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.
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.
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.
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.