NSW election minus zero (no limit)

The final polls are in, and they say the same thing as all the others. Nielsen has the Coalition on 50 per cent, Labor on 22 per cent and the Greens on 13 per cent, with the two-party preferred at 64-36. Newspoll has also conducted another evening of polling to turn yesterday’s 1147 sample poll of March 21-23 into today’s 1488 sample poll of March 21-24. The voting figures however are unchanged: 50 per cent for the Coalition, 23 per cent for Labor, 12 per cent for the Greens, 64.1-35.9 two-party preferred (the decimal point being a contentious practice Newspoll has adopted for final pre-election polls).

Nielsen and Newspoll both offer metropolitan/non-metropolitan breakdowns, although Newspoll stingily limits it to two-party figures. Here we are told Labor faces an “approximate swing” of 20 per cent in Sydney and 11 per cent in the rest of the state, translating into respective two-party splits of 65-35 and 63-37. Nielsen has similar results but reverses the order: 63-37 in Sydney, 66-34 in the rest of New South Wales. Both tell a very different story from Essential Research, which had 71-29 in Sydney and 58-42 in the rest of NSW – which ended up producing a similar statewide figure because the differences cancelled out.

Hot off the press:

Imre Salusinszky of The Australian tips Labor to lose everything on a margin of 10 per cent or less with the “possible exceptions” of Swansea and Monaro; everything from 10 to 20 per cent except Lakemba, Fairfield, Campbelltown and Wallsend, and possibly Oatley, Toongabbie, Maroubra and Cessnock; perhaps also Cabramatta, Wollongong, Keira and very likely Newcastle; and set to lose Balmain and Marrickville to the Greens. As bad as this sounds, Salusinszky is actually making a “bullish” prediction of about 23 seats for Labor, owing to “some drift back by ‘true believers’ when they confront what Paul Keating called ‘the loneliness of the polling booth’”.

• My own very different view was published in Crikey yesterday. Please pretend that I included Granville in the list of possible Labor retains and Lake Macquarie as a second independent retain.

• A review of the contested seats by Andrew Clennell in the Daily Telegraph includes a few unorthodox calls, with Granville, Toongabbie and Monaro “set to fall”. John Robertson on the other hand is “expected to just hang on” in Blacktown.

Yesterday’s news:

Alexandra Smith of the Sydney Morning Herald reported that while Kristina Keneally had been “trying to save Labor seats in Wollongong, Cabramatta, Fairfield and Bankstown”, Barry O’Farrell’s schedule was taking in Drummoyne, Strathfield, Kogarah, Rockdale and “other points in Sydney’s west”.

• Andrew Clennell in the Daily Telegraph: “Pessimistic senior Labor sources appeared to back the (Galaxy) poll yesterday, saying they were regarding only eight to nine seats as “safe” and a further 14 as ‘winnable’.”

• Drew Warne-Smith of The Australian sounded pretty confident that Labor would lose Balmain and Marrickville, but there are alternative viewpoints around if you’re in the market.

Michelle Harris of The Newcastle Herald reported “leaked Labor polling” of 400 respondents in Newcastle showed support for independent candidate and Lord Mayor John Tate had “collapsed”, and that Liberal challenger Tim Owen led Labor incumbent Jodi McKay 52-48. The primary vote figures were said to be 30 per cent for Owen and 25 per cent for McKay, with the Greens relegating Tate to fourth place with 18 per cent against 16 per cent for Tate. The Herald’s Labor source said Greens voters could be “handing the seat to the Liberals” if they didn’t preference Labor, which might well inspire you view the figures with suspicion.

Tomorrow’s fish and chip paper:

• In Tamworth, where independent incumbent Peter Draper is thought to be fighting a losing battle against the Nationals’ Kevin Anderson, David Humphries of the Sydney Morning Herald tells of “the anti-Draper campaign’s relentless efforts to portray him as being in the government’s pocket”. “Anecdotal evidence” suggests the message is getting through.

Andrew West of the Sydney Morning Herald foresees Nathan Rees retaining Toongabbie.

Trouble at the mill:

• Fresh from carrying on like a pork chop before the news cameras last week, Labor’s Cabramatta MP Nick Lalich has had the Liberals crying foul over efforts to link their candidate Dai Le with Pauline Hanson. The Liberals have been circulating a photo of Lalich taking a hands-on approach to disseminating the message among the Vietnamese community, and there have reportedly also been letterdrops. Josephine Tovey and Damien Murphy of the Sydney Morning Herald reckon “straw polls” in the seat run 60-40 in favour of Le.

Kogarah MP Cherie Burton has admitted she was fined for reversing into a car and failing to exchange personal details with the owner, after first threatening legal action against the Sunday Telegraph if it pursued the story. While Barry O’Farrell is calling on Labor to disendorse her, Burton is unconvincingly complaining of “dirty tricks”. I understand Burton to have been a target of much ire on talk radio over the past week.


