makes you think that Barry O’Farrell will be be a do nothing premier. I think he is showing good signs with his decision to can the Parramatta to Epping railway.]

    The only thing that shows is that he isn’t flexible in his thinking. Considering he has indicated that he will borrow money to build the other two lines, why not just borrow a bit more to get all three rail lines done. Maybe he can even get some more money from the federal government.

    He could be known as the construction premiere, the guy who built more rail lines in 4 years than Labor did in 16, but I guess thats just wishful thinking on my part.

    Other than the rail lines the Coalition is pretty much a policy free zone. I expect they will put most of their energy into boosting Abbott and fighting with Green/Labor controlled councils once they are in.

    NSW politics is pretty depressing 🙁

  5. Interesting. my reason for asking if Belmain was more like Richmond then the Liberals could not win it but if it is like Prahran or Albert Part which have some things in common with Richmond except they are much better for the Liberals, has shown in the recent state result.

  6. I’d say The greens have a good chance in Balmain and Marrickville. First these inner city ALP voters don’t cross to the libs. See the local government election in the Balmain area where almost 50% voted greens and 28% ALP. The Libs gained very little from the crash in ALP vote. So you’d think the ALP vote in the last state election of around 40% and Greens 30% will change without a huge flow to the libs who I think were in the low 20’s. I’d think on these poll numbers Greens would crack 40%. Even more so in Marrickville where the Libs polled well uner 20% last state election. I’d think the ALP is in very serious touble. I just can’t see how the Libs would win these seats. And both of the Greens candidates are Mayors so you’d think the’d have a profile?

  7. Supposedly Labor have given away Balmain, and they’ll try to get Verity Firth a spot in the Upper House when a vacancy comes up.
    As for Marrickville, Albo apparently will be pulling out all the stops to get his wife over the line.

  8. imagine

    Normally i would agree with you except in the Victorian election result we saw in seats like Melbourne, Richmond, Prahran and Albert Park the swing from the ALP mostly went straight to the Liberals.

  9. Hi Mexican beemer
    Yes that is becuase HTV were issues that directed preferences to the ALP in Victoria . In the NSW election the Libs will prob do vote 1 Lib like they did last time. Of course they may preference Greens then it is all over in both seats.

  10. imagine

    sorry I am with Mexicanbeemer on this one

    There is only a certain amount of far left votes, even in an electorate like Marrickville and Balmain. A lot of the ALP collapse will go to the Liberals, so the threat will be whether the Greens will get into 2nd place, and then whether Liberal or ALP will preference them

    When people want a change of government, they are going to vote for the party that will replace the governing party, and that is what you got in Melbourne.

    For a local council, that means voting Green, since the ALP Brand is almost toxic. For state government it will be about the Liberals

  11. On victorian election results checking the figures re comments above, Prahan and albert park Liberals did better on the swings than the Greens however:

    Melbourne – swing to Liberals 5.9% Swing to Greens 4.8%
    Richmond – swing to Liberals 2.9% Swing to Greens 3.8%

    Inner city Melbourne presents a mixed bag – it is really hard to generalise about what happened there. all you can say is that in a couple of the inner city seats both Liberals and Greens increased there vote in tandem. what implications that has for the NSW election I couldn’t guess

  12. The latest ALP internal polling has them winning only 9-10 seats which I can’t see being reflected in the final result. I still see them getting into the low 20’s on the night.

  13. Critical issue here will be ALP getting people out to man polling booths outside the seat they expect to hold or think they have a chance in.

    Will they contract casuals to hand out how to vote cards?

  14. I have reached the conclusion the biggest crime the NSW govt has committed is to have the word ‘labor’ in it.

    The Howard years were an absolute disaster for state / fed funding … states had to do more and more with less and less (and on the whole did it pretty damn well including in NSW) while Howard wasted the money of the boom on middle class welfare, stopping the boats, cutting CGT, whole range of absolute rubbish government.

