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. Would love a report on Riverstone, a friend of a friend is the Greens candidate there but it doesn’t seem like a area where that matters…

    My microasm of friends seems to all voting No Parking Meters party

  2. kevrenor,

    Well done on your meritorious service award! You would be long in the tooth enough to remember the PS prior to it being a domain of Ministerial minions?

    Your measured and reasonable comments show you to be a sad loss for public policy in NSW.

    I was off sick the day they handed out measured and reaasonable, but I do admire those that wield it. More power to your keyboard sir.

  3. After Corbett got elected on the Better Future For Our Children Party ticket, I always wondered how someone would go with a Stuff The Children I Need A Holiday Party.

    That said, the no parking meters people don’t really have much outside of Coogee do they, but could that name attract enough ALP people (a-la Corbett) looking to park their vote somewhere?

  4. Just got back from handing out at a booth in Sydney. Clover Moore has more people handing out than she could possibly use sensibly. Her people are urging a vote for John Hatton in the upper house – “Clover’s recommendation” – he’d get in without it, but he’d be happy to have it.

    The Greens had barely any presence, obviously targeting Marrickville and Balmain. One person at all times, occasionally a second person popping in. Clover looks to be in no trouble as her HTVs were easily the most popular.

  5. Re Clover backing Hatton, I wonder if Torbay and Tate are as well?

    One seat we haven’t discussed is Dr Joe McGirr in Wagga. He’s swimming against the tide, but Hatton has been pumping for him down Riverina way too, I hear.

  6. Eddie and Blackburn
    Ian McDonald will be picking up the bill it’s on the tab and he will get The PBs a free upgrade to Silver Service Cabs or a hire car if you need a lift home!

  7. Been handing out in Swansea – enough ALP booth workers, minimal Libs and Greens, no handing out for Ind Sneddon (Miltons staffer)

  8. I hear Milton (the Monster) is running a book on the outcome from his cell in Cessnock -he’s backing the Fudge Puncher Party…

  9. Edward o
    [The Greens had barely any presence, obviously targeting Marrickville and Balmain…]
    Could also be some issue of candidate quality – her claim to “fame” being Chris Harris’ speechwriter! (Although I havent been able to follow the election as closely as I would like, candidate quality seems to be a bit of an issue for Greens – like I guess most parties)

    Clover usually has a ridiculous number of people around (not long on “sensible” generally); I will be interested to see how Liberals fare in Sydney, though probably Clover has too much of a following to lose

  10. To all ALP members who want to see the return to democratic values inside the party, a Sydney Rally has been organised by the Summer Hill Branch at 2pm, Saturday 2nd April at the Tom Mann Theatre, 136 Chalmers Street, Surrey Hills… the Inaugural meeting of the Reform NSW Labor movement.

    A similar meeting will be held in the Hunter in the following week/s…

    Contact: reformnswlabor@gmail.com


  11. Lessons on Election Day

    There is something more than faintly eighteenth century about the circus of lamington drives, sausage sizzles, HTV volunteers, posters and soliciting that goes on outside voting centres, for a process that is supposedly confidential. People can directly solicit, entice, harrass, for your votes in minutes and few metres before making it! All this parapanelia, including exit polls, should be banned (at least to 200 metres from centre) and replaced as is case in some european countries will simple HTV information for candidates in each electorate on sheets, booklets or notices include the booth. Then volunteers can find some more intelligent use of their efforts during campaign time. Has anyone studied if the electoral carousing has any effect on votes? My particular gripe extents to the facade of face to face sociability one is forced to maintain in the australian ways with representatives of parties and candidates one has grown to mistrust if not dislike for past eight weeks. More sauce, less sizzle.

  12. geoffrey

    Rubbish. Pass throught the door and the AEC has control. Whan happens outside amounts to a hill of beans.

    In fact you get you chance to register your distast for a particular party by refusing to take their how to vote card.

  13. Ah, that will be the fine work of Marcus Strom involved in organising that ALP rank and file rally. He used to be in Vanessa Redgrave’s trot party back in the UK I believe? Or was it the comms? Nice enough bloke. Works at the SMH. Told me he was acting foreign editor there a few years ago. “So your subbing the AFP feed,” I said. Albo’s people view him as a sort of useful idiot and a buffer against the Greens spreading further ouyt through the inner west. But, as lovely as he is, no one in the ALP really takes Marcus seriously. Trying to reform the ALP is like trying to unring a bell.

  14. geoffrey, yep there has been some research and having a HTV issued at a booth generally lifts your vote by a fifth (from where it would be if you didn’t have anyone).

    Your suggestion is eminently sensible and they already have it in the ACT and SA, where HTV information is placed on the wall of the actual polling cubicle. Politicos don’t get it but being mugged on your way into vote is a most unpleasant experience for many people, especially when the booth workers don’t take no for an answer.

    That said, I think you should withdraw your outrageous slander of that most wonderful of centuries, the eighteenth. It’s a personal favourite of mine.

  15. “Albo’s people view him as a sort of useful idiot “.