Fred Nile declares “a Christian agenda will be easier to achieve under a Coalition government”. Meanwhile, Labor has been heard pleading for mercy from Greens voters, only a few of whom will be directed to preference Labor by their party’s how-to-vote cards.

• Pleading the dangers of conservative control, Labor will direct second preferences to the Greens in the upper house despite the lack of a quid pro quo.

• The Newcastle Herald reports “the Liberal Party has decided not to direct its preferences to independent candidate Shayne Connell in Wallsend after he refused to return the favour”.

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.

233 comments on “NSW election minus zero (no limit)”

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  1. Mick Quinlivan
    Posted Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know how the Nsw electoral commission handles complaints about non -authorised election material? I received some which could have only been written
    by a liberal staffer or some on in liberal party head office

    The booth captain should have a sheet with who to call and a book to take notes and details (ideally signed and witnessed) to be used later if necessary.

    I’ve always had ‘ring x on y’ immediately if type instructions, for a marginal seat, given NSW wont have many of them it might just be a ‘save them up’ and whinge later plan for you guys.

  2. @87…. the liberals have promised a increased share of infrastructure for the north shore
    see yesterdays telegraph……… the money has to come from some where doesn’t it!

  3. Update from the Mountains – booths were busy early, but pretty quiet now. No real surprise as prepoll has been consistently huge. Sausages average, although welcome distraction from the coming conservative doom.

    Mays has many booth workers, all in orange t-shirts. Lib, Lab and Greens in fewer numbers. Large “Just Vote 1” signs everywhere, with microscopic M Neeham authorisation.

    I am supplied with red wine and food featuring large amounts of trans fats. Thinking of starting drinking now…

  4. In many safe Liberal seats the Greens will come second. I expect the Greens will outpoll the ALP in Wakehurst, Ku-ring-gai, Willoughby, Vaucluse and North Shore amongst others.

    Other seats where the Greens will come second include Marrickville and Heffron (to the ALP) and possibly maybe Epping.

  5. Eddie

    You can probably add Davidson, Manly, Pittwater, Ballina to that list.

    Noting your listing of seats where the Greens come second – in how many will the ALP end up with sub 10% votes, or even a sub 5%?

  6. Pretty quiet at our polling place too.

    I walked pasted the lot of them handing out How to Votes, said I knew who i was voting for thanks anyway, and I swear to God the Green hander outerer mooed at me!!!

    Bloody Jerseys, always have to have the last word!

    So then I went and did my duty, added another box, ticked it and wrote kevinischuck alongside it 😆

    The Australian Democrats got my upper house vote, in memory of Cheryl

  7. Hmm…looking at it another way this election isn’t that bad. At least the Labor campaign volunteers tonight aren’t fearing for their personal safety.

    Australia is quite a nice country afterall.

  8. OC – re the Poll Bludger dinner at the Golden Century, I suggest we get Reba Meagher as a guest speaker. I’m sure Frankie V would be wrapt!

  9. Johhno Johnston – would of course be in charge of the raffle (did you get your miserable book of tickets from him this time? someone should really organize his residential care)

  10. Have decided to go Labor in the lower house and Greens in the upper.

    Labor has no chance of winning in my area anyway, so it’s a wasted vote, but I’d like to give the booth workers some encouragement. They must be feeling terrible right now.

  11. Blackburnpseph, you are a wicked man. I love it. We could get Eric Roozendaal to tally up the bill.

    OC – Johnno will need three walking sticks after this. As far as I can figure ouyt his residential care is Eddie Obied’s office in state parliament. Not on their mailing list thank satan.

    Oop, there’s the phone!

  12. eddie

    [mytwobobs, but the Party scrutineers can’t touch the ballot paper!]

    I know I have done it a dozen or more times – one time till 1am the following morning!

  13. Eddie:

    Ah my good man.

    Methinks the great Antony Green is going to need a more descriptive superlative than “collapsed” to describe the Labor vote tonight in his second-to-none coverage via the national broadcaster. I thought “rogered” or “disappeared faster than a Tendulkar boundary” might be apt. Your thoughts sir?

  14. OK, here’s the mail.

    Blue Mountains – Janet Mays booth workers are running two to one against the major parties. She has about six people in orange T-Shirts (thank you Your Rights At Work) on every booth seen this morning.

    Former ALP Mayor Jim Angel spotted outside Katoomba Street booth, which is ‘going as well as can be expected, if not better’ for them. Ex-councillor and Liberal Right operative Egan (remember the Lindsay leaflet in 2007?) spotted at Katoomba High, which is bizarre. It would be like the ALP staffing Gordon Public School. The Libs must be desperate for votes in the Upper Mountains. Mays has a roll on here. Greens presence noticeable down on last year.

    Reports that there are NO ALP booth workers right across the North Shore.

