Nielsen: 66-34 to Coalition in NSW

The Keneally government’s re-election hopes have taken a blow with the latest Nielsen poll, which replicates the seemingly unbelievable 66-34 Coalition lead indicated by the last published opinion poll from Galaxy. Nielsen at least has Labor’s primary vote two points higher than Galaxy, though at a still record-shattering low of 22 per cent, but since it has the Greens two points lower on 13 per cent and the Coalition three points higher on 53 per cent, the two-party total ends up the same. It should be noted however that the primary vote takes on greater importance in elections conducted under optional preferential voting, particularly in light of voters’ progressively increasing tendency to use the “just one vote” option available to them under the system – which you can learn more about courtesy of Antony Green’s post on how minor party preferences behaved at the last election. Plugging the results into Antony Green’s election calculator produces striking seat totals of 73 seats for the Coalition, 14 for Labor and two for the Greens, plus three independents. The poll has Kristina Keneally with an approval rating of 36 per cent and disapproval of 58 per cent, compared with 55 per cent and 33 per cent for Barry O’Farrell, who leads 52-38 as preferred premier.

My seat-by-seat election guide will not posted any time soon, and will probably be unveiled step by step throughout the campaign period. Fortunately we are very well served by the efforts of Antony Green and Ben Raue. Antony has also been having a fair bit to say about the election on recent blog posts.

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.

103 comments on “Nielsen: 66-34 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. James J @ 43

    None of what you say provides any comfort. The “moderates” are very few and very far between since Clarke gutted them and their seats were handed out to the trogs, and the controlling political figure for the NSW Right is and always has been one Anthony Abbott, who was very chummy with Clarke in the bad (worse?) old days and I don’t really think that has changed.

  2. We moved here from Victorian civilization a year ago. Its a funny old place. Maybe like Victoria would have been without the Kennett steel brush enema.
    We are endlessly amused by the local whining debates over things like speed cameras (apparently the police need to put a billboard advertising each one individually),the fact that nothing gets finished (the Albury bypass only took about 30 years) and the mindless and comfortable bureaucracy. I suppose its where you hide the unemployed.
    The political parties both look tres ordinaire. KKK is a nice analogy for the state. Looks so nice but something doesnt quite add up. BOOF is a potential nightmare…probably run by the loony right (but doesnt need to divulge any policy based on the gummints poor showing.
    I dont imagine the greens are likely to get anywhere near balance of power…so
    watch this space

  3. JM@51

    This would be the David Clarke who almost lost preselection for his own seat in Losers Lounge last year? Who are the others in NSW State Parliament? Ray Williams I’ll give you, and Marie Ficarra. Greg Smith sort of lines up with Clarke from time to time, and is notably not a moderate, but Smith is playing his own game (you know, entering parliament at the age of 60 to contribute something to public administration, rather than muck around with preselection shell games).

    They got Perrotet across the line for preselection in Castle Hill, but lost to more moderate candidates in Baulkham Hills and Hornsby. If they can’t get candidates up in real Bible Belt country like Baulko (the seat that contains Hillsong), just where are they exerting their influence?

    So after the election, by my count, they’ll have 5 of them if you include Smith.

    And on the other side of the table – the supposedly few and far between moderates? Wot, like O’Farrell, Baird, Berejiklian, Skinner? Who else, Ayres, Goward, Hazzard, Hartcher? Rob Stokes is a moderate. This notion that the Lib are a bunch of hard-right whackos, with a hidden agenda essentially written by Cardinal Pell, does not withstand the slightest scrutiny, or even consideration.

  4. @54

    All probably true, but the “Christian Right ooga booga” scare campaign is pretty much all Labor have left now, so you can’t really blame them for flogging it for all it’s worth.

    Ditto their sudden concern with “democracy” and “strong Oppositions” after being happy to rack up thumping landslides themselves for a decade.

  5. Antony Green
    [My ABC Election calculator predicts Coalition 73 seats, Labor 14, Greens 2 and Others 4. That’s a worse result than 1904, the first election where Labor emerged as the official opposition.]
    So are three million voters wrong, and it really is just a misunderstood government, not a bad one? I don’t think so. This result will be historic, and there is no point pretending otherwise, or imagining that a “but look how bad they are” line will work now.

    I imagine the shredding machines are going full tilt already.

  6. The attitude of the greens worries me……” we hate the ALP ……… we’ll try to maximise
    our upper and lower house seats.”…… but don’t look at the big picture…. the upper house may well end up conservative controlled as the green preferences will not go to the ALP…. also in some close seats they’ll exhaust their votes and allow the libs to slip through up the middle. voters determine their preferences not the political parties they vote for……. I urge all green voters to preference the ALP

  7. Soon we’ll be able to just count the days before we kick this government, the worst in living memory out, and hopefully keep them out for a long, long time.

