Galaxy: 53-47 to Coalition in NSW

Galaxy produces a headline figure for New South Wales which presumably flatters the Coalition, offering bad news for Mike Baird – and, perhaps, worse news for Tony Abbott.

Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph, Galaxy has an intriguing New South Wales state opinion poll which indicates that Mike Baird will have a nervous time of it ahead of the March 28 election, despite his personal popularity. Conducted last Wednesday and Thursday from a sample of 923, the poll has the Coalition’s two-party preferred lead at 53-47 – slightly down on the 54-46 lead the pollster recorded last month, in its first survey after Luke Foley became Labor leader. However, it’s quite a bit worse for the Coalition than the other major poll conducted on Foley’s watch, a 56-44 result in a poll for the Sydney Morning Herald by Ipsos – a pollster which appears to have a lean to the Coalition compared with its rivals, if its federal polling to date is any indication.

Making things still more interesting is that all the numbers quoted above are based on previous election preferences, which blew pollsters nearly three points off course at the Queensland election. This is particularly significant given that Queensland and New South Wales alone share the optional preferential voting system, under which the previous-election method would seem to be especially unreliable. That is especially true when comparing a colossal electoral disaster for Labor with an election held when they are on the upswing – a situation which applies both in Queensland and New South Wales.

On the primary vote, the Galaxy poll has the Coalition down two points to 43%, with Labor steady on 36% and the Greens down one to 10%. If preferences are allocated as per either the Queensland election result or the respondent-allocated preference flow from the Ipsos poll, the Coalition would either barely have its nose in front or be dead level, depending on how the wind was blowing with respect rounding. Which wouldn’t seem to bode too well so far as the short-term job security of the Prime Minister is concerned.

In other findings, the poll suggests Luke Foley has made a promising start as Opposition Leader, with his preferred premier rating up six points to 22%, although he is still well behind Mike Baird, who is down one to 46%. The poll also finds New South Wales voters little more keen than their Queensland counterparts with respect to leasing public assets to the private sector, and records 35% as favouring abolition of the Legislative Council, 41% favouring its retention, and 24% uncommitted. The accompanying report offers bad news for Tasmania’s Legislative Council in that its existence has, perhaps understandably, escaped the notice of the Tele’s Andrew Clennell.

A further poll for New South Wales, and indeed every other state, appeared last week courtesy of Roy Morgan, which engaged in its occasional practice of conducting national polling of state voting intention by SMS. The New South Wales result was somewhat better for the Coalition than Galaxy’s, putting the primary votes at 45% for the Coalition, 34% for Labor and 9.5% for the Greens. This pans out to a lead of 55.5-44.5 on 2011 election preferences, or Roy Morgan’s estimate thereof (I make it a bit higher). The poll was conducted last Saturday to Monday from a sample of 1203. Results for the other states can be found here.

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.

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