    Re Greens coming second in safe Lib – I accept your additions with the exception of Ballina and Manly where there still pockets of ALP vote that will go low, but the Greens can’t catch them in these seats, especially Ballina.

    ALP out in force in outer western Sydney.

  15. I cant remember the phrase but in the 2007 election Anthony was going to give us a secret code when it was all done and dusted.
    something to do with whale hunting I think?

  16. Eddie:

    This Blue Mountains voter can confirm the number and enthusiasm of the Janet Mays booth workers this morning as was physically assaulted with about three Mays workers each clutching a “Vote Independent” leaflet. All I remember was a blur of orange and sensible shoes…

    Can confirm though that former mayor Jim Angel was at the St Canice’s booth in Katoomba, looking glum and resigned to a real shellacking.

  17. Seats where the ALP will poll less than 10%: Wakehurst, Ku-ring-gai, Willoughby, Vaucluse, Davidson, Pittwater and North Shore. In another score of seats they will be in the teens.

  18. Ah, Jimmy Angel. The old grey mayor who ain’t what he used to be.

    Thanks Rich. How where the Liberal polling booth worker numbers?

  19. Eddie

    How are Liberal booth workers across western and southern Sydney – numbers on the ground may be the difference between winning and losing.

  20. Well, the polling booth I just voted in (in the northern part of Lake Macquarie) was packed out, with a long queue and staff run off their feet.

    But this may have been due to two other booths in the area being shut down at short notice. Staff were not impressed. How often does that happen?

    As far as HTVs clutched in peoples’ hands go, there was fairly even mix of Independent (Piper, the incumbent), Labor & Greens (not many takers for the Liberal, who was their Federal candidate for Charlton last year, that I saw).

    But there were very many people brushing past the volunteers, not taking any. Even in that group, I saw little evidence of the slight smugness that one often sees. Busy & businesslike, but deflated, I suppose you could characterise the mood…

  21. In East Hills ALP workers were well and truly out numbered by Lib workers in their blue tee shirts and Christian Democrats.

  22. Blue Mountains (and before that Hartley) has been a bellwether seat since 1941 (Coates called himself an independent between 1965 and 1976 but he was as Liberal as Robin Askin)

  23. Eddie:

    Re query on Liberal booth workers. Out in numbers as they have been all week in Katoomba street. Looking smug. Usually stand in groups on five or six (for security I s’pose) arguing over who’s turn it is to have the chin.

  24. eddie


    I thought this was an exit poll?]

    Don’t the parties sometimes perform exit polls to get more detailed demographics and opinions on why people voted the way they did?

  25. Heard Libs big in Penrith and Mulgoa, but pretty sketchy elsewhere. Would love a report from the ‘gong and Riverstone.

    East Hills is gone.

    OC – spot on about Blue Mountains (and Hartley). Penrith would have been a Lib seat for years too, but for Ron Mulock.

    People who knew the Late Barry Morris MP, former member for Blue Mountains, will be surprised to hear that his gravestone at the Hartley cemetery bears the inscription ‘Loved By All’, which came as something of surprise to me. It’s a lovely spot to pull up for a stretch and a piss when travelling west on the Great Western Highway.

  26. Kersebletes, that’s ordinary. Did they give a reason why the booths were closed at short notice? Maybe material stuck in the fugazi on the F3 early this am?

  27. [East Hills is gone]

    I think so too! Heard from one of the booth workers about an hour ago that one of his staff members was in tears yesterday.

  28. eddieward,

    No, they didn’t volunteer a reason for the closures, and I didn’t want to take up more of their time jawing about it.

    But now that you mention it, the F3 stuff-up could very well be a good guess.

  29. I will be interested in seeing whether the swing in Ryde and Penrith was mostly played out in the bye-election or whether there yet is more mugging of the ALP going on – that would suggest battling Kristina wasn’t much of an asset.

    BTW, I received my 40 year meritorious service medal from her – seriously tall and unexpectedly patient and polite. Shame about her decision making skills.

    Huge amount of experience going out the door from the PS in that lot that day!

  30. If the Libs are working Katoomba (where they normally come third behind the ALP and the Greens, they must really need votes. I think Mays must be very close to winning this seat. I don’t suppose you recognised any of them as locals?

    Reports that the ALP has shipped people in to Blue Mountains as well. Big ALP numbers in Blacktown.

  31. Barry didn’t die wondering about how I felt about him. I told him a few times. And the emotion was not one of love.

    Re Ryde and Penrith, maybe less so the former but I expect ALP vote to register a muted bounceback from the by-election figures. The Green vote here will go backwards too. There was a lot of anger about Paluzanno that has dissipated and Tim Ayres, is, well, Tim Ayres. I never thought I’d feel sorry for Marise Payne, but, well, there you go.

  32. blackburnpseph – always the King Gees matey. But they don’t let us wear the singlets no more 🙁 Gotta wear the Yellow tops and look like a whale on its way to a dance party.

    Pffft. Modern life is overrated.

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