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.

52 comments on “Galaxy: 53-47 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. With the power of social media and the clearly rising unpopularity of privatisation the LNP may well face a swing against them that puts Baird in real trouble.

    As well, the unpopularity of Abbott continues to be the albatross around the LNP neck !


    MORE than half of voters surveyed­ in a Galaxy Daily Telegraph poll either support scrapping the NSW upper house or are uncommitted to its future.

    The poll found that 35 per cent of people supported removing the NSW legislative council, while a further 24 per cent were uncommitted.

    However, despite concerns that the upper house was holding up government business in NSW, 41 per cent of those surveyed­ were against any move to shut it down.

    Doesn’t “uncommitted” means “I don’t care either way”? I don’t like the way they have phrased this. There is no overwhelming evidence to show that people want the upper house scrapped.

  3. This is a pretty decent result for Labor considering the thrashing they got last time.

    As William points out, these results also rely on previous preference allocation, so I suspect the election result will be even closer.

    I just want there to be enough opposition in the upper house to stop the privatisation of a massive public monopoly.

  4. 21 or the 42 Legislative Council members are up for re-election in March. Those whose terms expire were elected in 2007 when Labor won Government.

    – Coalition: 8
    – Labor: 9
    – Fred Nile / Shooters: 2 (fringe right)
    – Greens: 2

    The continuing members of the Upper House reflect the 2011 Coalition landslide:

    – Coalition: 11
    – Fred Nile / Shooters: 2
    – Labour: 5
    – Green: 3

    That’s a right wing majority of 13:8 in the continuing councillors. If the result in March is something like Coalition 9, Labor 8 with 2 each for Greens and fringe right, the Coalition will have 20 of 42 Councillors, with the Right having 24 of 42.

  5. From the little state election advertising I’ve seen (I don’t consume much commercial TV or radio), Labor and its allies are going heavily on privatisation.

  6. Finally a poll gives us something to go on. I had posted before on the perception that Baird was home and hosed was probably unjustified. The sell off is pitched squarley at Sydney and ignores the rest of the state to a large degree, we will see how that pans out over the next 4 weeks won’t we.

  7. @ Steve777, 8

    It’d be interesting to know whether the swing (to Labor) required to deny the Right control of the upper house is greater than or less than the swing required to win Labor the lower house (assuming the swing is more or less uniform).

  8. “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”

    Better hide this one from Bernard!

  9. Arrnea,

    I don’t know the intricacies of the NSW system, but the general stucture would suggest that the swing to win control of the lower house will be smaller.

    Basic rule of thumb is that hte upper house represents the average of the last two elections, while the lower house represents only the most recent election. Since the Coalition won the 2011 election so clearly, any result that is about 50/50 leaves them more than 50% of the upper house, after you average it out.

    These are gross simnplifications, but the rule of thumb holds.

  10. Re Rates Analyst @12: that reasoning looks right.

    Also, for Labor plus Greens to get to 22 of 42 seats, they would need to win 14 or the 21 seats up for grabs, a huge landslide. That’s not going to happen.

    On the numbers given (assuming they translate to the Upper House), it looks like Labor would win 7 or 8 seats, 2 for the Greenns, 9 for the Coalition and 2 or 3 other (probably fringe Right) candidates, giving a result of Labor 13 if they win 8, Greens 5, Coalition 20, other (probably all Right Wing) 4.

    Note: on the numbers for primary votes, for the 2PP to be 53:47 for LNP, preferences for ‘Others’ (not Labor, Coalition or Green) would from 70-75% to the Coalition.

  11. It is the MLCs elected in 2007, not those elected in 2011, who are up for election. The ALP got over 52% of the 2PP (If I remember correctly) and so it would have to do about that well not to loose a seat or more in the Legislative Council and give the Coalition an easier time. The ALP could win in the Legislative Assembly but lose a seat in the Council.

  12. Queensland and Tasmania, by contrast, have single-chamber­ parliaments.

    And this, Tasmania is bicameral….

