UPDATE: We now also have, courtesy of the Daily Telegraph, a Galaxy survey of an undisclosed number of respondents in Marrickville which shows Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt set to be dumped by Greens candidate and local mayor Fiona Byrne. The poll has the Greens leading 44 per cent to 33 per cent on the primary vote and 57 per cent to 43 per cent after preferences. Of the 16 per cent who voted Liberal, 16 per cent planned to preference the Greens, 12 per cent Labor and 65 per cent would exhaust. The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday.
I wouldn’t have thought opinion polling for the remainder of the NSW election campaign was likely to turn up much in the way of surprises, but the latest Newspoll offers a real curiosity: a six-point dive for the Greens, who are down from 17 per cent to 11 per cent. This has allowed both major parties to make gains, with Labor up three to 26 per cent and the Coalition up four to 50 per cent a very rare achievement in modern politics. The two-party result is 63-37, which compares with 62-38 in the bi-monthly poll conducted over January and February. However, given the impact of optional preferential voting, the improvement in Labor’s primary vote means this is a better result for them than last time.
On personal ratings, there has been a substantial drop in the uncommitted response for both leaders. I am tempted to link this to the decline in support for the Greens with a leader-centred election campaign now in full swing, the Greens are being squeezed out of the media space and wavering voters are jumping off the fence. Kristina Keneally has lifted herself off the floor with a four point increase on approval to 34 per cent, but she’s also up a point on disapproval to 58 per cent with uncommitted down five to 8 per cent. Barry O’Farrell’s approval rating is up even further than Keneally’s, by six points to 49 per cent, with disapproval up two to 37 per cent and uncommitted down eight to 14 per cent. O’Farrell’s lead as preferred premier has narrowed slightly, from 47-32 to 48-35.
A question on firmness of voting intention more or less replicates the Galaxy result of last week in finding what remains of the Labor vote softer (53 per cent say definite, 38 per cent say not definite, 8 per cent say they could go either way) than for the Coalition (70 per cent, 22 per cent and 5 per cent). A question on which party respondents expect to win shows 11 per cent getting the answer wrong and 77 per cent getting it right. Full tables courtesy of GhostWhoVotes.
I had the following to relate in a post earlier today since this was only a few hours ago, I’ve reupholstered the existing thread with the Newspoll results rather than start again.
The Daily Telegraph reports Labor internal polling is so bad that John Robertson appears headed for defeat in his bid to move from the upper house to the lower house seat of Blacktown, which has a margin of 22.4 per cent. To be precise, while one union source believes the polling shows him holding on by between 3 and 5 per cent, other senior party sources said it was worse and he could lose the seat. Also likely to fall are Mulgoa (margin 11.1 per cent, being vacated by the retirement of Diane Beamer), Smithfield (15.5 per cent, held by Ninos Khoshaba), Macquarie Fields (11.1 per cent, held by Andrew McDonald) and even Toongabbie (14.5 per cent, held by former Premier Nathan Rees).
Yesterday saw the closure of nominations and the drawing of ballot paper positions. There are 498 candidates for the Legislative Assembly, down from 537 in 2007, and 311 for the Legislative Council, down from 333. The Coalition lucked out by drawing group A for the Legislative Council, which will put them on the far left of the ballot paper.
Sean Nicholls of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the entry of former Leichhardt mayor Maire Sheehan into the race for Balmain has given an unexpected boost to Labor member Verity Firth in her bid to hold off a challenge from Jamie Parker, Greens candidate and mayor of Leichhardt. Antony Green agrees the entry of Sheehan could further split the non-Labor vote, with Sheehan declaring she will not be directing preferences. Sheehan sided with Liberal and Labor councillors in 2004 which deprived Jamie Parker of the mayoralty for four years.
The Australian Financial Review reports the Liberals will announce today (and may have already done so) that they will not be directing preferences.
Latest additions to the election guide, focusing on Sydney’s outer west and south-west:
Wollondilly (Labor 3.3%): Labor did well to recruit local mayor Phil Costa as candidate to this newly created seat in 2007, who did much to allow them to retain the seat. He is gamely taking the field again, but faces certain defeat at the hands of local councillor Jai Rowell.
Camden (Labor 4.0%): Labor’s Geoff Corrigan has held this south-western outskirts seat since 2003, but now stands no chance of holding off local mayor and Liberal candidate Chris Patterson, who is making a second tilt after falling short in 2007.
Londonderry (Labor 6.9%): This seat has had two Labor members since it was created in 1988: Paul Gibson, who moved to Blacktown in the shake-up resulting from the reduction in the size of parliament in 1999; Jim Anderson, who died on the morning of the 2003 election; and Allan Shearan, a former Blacktown councillor who has remained on the back bench in his two terms in parliament. He stands next to no chance of winning a third, with Hawkesbury mayor Bert Bassett looking certain to win the seat for the Liberals on his second attempt after falling well short in 2007.
Penrith (Labor 9.2%/Liberal 16.5%): Until June last year, the Liberals had only hend Penrith for a single term since its creation in 1973. Then came Labor member Karyn Paluzzano’s resignation after admitting lying to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, followed by a record-shattering by-election in which Labor was dumped by an unprecedented 25.7 per cent swing. The coming election is a re-match between Liberal member Stuart Ayres and Labor candidate John Thain, who despite his profile as the local mayor has no chance of winning.
Blue Mountains (Labor 11.1%): This seat has been something of a bellwether since Labor gained it from an independent when Neville Wran’s government came to power in 1976, falling to the Liberals with the election of the Greiner government in 1988 before Labor resumed it when Bob Carr came to power in 1995. Outside of the seven-year Liberal interregnum it was held for Labor by Bob Debus from 1981 until 2007, when he moved to federal politics for a term as member for Macquarie. Former Rural Fire Services commissioner Phil Koperberg has since held it for a single troubled term, and will not seek another. Liberal candidate Roza Sage, a local dentist, is odds on to defeat Labor candidate Trish Doyle, a staffer to Koperberg.
Mulgoa (Labor 11.1%): Mulgoa existed for one term after 1988 and was re-created in 1999, having been held at all times by Labor. Diane Beamer, who crucially won Badgerys Creek for Labor in 1995 before moving to Mulgoa after it was abolished in 1999, is bowing out at the coming election, further complicating Labor’s difficult task of retaining the seat. The candidates are Prue Guillaume for Labor and Tanya Davies for Liberal, both Penrith councillors. As noted above, internal polling reportedly has Labor bracing for defeat.