  8. [However, the most brutal political landslide in Australia’s modern history was the 1993 election in South Australia, when the Liberal Party polled 52.8 per cent to Labor’s 30.4 per cent and won 37 seats to Labor’s 10. The victor, Dean Brown, was gone by the next election.]

    I’d put Tasmania 2002 perhaps ahead of that even one in percentage terms – Labor 52 Liberal 27 Green 18 (and if we had 2PP the Green votes would have gone mainly Labor) – but the Hare-Clark system contained what would have been a wiped-off-the-map result for the Libs with the same vote in a single seat system election.

    The winner of that one was deceased by the next election, so we’ll never know how long he would have been there otherwise.

  9. re Rogan@ 54……….. there are very few moderate liberals. The organisation used to be controlled by the group……. around Joe Hockey, Ron Phillips & John Brogdon. now the group is very small. The broad right controls the liberals. Alex Hawke & David Clarke used to be allies now they are not. When you talk of the right of a right wing party…….. this is very worrying

  10. “Greens campaign spokesman and upper house MP David Shoebridge said his party’s 13 per cent showing in the poll was a “solid result … in the face of an avalanche of votes heading to the coalition”.”

    In denial. Very poor result from the Greens.

  11. This election will be fascinating to watch. I just hope the incoming Liberal government will do a much better job than Labor has and doesn’t have too many Christian fundies in it.

  12. Fran Barlow

    I through that debate was over after the cold war

    America in the 40-80s was an every man for themselve society, While Russia and China was collective progress society. By the 80s, the poorest people in America were much richer then the middle-upper class of Russia and China.

    It is good for the progressives in the 80s to complain about the inequity of society. It is a shame that the people of China and Russia does not have a voice.

    The reason why your utopia does not exist are as followed
    – The fairness system like Communism often involve mass transfer of wealth, and mass concentration of money and power, which leds to corruption
    – if you do not reward people who invent new ideas and start big project, those projects, ideas advancement does not get started. For example, for a country who has need for resources, there is almost no large Chinese miners

    There is almost always a trade off between equity and efficiency, It is very difficult to have mass wealth transfer and have no wastage (people pushing money around, tax collector etc) As I said previously said, what we are arguing is no longer the ideals, Capitalism had won, even in China, it is now every man for themselves, it is just the degree of equity/efficiency we are arguing about.

  13. MQ @ 63

    There are plenty of moderate liberals, a fair few in my last post alone. Without accepting your argument re “The Group” (the vertical corgi is still running around there somewhere), I’d make the point that control of party power structures is far less important in a party that actually has preselections controlled by local branches. I appreciate this is an unfamiliar concept to ALP supporters, but you might want to reflect on it.

    Funnily enough, it seems to me that it’s ALP members who are more keen to set out their religiosity of most recent times. Rudd was interviewed in front of his church every Sunday for a while there, and KKK hardly ever shuts up about her soft-Catholic social justice credentials. A cynic might suggest that Rudd and Gartrell were worried about losing the happy-clappys completely to the Libs, but that may be unfair. I digress…

    The point is, the “broad right” as you call them, are not the Clarke “Taliban” faction. Hawke decided to become a pragmatist, a sort of Howard/Abbott Liberal. We know he has strong religious views, but so what (viz KKK and Rudd)? The question is, are the Libs going to try and shove it down our throats? I’d concede that Clarke and his fellow travellers could try it on, but most Lib MPs are keen on doing a good job and staying in power more than one term.

    The broad right, are of course, broadly representative of the party membership, and it is indeed broad, as the old saying goes…

    There’s little chance of bringing in the Spanish Inquisition when the punters just want health, transport, education and low crime rates from a glorified local council. There’s little chance or prospect of “toughening up” laws re abortion, homosexuality, injecting rooms or that talisman of the fundy right – exploring “alternatives” to Darwinian evolution in science classrooms. Boffa didn’t even hold the line on abolishing “ethics” classes, although that was more about not getting wedged.

    Ultimately, people who fundamentally can’t abide the Liberals and detest what they stand for should look elsewhere for their voting options. But to argue that we are about to be presented with some half-ar$&d theocracy and that this is the key reason not to vote Liberal, has all the hallmarks of an empty scare campaign.

  14. [we kick this government, the worst in living memory out]

    Depends how old you are for living memory brad.