    Given the lock Liberal and independent conservatives have had on the Tas Leg Co, reform of the electoral system has been slow or non-existent.

    In 1998 the Morling report recommended the abolition of the Leg Co and an increase of the size of the Assembly. This was blocked by the Leg Co.

  13. I live in the seat of East Hills which is on a margin of .06%. On these figures it looks most likely that Cameron Murphy will be a shoe in.

    This could turn into a rout like Queensland thanks Mr Abbott you really are serving the ALP very well.

  14. Im starting to think SMS polls are biased towards the more “desperate” side, this was ALP over recent years, and is also GRN in the month before any election. Now its the LNP which is “desperate”, they are on the back foot, and i think its telling the Morgans SMS poll is outside this Galaxy result.
    Its a tend worth looking for at last IMO.

  15. What mystifies me is that Labor in NSW and Qld are opposed to privatisation BUT the signature policy of the Victorian ALP – removal of 50 level crossings – is predicated on the sale/ lease of the Port of Melbourne. The Liberals seem incapable of pointing out this inconsistency and it also shows that Labor don’t have a coherent policy across the board.

  16. From what was reported last week, a NSW ALP government will be a blast from the past. They are planning to spend significantly less on infrastructure than the Libs. Part of the NSW problem now is that the Carr government spent precious little on infrastructure after the Olympics leaving the current government to pick up the mess. Luke Foley promises more of the same – Sydney will become unliveable though congestion.

  17. [MORE than half of voters surveyed­ in a Galaxy Daily Telegraph poll either support scrapping the NSW upper house or are uncommitted to its future.]

    Nearly two-thirds of voters surveyed in a Galaxy Daily Telegraph poll either support keeping the NSW upper house or are uncommitted to its future.

  18. Blackburnpseph @20:

    NSW Labor weren’t great at infrastructure, it’s true, but the Coalition haven’t picked up their slack they’ve just continued it.

    Here’s Andrew Fraser whining that whatever low level of funding Labor put in to the Pacific Highway, the Coalition would do no better:

    “If it was good enough for Labor, it’s good enough for us” pretty much sums up their attitude.

  19. blackburnseph @ 20 – I don’t understand your criticism considering:
    a) virtually all of the LNP’s proposed infrastructure spending is funded through privatisation of poles and wires
    b) Labor’s infrastructure spend is “less” primarily because it wants to scrap road projects, especially WestConnex – a good outcome for Sydney congestion-wise.
    c) is planning smarter spending e.g. actually committing to expanding rail capacity as well as expanding the new light rail system to Parramatta.

  20. Steve777 @ 13

    Don’t forget the optional preferential nature of the Upper House. Which means the last 3-5 slots are elected on much less than a quota as votes exhaust and preferences don’t flow. Quota is 4.55, so it’s a big ask for Labor to get to 8 (8x 4.55 = 36.4) as their upperhouse votes slays into micro parties. They may have enough hanging over after they get their 7th up but it will be close.

    7 for the ALP, 8 for the Coal (on current polling – that might drop over the next month, 2 for the Greens, 1 for the Shooters are all a lock. Then the remaining 3 are a lottery which could easily be shared amongst the above or fall the way to other micros on 1 or 2%.

  21. 20 & 24

    There certainly was a problem with a lack of rail capacity spending under the previous government. Much needed capacity between Central and Chatswood was not (and has still not been) built. After Carr went, they could not even keep a project in the pipeline for a couple of years without dumping it.

  22. blackburnpseph @ 19

    The ALP took privatisation to both the last QLD and NSW elections where they got flogged. They then have since changed their policies as the Coalition adopted them. The Vics obviously haven’t learnt the lesson.

  23. Interesting to see how Crikey and its acolytes can take such extreme pleasure from a poll showing figures of 53-47% in favour of the NSW Coalition.
    Ain’t love wonderful?

