Galaxy: 54-46 to Coalition in NSW

A mid-campaign poll for the Daily Telegraph supports the established picture in crediting the Baird government with a stable and decisive lead.

The Daily Telegraph brings us a Galaxy poll for next fortnight’s New South Wales state election, which finds the Coalition government’s two-party vote up a point on last month’s result to give them a lead of 54-46, based on 2011 election preference flows. The primary votes are 44% for the Coalition (up one), 36% for Labor (steady) and 10% for the Greens (steady). Mike Baird’s lead as preferred premier is little changed but the uncommitted rate has dropped, causing his advantage to shift from 46-22 to 49-24. Luke Foley’s name recognition has improved from 19% to 38%, with Baird’s on 65%. However, the poll finds only 32% agreeing with the proposition that the Legislative Council should pass electricity asset sales if the government has a mandate in the form of an election win, with 48% declaring otherwise. The telephone poll of 820 respondents was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday.

Further public opinion snippets:

• Results from the ABC’s self-selecting Vote Compass survey, which has attracted 32,000 respondents, confirm an impression of Mike Baird’s popularity, with non-Coalition voters finding him greatly more trustworthy and competent than they did the parties’ leaders at the last Queensland, Victorian and federal elections. Averaging responses on a scale of zero to 10, Baird came in at 3.6 for Labor supporters and 3.4 for the Greens, compared with 1.0 and 1.1 for Campbell Newman. However, the survey also finds only 31% in support of the Coalition’s proposed sale of electricity assets with 55% opposed, rising to 60% in rural areas.

• Further evidence of opposition to privatisation from the Fairfax papers courtesy of Ipsos, whose last poll in early February found 67% opposed and only 23% in support when it was asked if electricity infrastructure should be partly sold. However, this became 46% and 47% when joined by the qualification that “funds raised could only be used to build other infrastructure in NSW”.

• The leaders’ debate on March 8 was rated a 56-44 win for Luke Foley by “Seven News viewers”, although I’m unclear how that was determined exactly. An “audience of uncommitted voters” assembled by Galaxy had 50 opting for Baird and 25 for Foley, with the remaining 25 uncommitted (note that these are raw numbers of respondents).

• The only substantive mention I’ve heard of internal polling comes from James Robertson of the Australian Financial Review, who reports the Nationals believe themselves to be under “serious threat” in Tamworth from former independent member Peter Draper, who is seeking to recover the seat he lost in 2011.

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.

56 comments on “Galaxy: 54-46 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. Three questions.

    Firstly, do telephone polls include landlines and mobiles or only one or the other, and if so which.

    Secondly, what is the margin of error in a poll of 820 people out of a voting population of how many? Three million?

    Thirdly, was the 2PP calculated on the basis of voting at the last NSW state election or respondent allocation.

  2. Of course The Queensland election showed that the 2011 election preferences, being anti-ALP election preferences, may well be over-inflated for the Coalition. This could well show a 52-48 or even 51-49 in favour of the Coalition.

    It is apparently true that NSW preferences did not shift away from the ALP as much in 2011 as they did in Queensland in 2012 but then again Queensland swung to the ALP on preferences harder than it swung away in 2012.

  3. Sorry Tom, I missed that.

    Thanks William for your response to my other two questions.

    Now, I’m not trying to be a Labor apologist, but I wonder whether the answers to questions I and 2 skew the validity of the poll or whether they are factored into the answer to question 3.

    My concerns are whether 90% of the poll being land line calls this increases the chances of the respondents being elderly and at home (and therefore more likely to be conservative)and less likely to be young and out and about (and more likely to be sympathetic to left of centre politics.

    Also, given the 2011 NSW State election 2PP results were not good for labor, was their primary vote good enough then that the 2011 election preference split is a more accurate reflection of current voting intention than respondent allocated preferences.