    Askin, the prince and the premier or griener, the premier forced to resign after a corruption finding by ICAC. What did griener do in govt except repeal consumer protection laws saying you can trust used car salesmen and who then went to work for that charitable organisation big tobacco.

    No doubt the present govt is woeful, but the worst, depends on your age and point of view.

  15. I’m not sure if it is the worst Government in history but considering the great period of economic boom we have had during the last 15 years all NSW seems to haev acheived is to become overly expensive and congested place otherwse i cannot see anything worth mentioning.

    The interesting thing is we have seen several solid ALP Governments in SA and Victoria suffer 6-7 percent swings and in the Victorian case the swing whilst seen coming seemed to pick up pace during the campaign, i wonder if the same will happen in NSW.

    March 26th will be interesting for many reasons, of course to see what seats the ALP do hold but also to see what seats resist the tide. not being close to NSW politics, is there anyone in a seat with a margin under 10-12 percent that we would like the ALP have retained.

  16. MQ – thanks, someone at least read it…

    evan14 – my Canberran correspondent advises that Whan is popular locally and has been savvy enough to have been running a campaign of WTTE – ‘the state ALP is gone, save my ass’. Also, I am informed that the surrounding countryside is continuing to be filled ever more with Canberran working folk to whom Sydney is a far off distraction.

    This is one which MAY buck the trend, but I am relying on info from ACT and my contact failed to supply info on the quality of the Coalition candidate (if a National, I’d be putting money on Whan).

    KB – well picked, the HC system hid what a walloping Jim Bacon handed out, but to paraphrase Gough, “God save the Queen, because nothing will save the NSW Labor Party”.

    Thanks for reminding me Kevin, I went to a political fundraiser in 2002 here in SA and won a carton of beer for being the only non-MP present knowing who the Premier of Tasmania was. Tasted sweet.

    Finally, for all those ALP apparatchniks in NSW, the result in NSW will be on performance, not ideology. O’Farrell could walk down Pitt Street eating babies and the Liberals would still win. Time to focus on saving what you can.

  17. Every day something will come out and that just dig Labor’s hole deeper – today, you have doctors at the RNS claiming that the hospital plan will stifle any future development.

    Who knows what the Libs will find when they get to see the files post 26 March.

    The Libs might be running a small target policy but who knows if they did run a big policy what promises would need to be jettisoned?

    On the other hand, if the Libs do win really big, they may not be able to run a “Memories” or “Guilty Party” campaign in 2015 as there will none of the offenders left.

  18. Brad7 @ 60 when this government is defeated that’ll be the end of it.
    No governments come back. The next time the ALP win they’ll form a new government. Anyway, I’m sure you get it.
    Who knows, 5 years from now, 5 years of …..?

  19. rogan@54

    And on the other side of the table – the supposedly few and far between moderates? Wot, like O’Farrell, Baird, Berejiklian, Skinner? Who else, Ayres, Goward, Hazzard, Hartcher? Rob Stokes is a moderate.

    Baz is now looking over both shoulders at the same time – the right shoulder for the trogs, the left for an ambitious Mike Baird. Moderate in Liberal terms Baird may be, but he’s not his Dad, who was one of the few old-style moderates with integrity who survived the Clarke-Hawke purge. Does Mike command the same bi-partisan and community respect?

    Skinner must be near retirement age and Goward might well be looking towards Canberra (watch this space)

    This notion that the Lib (sic) are a bunch of hard-right whackos, with a hidden agenda essentially written by Cardinal Pell, does not withstand the slightest scrutiny, or even consideration.

    More likely the ambitious Brothers Jensen, their Hill$ong-lite and their determination to wield political influence far in excess of the actual bums on seats they command.


    …the “Christian Right ooga booga” scare campaign

    Take a look at Victoria, which doesn’t even have that monolithic conservative religious block, and see what supposed moderate Baillieu has done with the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Any reason to believe it would never happen in NSW?

    Mick Quinlivan @ 63

    When you talk of the right of a right wing party…….. this is very worrying


    rogan @ 68

    Hawke decided to become a pragmatist, a sort of Howard/Abbott Liberal.

    So he is far more to the right than we even suspected? Not exactly a recommendation.

    We know he has strong religious views, but so what (viz KKK and Rudd)? The question is, are the Libs going to try and shove it down our throats?

    Rudd’s closet RC/ High Church sensibilities and KK’s leftie social justice Catholicism are miles away from dominionism. Look it up.

    Steve Annabelle @ 74

    That link goes to a site called “” Was that a Freudian slip?

