Newspoll: 63-37 to Coalition in NSW

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.

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.

148 comments on “Newspoll: 63-37 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. [My friend is working on the Cabramatta campaign and they are actually serious about it.]

    Lalich is a dud of a local member, and the Liberal candidate is being heavily supported by O’Farrell, so you never know.

  2. If you don’t think a lopsided parliament is bad for democracy, let’s take the next little step and have a one-party dictatorship.

    That should be really good.

  3. [If you don’t think a lopsided parliament is bad for democracy, let’s take the next little step and have a one-party dictatorship.

    That should be really good.]

    Get used to it, that’s the way this election is headed. 😀
    It pains me to say it, but I won’t be shocked if Labor ends up with less than 10 lower house seats.

  4. Evan 14

    My bet would be Wran will hold, I think it was 50/50 over the weekend on primaries, probably the only seat under 10% ALP will hold. I think being popular local would get him up.

    O’Farrell was in Smithsfield (52/48 Lib) and Toongabie too, in previous election, you would not see him so far out west

    Daley should hold, I think it is one seat the Greens are preferencing the ALP, althrough I am not 100% sure.

  5. I left out Charlton, at the moment the ALP will win Wallsend, the only Hunter seat, the other 3 are likely Lib/Ind 2PP

    DB said

    Charlestown could go to the Lib or Ind candidate. Unlikely for ALP to hold here based on around a 30% primary vote. 50% exhaustion used. 80/20 preference split between Ind/Lib and Lib/Ind.

  6. I live in East Hills and last week was having my hair done at Revesby.

    Was surprised to see Shadow AG Greg Smith walk into the shop to introduce the Lib Candidate and a younger party activist. He was very loud and overbearing actually and the candidate never said a word.

    Said to the hairdresser at the time “they think they have it in the bag.” Given what was said earlier re Keneally’s travel intinerary that may well be the case.

  7. Toorak Toff

    That was what we had for the last 8 years in NSW, why are you only complaining now?

    The last election was 52 ALP/35 LNP the one before was 54 ALP/33 LNP

  8. I think Labor badly need Whan and Daley to survive, Borger too(although from what I’ve read, he’s in big trouble in Granville).
    The worst thing for them is that they’ll have virtually no new faces being elected, which is what they need for renewal(assuming that Ryan Park has no hope in Keira for instance).
    So then it’d be presumably the responsibility of Richard Amery, Paul Lynch, Daley, Whan, Robertson(proviso on him winning Blacktown), Luke Foley etc to at least form some sort of functioning opposition.

  9. And also Barbara Perry and Linda Burney.
    Perhaps they’d try and get Firth or Tebutt into the Upper House when a vacancy occurs down the track?

  10. TT – there must be other reasons you can put forward to vote for Labor other than fear of a lopsided parliament. NSW had lopsided parliaments in the late 1970s and early 1980s without any fear of autocracy.

  11. East Hill is close Liberal/ALP 51/49 on primaries, Liberals is getting the CDP, FF and Zalloua’s preference. the ALP is not getting the Greens

    CDP is outpolling the Greens in the seat, so it will likely go to the Liberals, but will CDP and FF be handing out HTV?

  12. DB re east hills
    Posted March 15, 2011 at 9:37 AM
    Samar – my understanding is that no candidate is preferencing the ALP here, however, FF, Zalloua and CDP will preference the Liberals on their How to Votes. Batch is playing mum, but will probably have the lowest primary vote in the seat.

    If the above is correct as my informants tell me, then I’d agree that it is a super bet with Brookes at $1.80 and Ashton at $1.50. Ashton won’t be able to win on primaries alone.

    Let’s not forget that this seat is basically federally overlaid by Banks and Hughes. In Banks, Melham was outpolled on primaries by the Libs (but not in East Hills seat areas) and in Hughes a number of the Georges River booths put the Liberal in front comfortably – Milperra, Panania South, Picnic Point (all major booths). I’d suggest this state government is much more on the nose than the federal government. From Ben’s above analysis, the Libs didn’t win a booth in 2007 in East Hills, but I suspect they will win all of the southern booths and certainly the western Milperra booth and will start to lose booths in Padstow and Revesby and then further north. Whether they can win enough in the south to protect them from Condell Park in the north is the question here. But, on balance, one must think that Ashton will need a decent amount of preferences to win though.

    If Ashton wins it will be because of Condell Pk and nothing else. The irony is that Condell Park is so far removed from the rest of the seat it is not funny.

  13. Just got off the phone with my Mum she is in Daley’s seat of Maroubra said he is trying to do a lot about trucks on roads in the area around Port Botany and she feels he is a good member and will hold Maroubra.

    Not that she could bring herself to do anything else but she will be voting for him.

  14. Dovif – what is your prediction of the state of the Legislative Assembly post 26 March. I am not going to hold you to it.

  15. I think Dovif said earlier that the swing to the Liberals in the Eastern suburbs isn’t of a big enough magnitude to cost Labor Maroubra, so my guess would be that Daley holds on with a reduced majority.