    Don’t dismiss him too lightly, we have a “useful idiot” as leader of the federal opposition and he is doing ok.

  16. fredn, but most people’s distaste extends to all parties. Australians are a very polite people when it is all said and done.

  17. Methinks it’s gonna be very bad. No Labor people at my polling station of Willoughby – NSW – Incumbent MP – Gladys Berejiklian, since 2003.

    It just has a box, and i did talk to the box and asked for a how to vote, but answer.

  18. I don’t take Marcus lightly, but unless he can raise $20 milklion his protest movement isn’t going anywhere except for a biut of old fashioned foot stamping public meeting hysteria.

    Ask yourself this question. How will a revolt by the ALP rank and file help the South West Sydney Area Health Service?

    Let’s not treat the symptoms of social malaise. Let’s treat the disease that’s killing society.

  19. Just going back through the thread and saw this:
    [Of all NSW Labor’s evildoings, amongst the most destructive is promoting Labor cronies and toadies into virtually the entire senior Public Service management. The ALP hasn’t just rorted all the departmental head offices’ plums (like Keira ALP candidate, 33 year old Ryan Park’s $250K appointment in our woeful Dept. of Transport). This cancer has spread to every nick and cranny of the state.]
    If there is one thing that really annoyed me about Labor in power even when I was a party member, it is this trend, which is not confined to transport, or to NSW, though is worse there than anywhere else I know. The sense of entitlement of these political wannabees, that get put into senior roles at ages decades younger than any career publci servant could dream of, is unbelievable. They don’t even know enough to know what they don’t know. The effect on public sector morale is terrible, as is the effect on decision making competence. Then they wonder why NSW Labor can’t get a funding submission through Infrastructure Australia. These idiots have cost the state billions in waste and lost funding.

  20. Which reminds me of the ALP candidate in Coffs during Wran’s day. He was running around like a blue-arsed fly all day and forgot to vote!

  21. Thefinnigans The Finnigans
    I wonder what time Antony Green will call the election? . #nswvotes #abcnews24
    3 minutes ago

  22. I don’t live in Sydney but thanks to eddie and atticus for the kind offer of port earlier 🙂 I sympathise with you guys, and despite past comments on the hierarchy, do not for a moment suggest that the average rank and file members and supporters of NSW Labor deserve what is going to happen. Hopefully, when the dust clears, it will be possible to rebuild.

    However I have never found the Liberals to be a forgiving lot. Therefore I fear there will be many more embarrasing revelations for Labor once the Liberals in office get hold of the financial books. A painful year or two ahead I’m afraid.

  23. Socrates, not to mention the joy of waiting around in a NSW casualty Ward.

    The other thing too is these young pups call for a report into…something that has already had a brazillion reports done into it already. The solution is usually obvious, but expensive. In six months they move on to be a glorified tea lady at some Federal Minister’s office and the next bright spark…calls for a report. etc.

    Your right. The effect on morale is debilitating for people who are actually across their jobs. A mate who is pretty senior in the Federal AG’s Dpt. describes Bill SHorten as the man who develops policy by Press Release followed by focus group.

    It’s scary funny.

  24. Socrates, I don’t live in Sydney either, but I’d make an effort to get up in the truck to dine at the famous Golden Century in Sussex Street – especially if Dianne Beamer was the guest speaker!

  25. eddie

    I actually live in Adelaide, but have worked on several transport planning projects in Sydney. Grrr! very frustrating!

    Anyway I have to be off now but I hope some of the better members like Steve Whan survive. I’ll predict Labor 21 seats and said earlier the result (Liberal victory) will be called by 7.10pm

  26. o thanks eddieward 166 – an audience for a long standing gripe. why anyone would think well of this amateur political sideshow is beyond me. it is surprising that there could be 20% difference for HTV – that is astounding if true. Seems in this election there was very little information to hand out – most candidates exhausted preferences at 1. thanks also for infor that reform has occurred in australia – SA and ACT. Yes politicians seem detached for administrative aspect of constitutional reform – one also loonnng overdue, and non discussed legacy of defeat of republic, is the absurd continuation of the westminster oppositional proxemics in all the parlilamentary chambers of this country. local government seems to be only level to escape the structured cross fighting of political behaviour that is bound to occur when your audience is very opposition. one is constantly embarrassed by the belligerency of our federal and state parliaments, behaviour that would change with changing of the furniture. the architecture of republican chambers – when the speaker comes to front and addresses all members as cross benches – is much to be preferred.

  27. Joe McGirr is running against an endorsed Labor candidate??!! – he must have changed since I knew him.

    At Tacking Point booth in Port Macquarie (which is middle class rather than PWT and therefore pro-Oakeshott/Besseling) Nats workers outnumbered Besseling’s 2:1. The Nats are pouring everything into this as a de facto attack on Oakeshott. What will be the spin? For mine tne Nats would need a thumping victory (>10%) to be able to claim Oakeshott is in trouble.

  28. [it is surprising that there could be 20% difference for HTV – that is astounding if true.]