    What there is on the actual Liberal Party site is vague and there are at least two downright dumb policies – hospital boards (where Liberal luvvies can put on their twinsets and pearls and tell the actual health professionals what to do) and the proposed canning of the Epping to Parramatta line (where the Feds have already promised funding). So Baz thinks you can have a north-west line without that Epping to Parramatta link? Easy to see he and Gladys don’t get out much past the North Shore.

    RailCorp management need a good kick and some transparency, but that’s not what the commuters are going to see. What they are likely to get are a million excuses why projects are not undertaken and completed, then a push to hand infrastructure and services over to the corporates. Anyone want CityRail to run like Macquarie Bank Sydney Airport?

    And Baz better go back and re-read Orgill – the report criticises aspects of school project management in NSW (which was also a feature in Greiner’s time and goes to the way state contracts are awarded) but does not advocate the baby-with-the-bathwater approach Baz is after.

    And what is somewhat alarming is what is not stated in those policies – workplace “reform” issues for instance where State awards are concerned. WorkChoices should have been warning enough.

    So four years of disengagement from NSW politics to come? One can do little else – dismal days indeed.

  20. Pru Goward used to be the big cheese at the Adelaide ALP Sub-Branch, but she’s moved somewhat to the right since those heady days.

  21. >>Pru Goward used to be the big cheese at the Adelaide ALP Sub-Branch, but she’s moved somewhat to the right since those heady days.

    A marriage to a member of the lunar-right and a close personal friendship with John Howard would enough to turn any girl’s head.

  22. I get emails from the big 4 accounting firms – usually pretty reliable, today they quote media say Libs are doing royalty for regions – is it true – are they that stupid – everyone in Sydney should vote labor.

  23. WWP

    If what you say is true it is not bad politics – it might dislodge the independents in Tamworth and Dubbo, see Steve Whan off in Monaro, and it would be returning money from whence it is coming in Bathurst, Maitland and Cessnock. And it shores up the base against independents rather than the ALP.

    From what I gather also, the ALP has let services run down in regional NSW,and they haven’t had the subsidies that Sydney has had – things like the freeway toll rebates etc.

  24. Very interesting blackb – will be textbook taking Sydney voters for granted
    I could do the adds based on wa with ‘fake’ projects getting gob of money in the bush
    While suburbs of perth don’t get services because of budget cuts. A great scare
    Campaign because it is true.

  25. I reckon if they are smart the indies can make more hay out of it than the Libs – royalties for regions is bad policy only good if you are getting the fat make sure to vote independent so the lib govt doesn’t take you for granted the way it is the Sydney siders even before they are elected.

  26. If royalties for regions is indicative of the policy integrity and political wisdom of the lib govt in waiting I can’t wait till thy are elected

  27. I want to manage kk’s campaign all of a sudden – zero expectation many expect so few alp seats a second taxi won’t be required and a really incompetent and stupid policy just begging for a gentle subtle protest vote campaign! Perfect!

  28. Mick s @ 65…….. the reason is obvious it would reduce the number of libs elected……surely the greens would not want libs to be elected !

  29. I believe the Alex Hawke/David Clarke divide is sectarian. Alex Hawke represents the happy clapper Libs and David Clarke represents the Catholic block.

  30. Is there likely to be a “shy Labor” effect in the polls? No one is afraid to castigate the government and all of the media appear to be against the government. Isn’t this an environment which would make punters reluctant to own up to being a Labor voter even to a pollster and biasing polls accordingly?

  31. mick@86: Mick s @ 65…….. the reason is obvious it would reduce the number of libs elected……surely the greens would not want libs to be elected !

    I wouldn’t count on it at this election. In any other circumstances, I’d be dreading seeing David Clarke within cooee of the leaders of power. But this is a rare circumstance, and like the rest of the country, I’m waiting eagerly to see just how far NSW voters take that baseball bat to the NSW ALP.

    Hell, they’re so bad that both the Liberals and Greens aren’t allocating preferences, since they realise that preferencing Labor above the other would likely inspire voters to swing some of those bats in their direction for their lack of moral fortitude.

  32. Gusface

    I am happy to give you 50/1 on the NSW ALP, minimum bet $50.

    We can hold the $2500 in trust in a bank account and I will collect it just after 5pm on election day

  33. Given that the ALP is likely to be left with an Opposition about the size of a cricket team, does that mean we are going to be stuck with numpties like Noreen Hay in Shadow Cabinet by default?

  34. 95

    The Cricket team is in the Assembly but the will a few be more in the Council (on current polling it is looking like there will be more ALP MLCs than MLAs).

    You are also assuming the ALP will retain enough seats in the Assembly to be the official opposition.

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