    If the public service is really struggling I think you’d have to realise that it is because it is underfunded, not overfunded. If there isn’t enough for infrastructure again underfunded. A lib govt is gonna go and fund these things correctly? I don’t think so.

    I accept the govt is old and will go but really I’m pretty sure keeping it would be much much smarter, but then again if you were much much smarter you wouldn’t be whinging on and Labor wouldn’t be polling 20% ish.

    Enjoy the Lib years. Sure all your infrastructure will be perfect public service adequately funded … it will be fun and your taxes wont go up at all.

  15. To Toorak Toff: comparisons to ireland are irrelevant. Though given that some of Ireland’s problems related to developers and their deals perhas the comparison is more apt than I first thought.

    NSW government has been characterised by lack of understanding of what integrity, conflict of interest and an inability to display any conviction about anything except staying in power and making show the perks get shared with their mates. This is a case for returning them to power?

  16. No doubt the coalition will win the next election but I think predictions of a three term government are overblown. Remembering back to 1988 Greiner was elected with a swing against Labor of 10% and a gain of 22 seats but within 3 years was lucky to lead a minority government (if he hadn’t forced an unexpected redistribution he would have been defeated). I am not sure what O’Farrell intends to do (except that he intends to increase government borrowings to finish the NW rail line) but if he is anything like Greiner (and Kennett for that matter) he will be under the delusion that sacking public servants and reducing services will make his government popular and the state more efficient. I think that, like Greiner and Kennett, he might last 7 years.

    The seat I will be following is Wallsend, where I spent my youth. When it has existed it has been Labor since 1897 – in fact it was uncontested between 1965 and 1976 – but on 15% it could go. A liberal member for Wallsend – who could have conceived the thought?

  17. [This is crap. NSW is well governed compared with, say, Ireland, where the economy is in ruins.]

    Toorak Toff:

    I am assuming from your posts and your name that you are not from NSW- is that right? Why do you think 1 in every 2 ALP voters have deserted the party? Just normal “change the govt once in a while” vibe? Lowest poll ratings in history- why? Even of the 20% who say they will still vote for ALP only half say they are committed.

    Thats about 10% commmitted ALP vote.

    Getting the message yet?

  18. Jasmine @ 118

    How do you excuse the mismanagment, the waste of money from abortive projects ($350 million from the Metro alone, hundreds of millions on a failed ticketing system), the poor standard of governance, the ministerial revolving door (isn’t it 208 changes of ministerial responsibility since the 2007 election alone), dodgy planning decisions, a run down rail system, hospitals that are falling down. The NSW Labor government has few achievements in 16 years. It is beyond laughable, it is tragic, and the Libs (assuming they win office) will have to sort out the mess.

    And to say that keeping that shambles of a government would be smarter … seriously what planet are you from?

  19. Toorak Toff @ 117

    [NSW is well governed compared with, say, Ireland]

    . . . or say Khmer Rouge era Cambodia. You do realise that Ireland’s national government has a few more responsibilities than our provincial one. Monetary policy, trade policy, taxation, welfare, immigration . . . all things the Terrigal mafia thankfully didn’t have their hands on.

    Jasmine @ 118

    [but then again if you were much much smarter you wouldn’t be whinging on and Labor wouldn’t be polling 20% ish.]

    No, they wouldn’t be on 20% – they’d have their heads on freaking pikes.

  20. Oakeshott

    I notice from a blog entry on Ben Raue’s Tally Room site that a Newcastle City Councillor, Shayne Connell is planning to run as an independent in Wallsend. Have no idea who he is, but Wallsend could be a show.

    Interesting to note that the Labor vote seems to be soft in the Hunter generally.

    For those wanting good seat by seat analysis then Ben’s site (linked directly from the Bludge) is well worth a visit.