    That figure says that 20% extra will follow the HTV options in terms of 2nd place etc. It doesn’t mean the primary vote is any different. And it doesn’t work for the Greens etc as their supporters tend to think for themselves.

  29. Geoffrey @ 180

    HTV cards

    I agree with you we could well do without it. But unfortunately if one major party gives out HTV cards, the other must fall in or fall behind. It is mutually assured annoyance!

    Govt vs Oppn

    Just remember the US has the system you pine for, but it is one of the most partisan and belligerent political systems on the planet. The absence of an orgainsed opposition of shadow government does not remove the problem of feral politics.

  30. Which reminds me of the ALP candidate in Coffs during Wran’s day. He was running around like a blue-arsed fly all day and forgot to vote!

    Not as bad as Harry Jago, Liberal Health Minister and Member for Gordon who forgot to out his nomination in which then resulted in the election of a DLP member – now what was his name?

  31. The Nats are organised in Port Mac because Rick Colless, Deputy Nat leader in the LC moved there specifically to work on Oakshitt and Bessling – oh, and he did leave his missys for a younger model who lived there….

  32. jarama,

    you are thinking of Kevin Harrold, MP Gordon from 1973 to 1976 representing the Democratic Labor Party, the only person ever elected to a single-member electorate in New South Wales representing that party, due to Harry Jago, Liberal, failing to nominate.

    Thanks Eddie for the nice words … a few D-G’s (incl. ghu, John Lee and MCT) didn’t seem to think so when I sat opposite them as a lead delegate of the PSA’s departmental branch (oddly an independent, in a largely right-wing branch)

  33. [EAST Hills Labor MP Alan Ashton says he’s insulted the Greens have decided not to give their preferences to major parties in the State Election . . .

    “I take it as a personal insult that I wasn’t given Green preferences,” he said.]


    I guess he’ll be downright affronted by the voters choosing to turf him out.

    [“It will kill me if we don’t get some (preferences) and we elect a person that didn’t want to front up here (to speak to voters).”]

    So we should see a double saving to the taxpayer as Al departs not only Macquarie Street, but this mortal coil.

  34. thanks 185 scrutineer – no was not talking about anything as fundamental as how parties are organised – more the communication or rhetorial style of debate within the chamber – at present our parties face each other across a table, whose width and layout apparently has origins in some eighteenth century (sorry eddieward) or earlier tradition of keeping members at sword’s length – the suggestion is that they would come forward to a lecturn and addressed rows of both parties – this as i understand it is typical republication house layout. the effect would certainly change, and could lessen, the extreme partisan histrionics of our parliaments – esp as televised federally. of course it would taken a LOT more than this reform to improve any deep shortcoming of our poilitical system – one could suggest one or two even more fundamental constitutional changes loooong overdue (abolition of colonial state governments to state with) but thought that is enough for this thread – of course no architecture will disguise to overwhelming presence of one party in the next nsw state parliament – government speakers will easily be able to address their own, who will be seating in rows or seats commonly reserved for the opposition. architectural as well as political hegemony indeed!

  35. News from the Jerrabomberra booth in Monaro – huge presence by Nationals, strong presence by ALP including Mike Kelly, Greens 2-3 people continuously with how to vote, people handing out upper house tickets for John Hatton and the Christian Democratic Party respectively plus a local independent. The full catastrophe.

    Nationals quietly confident, ALP uncertain but not discouraged. “Stick with Steve” was their slogan. ALP was trying the risky strategy of having someone handing out a pamphlet which read” Thinking of voting Green 1- Vote Labor 2 Give Labor your second Preference. a complicated message to sell in the context and one that might have the result of encouraging people to vote Green

  36. The very best of luck and good wishes to those handing out for the side of righteousness in NSW today, whether they be Labor, Green or Independent.

    It must be hard to get as excited as usual about such things when the result seems so predetermined, but every bit of strength the seemingly soon to be opposition forces can retain is going to be absolutely critical.

    I dips me lid to you all.

  37. As they say the only poll that counts is the election – after dreadful poll driven elections over the past 20 years why on earth does Crikey join in.

  38. isn’t this the election and the parliament we are not supposed to have – these post colonial rump state governments. the problem is systemic – a black hole of meaningless representation waiting to suck in the next government. what a galactic time wasting. what century is it? how and when will dynamic for real time occur?
    i know, i know, comrade, what is there and what is real. but life is also too short for merry go round. john hatton puts his aging retired hat in ring (and inconveniences many local candidates but what the hell, the white knight is back even if he went into the sunset eons ago) but does he have a substantive program of reform? its more state politics than ever – something about the integrity of his candidates (who were not even pre-selected from what I can find out), and a charter of honesty. that’s about it. ho hum. sorry to upset that fan club – cynicism is the order ot today.

  39. [As they say the only poll that counts is the election – after dreadful poll driven elections over the past 20 years why on earth does Crikey join in.]

    Oh my dear Marilyn,

    You’re a tenacious young lady and I do love your sense of irony, not matter how repetitious it gets!

    All the best for your retirement.

    Warmest of regards,


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