  16. Shellbell

    CDP/Fishers/FF/Pauline will get 2 between them

    Green over 9.09% will definitely get 2

    ALP over 22.73% will definitely get 5

    Liberals over 45.45% will definitely get 10

    That leaves 2 seats between the ALP Greens and Liberals, and the 2 who got the most over the use quota will win the seats

    Current primary from Newspolls says it will be the ALP and Liberal, however the Liberal 50% primary will leak to FF and CDP and they might end up with 46% in the upper house, so my guess will be the Green and ALP picking up the final 2 seats

  17. @104

    Nah, Labor will get around 20-25 seats I’d say.

    There’s about 8 or so “certainties” (e.g. Lakemba, Auburn, Liverpool), another 8 or so not-quite-certainties but where Labor would be favoured (Blacktown, Maroubra, Cabramatta), plus another 8-10 seats where Labor are being strongly challenged but could still hold on (e.g. Monaro, Parramatta, Strathfield). Assume they win half of the 50/50 contests and there’s 20 seats. A couple of better-than-expected results in the Hunter or western Sydney could push it up towards 25.

    Arguably the best (probably only) thing Labor have going for them is that people really do expect them to be literally reduced to a cricket team. So if they got 20 seats (which is a devastating result) they could almost spin it as a “not as bad as everyone expected”.

  18. My personal bet for the LC is 2 between CDP/FF/Shooter&Fishers/Pauline. I’m tipping CDP & Pauline.

    Greens will get 3

    Labor will get 6 (might lose a further 1 to John Hatton)

    Liberal will get 8

    I’m thinking quite a few won’t vote Liberal in both houses because there’ll be enough rust hanging on to not let the Liberals have outright control with the right-wing nutters. That would give a finely balanced council.

  19. I mean, Liberal will get 10 but might lose 1 in a carve-up of conservative vote to FF or S&F.

    I think the Shooters & Fishers will be squeezed out of this election with so many other appealing right-wing nutters.

  20. What may be a defining factor in this election is that there will be a lot of voters in what have always been safe ALP seats who now have the chance to influence the outcome of their seat – the “what does it matter Labor always win around here” brigade. All of a sudden, their vote will take on a lot more importance. What may save the ALP from being a cricket team, rugby team or Aussie Rules team is that the Libs might not be able to get the resources on the ground in the last days before the election and on election day. I have a strong belief that resources on the ground will make the last percentage point or two of difference. The ALP will be able to get more resources on the ground is what have been safe seats. Conversely the ALP may totally collapse in safe Lib seats (with implications for the LC vote) as they will have no one on the ground. When it comes to resources , the Libs may say we can service 65 or 70 seats in the last days and write off a few outliers to concentrate on better prospects.

  21. DB on Balmain … for those who wants good odds for betting

    The inclusion of former councillor Maire Sheehan is said to provide a boost to the ALP’s chances in this seat. Polling from the weekend does not suggest this to be the case. On a poll of 400 persons, Libs 36%, Green 29%, ALP 24% and Sheehan 7%. Who knows where Sheehan preferences will go. But you would expect that just about all of them would have to go to the ALP for Firth to get above the Greens and make it a Lib/ALP battle. Sheehan has before supported both Liberal and Labor ideologies, so I’m not sure if this is a boost to the ALP but more of a boost for the Liberals here. Probably a very good seat to have a punt on the Liberal candidate who is extremely strong.

  22. blackburnpseph

    I think the opposite to be true, the ALP are finding a lot of difficulties to get people on the ground for this election, they have even asked interstate and very few volunteer had been found. While the Liberals will be energise, eventhrough it is the incompetant NSW group, who likely cost Abbott the election

  23. Well, despite being written off as a basket case, Keneally is campaigning hard and hitting the right buttons in some places (see NBN news). Today she was on the road in my area, and promised to restrict fracking and ban the use of BTEX (already done in Qld), and put more money into Science education in schools – all good ‘I love mummy’ stuff.

    Also locals don’t believe O’Farrell on the power generation sell off (many power stations are in the Hunter/Central Coast), but are still peed off with Labor’s shenanigans.

    I still reckon the Independents and Greens will be the winners.

  24. Have been lurking for a while, but must share some of the latest from a few phone calls today.

    Legislative Council:

    1. Hatton’s machine is out in force handing out HTV’s at pre-poll across the state. And I mean across the state, not just retirement centres on the coast. This is ominous. I think he will romp in a seat in the Upper House.

    2. Andrew Ferguson, who is number six on the ALP ticket, is stirring up a hornets nest by wanting his former job as state secretary of the CFMEU back. He resigned to contest the Leg Council and has told colleagues that he has “no chance”.

    3. The ALP HTV has a tiny, tiny vote 2 for “group I’, with no mention that it is for the Greens.

    Leg Assembly.

    1. Balmain, as mentioned above, has been written off. Liberal primary is holding up, but Sheahan’s entry has taken primaries from both Greens and ALP. Genius tactic by The Greens’ Parker in linking a popular independent to her failed DA, that was real classy.

    2. Janet Mays (Ind) is polling strongly in the Blue Mountains where the ALP and Green vote has collapsed (lots of commuters). The ALP has trouble covering booths.