  21. Oakeshott

    Your comments re the 1991 NSW election are most interesting. At the time I was a close friend (before all those who were not politically useful were discarded) of someone who later became a minister in the Carr and Iemma governments. On the Monday after, they told me that the result was a total shock and that they were petrified that they might win as they were so sure of a resounding loss that no preparation had been done for government.

    It is interesting in retrospect to note that not much preparation must have been done for government in 1995 as Bob Carr’s first year was decidedly rocky and a contributor to the big swing to John Howard in outer Sydney in 1996.

  22. A fable? John Howard continued to win elections he did so well in 2004 that he won on his senate majority… he introduced work choices…. then……….. in 2007…… the rest is history. Maybe this will repeat in nsw after March 2011

  23. All those ALP hanger on need to think on this… ALP primary is 20% …. of these 47% is soft support …. think on this for a second

    This abysmal government has alienated everyone who had caught a train, who lived in the infrastructure deprived NW, people who want honesty in government (Metro, Rorts and Electricity pribatisation. Anyone who went to a hospital

    And when you look at who will be left for the ALP, the likes of Noreen Hay, Cherie Burton, Phil Kopenberg, Paul Mckay?

    Quite simply I hope Carmel Tebbett wins and Graham West unretires … there is so little talent in the NSW ALP, that is why they just move from stuff ups to stuff ups

  24. Blackburnpseph,

    1991- I was listening to the 7am ABC news while driving to a booth to set up the ALP stand – I will never forget that the ABC predicted with great certainty that Labor would regain 3 seats – that election night was one of the best! The surprising thing was that Carr nearly blew it 4 years later and only just got across the line (Badgery’s Creek by about 200 votes and that was after the electoral office was set alight) – in his autobiography he describes the lack of talent and enthusiasm in the ALP ranks – it is surprising he was such a successful premier.

  25. Dovif: Koperberg is definitely retiring, and not contesting Blue Mountains again.
    My fear is that Labor will be reduced to less than 20 seats, and pretty much anyone with some talent or potential, like Michael Daley/David Borger/Andrew McDonald/even Nathan Rees, will be gone from parliament, and we’ll be left with John Robertson presiding over a team of hacks like Noreen Hay and Nick Lalich.

  26. Evan 14

    That is my fear too. There need to be some competant opposition for the government and parliament to work properly ,,,, having no opposition is bad for Labor, Liberals and the people of NSW.

    If the semi talent ones leave in this election and the dead wood goes within the next term, it is going take a long time to replace them with someone talented

    Keannelly was probablt the worst thing to happen to NSW ALP … the ALP could have left in dignity ….. but the public is going to remember the last minute sale of NSW lottery and Electricity privatisation for a lot less then their value and a government moving from 1 disaster to another …. it is going to be a while before the ALP is trusted in NSW again …. and that above all is the reason they are on 20% … Keannelly is a disaster…. Reese and Iemma would have done much better

  27. @130 cannot see Michael Daley or any of the others you mentioned losing their seats… they are all consistent labor seats
    @131… the opinion polls are so bad they must be over estimating the Liberal vote… i suspect come the election a more normal result will occur…….. no 2pp vote of over 60% for the libs……. Also each seat at this election will be an individual contest…… not a 16 to 18% 2pp swing

  28. Mick Quinlivan

    The only problem is this is no normal election

    The swing from last election is about 18%, which would wipe out all those mentioned. Those with 11% margins will likelt be gone

  29. No one is pretending that the NSW government is wonderful or free of heaps of political baggage.

    But whereas so many places around the world are political basket cases – Ireland was just one chosen because its government is collapsing at this moment – NSW can boast an AAA credit rating.

    For that most important reason alone, the government does not deserve evisceration.
    Censure Labor by all means, elect the Tories for a few years of self-flagellation if that will make you feel better.

    But you’ll be silly beyond measure if you produce an overblown government and a pitifully weak opposition. No good will come of it.

