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. Eddie 174
    Not going to many ALP votes in Willoughby when I was voting Gladys came over and everyone in a very long early queue was saying good luck and meaning it. I hardly saw anyone with Labor HtVs and only a few young women with Greens HTV and they should run second judging by the non effort of Labor around the booths.
    The salt and pepper prawns were great the other day at Golden Century highly recommend mind you if you want to hang out with Frank Sartorial he’s down at Tabou on Crown Street these days great French and BYO too.
    I’ve got the Pol Roger in the fridge at our place ready to be opened the moment Antony Green calls it officially I hope not to wait very long I’m thirsty already.

  2. Geoffrey @ 198

    I’m with you in rationalising our three tiers of government. The tyranny of distance has been defeated long ago. We do not need state governments.

    However, if anything will make your eyes roll more than state elections, it will be the national referendum to abolish the states. Such a referendum will require all six states to vote yes, as it will effectively be six different referenda for each state to abolish itself. Such a vote could be kaibosched by any old rabble rouser who can scream about state pride and a great big Canberra power grab.

    Referendum campaign spokesperson for the No case, Barnaby Joyce, comes to mind……

  3. Labor pulling out all stops in the Gong, who’d a thunk 😉

    Labor told to stop handing out fake cards

    “The fake how-to-vote cards falsely indicate that Liberal voters should give their second preferences to the Labor candidate, Noreen Hay,” Ms Black said.

    Wowsers are out and about too, where’s Finns’ pole dancer by the way? 😉

    In Sydney’s inner city, the Sex Party was miffed by a Catholic priest’s insistence that volunteers pull down the party’s posters at St Peter’s Catholic Church, Devonshire Street, Surry Hills.

    No other parties were told to take down their signs, Sex Party spokesman Robbie Swan told AAP.


  4. Just heard on 2UE that ALP has been ordered by the AEC to stop handing out HTV cards in Noreen Hay’s seat. Apparently these cards made to look like Lib pamphlets said Vote 1 Liberal and Vote 2 Noreen Hay and are a dodgy document.

    Will they never learn!

  5. Helen Dalley from Sky News has made a comment that is a Liberal has said that

    “if the Greens cannot win Marrickville at this Election at this time then they most likely will never win a lower house seat”

    I find it hard to disagree

  6. We really need to abolish these HTV cards. Dodgy stuff like the ALP in Wollongong today, South Australia last year and the federal Liberals in WA at the 2004 election really just bring preferential voting into disrepute.

  7. I agree i think it is high time to have the how the vote cards placed on the polling booth.

    I understand the tradition of standing out the front of your booth supporting your team but it is an excuse for the parties to have one more piece of game play.

  8. Did as I said I would.

    Voted 1 Labor in the House and 1 Greens in the LC (Epping – Greg smith… could NEVER vote for him, even if he was the only candidate).

    Met the Greens candidate. She was a terrific young woman. Told her I couldn’t vote for her in the House, hoped a vote for Greens in the MLC was OK. She smiled and said that was fine by her. A lot were voting Greens in the upper house. Just as we were talking a bunch of young kids came alone – 4 couples and all asked (ostenatiously) for greens HTVs and nothing else. The candidate positively beamed.

  9. Mytwobobsworth

    Stupid thing to do, don’t reckon it would get them anymore number 2 votes anyway, silly buggers
    I’m doing OK ta 😉

  10. Mexican beemer

    “I understand the tradition of standing out the front of your booth supporting your team but it is an excuse for the parties to have one more piece of game play.”

    Could not agree more.

    As for putting the cards in a polling booth, if that is what it takes to remove the HTV cards from the polling booth gate then so be it. However, I think people can mark a preferential ballot themsleves. I do not think voters need HTV cards at all.

  11. Maybe the Electroical Commission needs to set rules for HTV cards allowing only for the card to promote the party candidate.

    It should be clear who the party is and who the candidate is

  12. Went to vote at Freshwater (Harbord) Public School this morning.

    Got handed the Lib and Green HTV papers. Then the Lab guy handed me his with the comment “Leave it on top”.

    Did not have the heart to tell him that I work in the electricity supply industry.

  13. [@211 Bushfire Bill
    Did you vote for Amy Smith in the lower house then? I know her. Just interested!]

    Bushfire Bill & Vogon Poet: I met her today, at the Thornleigh Community Centre polling booth, handing out how to votes with a few other young people!
    Really nice girl, the sort of person NSW Labor needs in future years for the rebuilding process.

  14. [@211 Bushfire Bill
    Did you vote for Amy Smith in the lower house then? I know her. Just interested!]


    Currently the panel on Sky news is gloating over the result, and trying to makle out it’s a vote against the Carbon Tax.

    Good. It’s not a State issue and let them get it out of their systems now.

    Their vote only really counts in a couple of years’ time.

  15. Vera

    It is clear that whatever the result today there will be a major clean out of the Sussex Street machine after this election. Can’t come quick enough for mine those jumped up upstarts should be made to pay.

    This is a time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the Party.

    Bitar is gone thank God and there should be a whole lot more of them to follow.

    For a lifetime Labor voter and nearly forty years a member it was important for me to vote against Labor in the Upper House today. The sooner Roozendaal gets his pension and racks off the better. Many more of the grubs should follow him and I am confident they will. They don’t like hard slog and hard slog is what it is going to take to reform the modus operandi of the ALP.

    Bet Kev will have a smile on his dial tonight!

  16. Don’t know if anyone can help with this… I applied for an ALP membership a few weeks ago but have still yet to receive anything or even confirmation. Is that because they only give new memberships at certain times (say the beginning of a month)?

  17. Vogon Poet: Let’s hope Greg Smith doesn’t increase his margin in Epping too much – he’s really an odious individual.

  18. What to watch tonight

    Election, Waratahs, AFL, NRL or the Poms v Sri Lanka

    Decicions, decisions
    the old remote contol will get a workout

  19. [Jasmine

    Posted Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    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.

    In the 2004 Federal Election and the New Country Party HTV card with no Printer details listed – I rang the Candidate (David Ritter) and he raissed it wirth an AEC official.

    I actually noted the error when I went to vote at my local booth.

    It was my first campaign as an ALP member.

  20. @231…. the material concerned was not a accident… this was done on purpose
    I’ll consider whether I lodge a formal complaint
    Re Eddieward……. I didn’t agree with every thing but he had considerable wisdom
    and his posts were made with an offbeat humour which was terrific

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