    3. Souris will go the wire in Upper Hunter from another independent challenge. The anti-independent sentiment just isn’t manifesting itself as the commentariat predicted. Souris has been forced to front a Unions NSW forum in Singleton (or Muswellbrook, I can’t remember which) out of desperation.

    4. Besselling shovelling like crazy in Port Mac, and should get home. Draper hardly campaigning in Tamworth.

    5. Whan will win Monaro.

    6. Southwest Sydney is, as the locals like to say, gooooorn!

    Also, I don’t wish to start a flame war, but those people concerned about the influence of the religious right in the NSW Liberal Party (which I share) – do you remember a certain Ms Keneally proposing to ban T Shirts offensive to the Pope? Or how much we spent on Duchessing His Holiness while we can’t afford anything but toxic gas heaters in public schools? Or the photo of her standing behind George Pell like first communicant as he blessed the, god help us, SS Mary Mackillop? The ALP has its fair share of religious nutjobs (I’m looking at YOU Greg Donnelly), so this is no preserve of the Libs. Like the ALP I suspect that these people will be kept on a short leash by the saner elements in the party (Hello? Anyone home?). Let’s not forget that the ALP survived for some time with the Rev Fred’s vote in the upper house, and did much to appease him, because the ALP Right couldn’t stand the idea of working with Syvia Hale and Lee Rhiannon of the Greens. So the idea that they are one happy progressive family a-la Penny Sharp (or Albo’s Boswell, whichever you prefer) is just ahistorical codswallop. Anyway, just saying.

    And while I am on the milk crate, the second most interesting candidate in this election, in terms of politics and appearance, is the Balmain Independent Jon Shapiro, who seeks nothing less than a revolutionary transformation of the legislative process. More power to him! As usual, Google has more.

    And, as a disclaimer, I must divulge that I have voted number 1 for the most interesting candidate, in terms of politics and appearance, Stuart Baanstra, who proudly disrobed at the draw for the Legislative Council ticket. Any man who eschews clothes is someone close to the Athenian traditions of demos. Well played that fellow.

  25. [Am I the only one who can’t stand Robbo?]

    Mytbw – no. I can’t either. His stand against Iemma for his own gain was the last straw. Not that I idolised Morris – I didn’t but he didn’t deserve Robbo.

  26. To give Robbo his due, he dragged the ALP kicking and screaming from it’s ‘me too, but harder’ stance on asylum seekersa. Mind you, David Bradbury flushed that bit of sunlight down the toilet in the lead up to the last election.

    From his house in Kurrajong Heights Robbo would almost be able to see Blacktown. His craven backdown on electricity privatisation will be felt harshly by households in NSW for generations.

    Mind you, The Singaporean Govt and China Light and Power picked up a bargain, courtesy of Roozendaal selling Robbo a pub and living Michael Costa’s dream.

    Robbo was an acolyte of Bernie Reardon. ’nuff said.

  27. Sportsbet Odds:
    Labor favourite to win 22 seats, another 2 are essentially dead even(Strathfield & Keira).
    At best, 24 isn’t a great result, but preferable to the real doomsday scenario of less than 15 lower house MPs.

  28. WRT Blue Mountains, if the Indy does well Labor could suffer the indignity of finishing FOURTH! When was the last time a major party finished 4th in a seat they currently held?

  29. BH

    [Mytbw – no. I can’t either. His stand against Iemma for his own gain was the last straw. Not that I idolised Morris – I didn’t but he didn’t deserve Robbo.]

    Couldn’t agree more!

    I know Morris quite well! He is a very decent man! He was in my Federal Electorate Council and although we were in different factions and never voted the same way we got on well and respected each other.

  30. MDM

    There are a lot of welfare recipients in the mountains. These might provide a base to the ALP vote. The Indy might just serve to cannibalise the others.

  31. Eddie @ 130

    Is the indy in Upper Hunter being helped by a collapse in the ALP vote?

    Chances of country independents have been talked up before and more often than not they don’t make much of a showing ..though sometimes they do.

  32. Voting in Port Macquarie consistently showing the National wins without going to preference, with ALP and Basseling struggling to get over 20%

    Perhaps the electorate iof Lynn is trying to send Oakshott a message

  33. @141

    Labor gets a reasonable vote in Upper Hunter, so there is fair amount available for an Indy to hoover up if the ALP primary collapses.

    The problem is that the Nationals got 60% of the primary vote in 2007, so any Independent would need to do a fair amount of eating into that, especially under OPV, and at an election where the trend is for the Coalition primary vote to rise.

  34. Crikey has an item on how right-wing religious disciples of David Clarke are lining up for government jobs.

    Barry O’Farrell, it says, will be hard-pressed to resist the surge.

    A landslide win will give these nutters a decade or two to change the face of NSW.

  35. I’m not sure the article debunked anything.

    All it says is KKK has made mistakes, O’Farrell has adopted moderate poses and there are some right-wing nutters in Labor.

    On the Opus Dei mob’s positioning for power, there is silence.

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