  30. Oakeshott @ 129

    “it is surprising he was such a successful premier.” – Bob Carr has to take a lot of the blame for the adminstrative and political mess that NSW Labor is now in. After all, he was the leader for 10 of the past 16 years. He was a classic case of spin over substance, always good with the populist soundbyte, but though the Olympics were delivered well, nothing of substance has been delivered and services ran down.

    Of course, he was helped by an absolutely woeful opposition.

  31. Toorak Toff

    An AAA rating means very little in the current context …. you can keep a AAA rating by doing nothing. The NSW ALP have decided to not pay for any infrastruture need of the state for the last 16 year s, which is causing lots of issues. For example the NW rail which is much needed for the state, which should have been build in 2000 (proposed in 1998) and had to be done when Rudd was handing out infrastructure money.

    And when they try to do things … it ends in disaster, example includes new trains, Metro, the Orange and Dubbo hospital, Xcity tunnell

    By not investing in electricity generation, electricity prices had more than tripled

    I agree with Blackburnseph, the fact that NSW Liberals had been awful, contributed to the longevity of this government

  32. I will agree with you Dovif regarding the AAA rating, NSW would be in a much better state now if the government had not been so fixated on the credit rating and Michael Egan had not been so mean when it came to capital invetsment.

  33. NSW is a fast-growing state which is bulging in inappropriate places. These things are not easily managed in a democracy. Planning and decent infrastructure are absolutely necessary. But so is financial stability. There must be a balance and it isn’t easy.

    In SA, the State Bank collapsed and Labor, which happened to be in government at the time, copped the blame. Labor was reduced to ten lower house members (and then achieved a cricket team with an unexpected by-election win). Meanwhile, the Liberal premier with the biggest majority in the state’s history, Dean Brown, was overthrown in a palace revolt by John Olsen, who just scraped home in the next election.

    So beware!

  34. – Mick Quinlivan at 132

    I am amazed when people say things like “come the election a more normal result will occur..”. It reminds me of Liberal supporters before the 2007 federal election who thought John Howard could still pull it off. The NSW ALP has had diabolically bad polls for over 18 months now, not much will change.

    Even if they managed a 5% improvement in their primary vote, they would still be looking at swings of over 12%. I think the giveaway is that Kristina is out doing meet and greets in Parramatta and Blacktown (on 13% and 22% margins respectively). I don’t think she will be doing much campaigning in seats under a 10% margin.

    For those of you outside NSW not understanding the strength of feeling in NSW should look at any story in Daily Telegraph online and read the reader’s comments. I am a Liberal voter and some of the comments make me blush.

  35. While the NSW ALP is a shambles, the government has some competent ministers who seem to be keeping the ship of state afloat reasonably well for now – until they are torpedoed, scuttled and sunk to the bottom of the deep blue sea.

  36. One “left field” thought from watching the Victorian floods as they slowly, slowly work their way down the rivers.

    I see people forever building levies and sandbag walls to try to fend off the swelling tide. In some ways it reminds me of people in the medieval world in their fortress towns hoping that any marauding army will see that their own defences are strong enough to encourage them to head on down to the next place , in the hope of easier pickings.

    As long as the flood continues to be walled in with levies and the like, of course, its strength barely dissipates. I wonder how much thought has gone into the possibility of creating “sacrificial” situations, where flooding is actually encouraged in areas that might even benefit from it, rather than trying to always fend it off?

    I’m sure the same analogy could be applied to politics. Where, I wonder, are the areas where the Government could encourage the Coalition to vent its vast enlarged spleen in an area that really matters very little? 😉

  37. Fair dinkum Toorak Toff, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    A very small example drawn from an IPART report. Sydney Ferries pays deck hands 92% above the private sector pay rate, and that’s before you take into account giving 10 weeks leave instead of four, and takes no account of efficiency. The financial pit of the running cost of Sydney ferries is so huge that since 2007 Cabinet has twice made the financially responsible decision of off-loading the whole lot and tendering to the private sector. And twice premiers were dumped and the decision reversed.