  24. [Ipsos Australia ‏@IpsosAustralia
    The latest Ipsos ‘Issues Monitor for NSW’ is now out: … #nswpol #auspol
    2:07 PM – 23 Feb 2015

    Leroy ‏@Leroy_Lynch
    @IpsosAustralia don’t forget the #nswvotes hashtag once the writs are issued, although you could pretty much start
    2:11 PM – 23 Feb 2015

    Ipsos Australia ‏@IpsosAustralia
    @Leroy_Lynch Thanks – we have one more NSW poll due in mid March, and our next National Poll commences this Thursday, results out on Monday
    2:15 PM – 23 Feb 2015]

  25. People generally don’t have the same sort of relationship with the Port of Melbourne as they do with things like electricity, the Port has been on the sale chopping block for sometime and no one really objects to it being sold.

  26. 34

    I believe the Greens are against it and if the Coalition decides that it should only be sold under a Coalition government then there is no sale if legislation or regulations are needed.

  27. A surprisingly strong result for labor with this poll.
    Keep hammering the privatisation of the poles and wires and labor could just pinch it.
    Foley doing ok so far, getting his lines right and achieving much better cut through than Robertson ever did.
    But i doubt labor will win. The Baird is-not-Newman-is-not-Abbott “factor” will see the libs home methinks. Still predicting 52-48 on election day to the coalition which is a pretty good comeback from the last election.

  28. For anyone interested the details of Labor’s campaign launch:

    [When: Sunday 1st March 10:30AM
    Where: The Cube, 20-22 Camden Rd, Campbelltown NSW 2560]

    Wise move to take it out of the City.

  29. Just got robo-polled by ReachTEL for Oatley.

    Asked the usual questions about voting and leadership plus the number one issue out of:

    Health (St George Hospital); Education (TAFE); Infrastructure (M5); and Privatisation (Rail & Power).

  30. One big difference between NSW and Qld/Vic is the strength of the Nationals. They took a few seats off independents last time, and about 12% of the primary vote. How this will play out in preference flows I don’t know.

    If the Libs had a slogan of “Keep Baird today, kick out Abbott tomorrow”, they’d win pretty comfortably.

  31. GG @37:

    I wonder why Abbott hasn’t stepped in to “help” Baird with the election. Surely, it couldn’t be insecurity about how much we little battlers for Team Austraya wuv him?

  32. NathanA @40:

    For better or worse, State politics is increasingly seen as a proxy for Commonwealth politics. ALP State Governments are on the nose when the ALP is in Canberra, and the same applies to the Coalition.

  33. [Gary
    Posted Monday, February 23, 2015 at 12:35 pm | PERMALINK
    The LNP in Qld have decided privatisation is not for them now. Consistent policy?


    It’s amazing what a good electoral thrashing can achieve.

    As Henry Kissinger once said in relation to the Vietnam war, when you’ve got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.

  34. GhostWhoVotes @GhostWhoVotes · 28s 28 seconds ago
    #Newspoll 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 47 (+4) ALP 53 (-4) #auspol

    What the?

    How does this help my Malcolm?

  35. Darn @ 44

    As Henry Kissinger once said in relation to the Vietnam war, when you’ve got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.

    That aphorism was certainly not coined by Kissinger. Many sources say it originated with Teddy Roosevelt or John Wayne. We’ll probably never know, but I reckon it sounds like Lyndon Johnson, and it’s certainly associated with the Vietnam War era.

  36. re: Newspoll results, what’s intriguing is that although there’s been a big swing back to the Coalition, and even to Tony as preferred PM, Abbott’s personal ratings remain largely unchanged.

  37. President @47:

    Which makes me wonder…is this a rogue poll? Was the 57-43 poll a rogue poll? Or is Newspoll stacking the deck? A look at their methodology (sampling, questions and order of them…) would be interesting.

  38. He was a pathetic referee, then an ordinary official, made no impression as sports minister ,then takes over the basket case club on the Gold Coast…… next ?? Has to be a federal lib, he has the CV to match.

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