    Ship of state being kept afloat? They’re bailing not sailing.

    And don’t even start me on public transport ticketing.

  38. Blackburnpseph
    Successful in that he is the 2nd longest serving premier after Parkes. Carr will tell you that the infrastructure of his government was at record levels but I dont think NSW was helped by the Olympics – 7 years of infrastructure went largely into sport. However, although I am of the left, I think that he and Egan failed NSW and Labor by not forcing through the sale of the electricity system when it was actually worth something. The funds could have been transferred into necessary infrastructure and the AAA rating could have been kept. You did not have to be too prescient to know that the electricity system was eventually going to be either sold or a tremendous drain on the state’s resources

  39. It is interesting Anthony that from what I hear the schemozzle of transport ticketing is the straw that has broken the government’s back for many people. How could something apparently so simple be so difficult? I rarely get to Sydney and never catch public transport but needed to get from Kirribilli to Surry Hills on last Friday – so I decided to take a Ferry then Bus – apart from taking 90 minutes – it was extremely difficult to buy 1 off tickets – how has this been allowed to develop?

  40. You cannot by a multi-modal ticket. The government owns the lot but you cannot by a ticket that crosses modes. Government policy is against daily tickets, timed tickets, zonal tickets and multi-mode tickets.

    If you get on a train at Parramatta and want to go to Coogee, you cannot buy a ticket that will do that for you. The train station will sell you a ticket to central. You must buy the ticket at the station, as unlike busses, train tickets are not allowed to be sold at newsagents. And you must buy it on the day of usage.

    So having got to Central, what next. Catch a bus, except you can’t buy a ticket on a bus in the CBD anymore, you have to go to the train station or a 7-11, and the person selling you the ticket has no idea what ticket you need and will just sell you what they think is right. And when you come home later, you go through the same charade back to front, as you can only buy a return fare on trains, not busses.

    Government policy is that only train stations can sell train tickets, not newsagents, but government policy is that newsagents should sell bus tickets not drivers. Government policy is also that all bus fares should be based on a flag fall plus distance, which means if you change bus you have to pay another fare. which is why George Street is full of half empty busses because all busses have to run through the city because people won’t get off because they would have to pay another fare.

    It was bliss being in Melbourne in November and just buying 2 hour or days fares. Is it any wonder it costs so much to collect fares in Sydney, and why people who don’t use the Sydney system regularly are completely baffled.

  41. A question for Antony Green

    Do you believe that the ALP cooked up 93 seats so that they had some sort of advantage?


    What were the reasons in the first place for reducing from 99 seats – which had been the seat number for the best part of 30 years?

  42. I don’t so much believe as was told. In 1998 the preferred option of an increase to 105 seats was unacceptable, so 93 was adopted as the number that gave maximum advantage to Labor compared to 99 seats. The Commissioners spoiled the party for the government by drawing boundaries that were much fairer than Labor expected, but that’s another story.

  43. My memory is that the number of seats has been all over the place from 1984 onwards. In 1988 it went to 109 in order, I think, to preserve the ALPs remaining country seats. Greiner would have lost on this distribution in 1991 and a redistribution wasn’t due during the 88-91 term but to secure a redistribution he reduced the number of seats back to 99 – this move only just got through the Council because of the vote of that nice democrat lady who used to be in No. 96. It stayed at 99 until 1999 when Labor reduced it to 93 to shore up Western Sydney where the previous two elections had been surprisingly decided.

  44. @139 the election in 2007 was a normal election…….. 53/47 labor’s way
    even though the PM lost his seat and there was a change of government…..
    the point I’m trying to make is the normal result is in the range 54/46 either way
    The Telegraph must have reincarnated Frank Packer”s ghost…… they are so anti-labor
    the readership and comments will of course mirror this.

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