  4. The poll will have targeted quotas of young, middle-aged and older voters, and weighted the responses to the extent that it wasn’t able to fill them. Weighting might make the result less reliable, but there’s no reason to think the advantage will be more to the Coalition’s advantage than Labor’s. I very much expect that preferences will be more favourable for Labor in 2015 than they were in 2011, even though they were little different in 2011 from 2007 and 2003. However, I’ll be surprised if the difference is as great as it was in Queensland.

  5. I haven’t seen of a campaign to get people to not let their votes exhaust, as there seemed to be in Queensland with the “put the LNP last” push. Looking at my local seat Oxley’s results from 2011 it was striking how many Greens votes exhausted, turning a moderately safe Nat seat into an ultra-safe one.

    Hell, Labor were so on the nose in 2011, one of those exhausted Greens votes may have been mine, but not this time.

  6. Jamie Clements talks like, looks like a very appropriate scapegoat. Although Linda Burney shouldn’t be spared the chop either !

  7. The lesson to poll watchers from Queensland was “dont use preference flows from the last election”.

    Using Antony Greens calculator LNP needs 50.5% to get 47 seats (a majority) and 52.7 to get 48 seats (majority+1), with 4 on the cross benches.

    So with a primary of 44%, they need 6.5% from preferences to get 47 (majority), or 8.7% to get 48 seats (majority+1).

    Assuming exhausted stays at about 50%, then LNP need only 10% preferences (40% to ALP) to get their majority, or 15% to get majority plus one.

    15% is a similar result to what Queensland non-exhausted preferences went, and i think LNP will do better than that.

    So i think LNP are looking like they will hold NSW unless their primary vote drops.

  8. To get to an equivalent of 52.7% which they need to feel safe from an anomaly (majority+1);
    With a 44% primary they need optional pref flow of 17.2% to LNP, 32.8% to ALP, assuming 50% exhaustion.

    Which is equivalent to about 34.3-65.7

  9. Well really this poll is the same as the last one, with a 1% move in the Coalition’s primary vote causing a 1% move in the 2pp. All well and truly within the margin of error, so no statistical change. For the ALP to have a chance of at least bringing about a hung Parliament, that would probably have to come back to around 52-48 in the last week. Narrow Coalition majority still appears likely, although with polls showing little love for electricity privatisation, a late move to the ALP certainly cannot be ruled out.

  10. The trend from what I am told is moving strongly towards Baird. I would expect polls this week to demonstrate a 55-45 margin, with that trend continuing through to polling day.
    Re the preferences there is no genuine statistical modelling that can be done to ascertain what will happen on 28 March. I think its fair to say that the minor parties prefs will be somewhere between 2011 exhaustion levels and what happened in Qld.

  11. “The trend from what I am told…”, Moderate? Who’s telling you? Neutral observers, or people who want it to be true?

  12. ….So the punters explicitly don’t support electricity privatisation, but will vote for the party that’s committed to it.

    Go figure. I hope Sydneysiders like paying for the electricity grid a third time (and committing their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids to doing the same), since that’s what they’re voting for.

  13. Good post Kevin,
    The only thing i wonder about is how the issue of CSG will play out. Is it a big enough issues to cause some big swings and cost the LNP an extra seat or two.

  14. Still a complete non-event.

    Anyone making comparisons between Foley and either Palaszczuk or Andrews is missing a few key things: a) they’re mild-mannered, don’t scare the horses while not alienating the base types in the vein of Steve Bracks and Geoff Gallop, b) Foley is exactly the sort of aggro party hack talking about stuff nobody cares about that doesn’t get elected – he’s more of a Robert Doyle, and c) Mike Baird has done far less to rock the boat than either Newman or Napthine.

    If Labor wanted to make things interesting, they needed to get original in their choice of leader, and Foley is straight from 2000s-era Sussex Street central casting in a way that Palaszczuk, Andrews, Bracks and Gallop all weren’t. They may as well be screaming “look, we still haven’t moved on from the Obeid era!”

  15. Hi Rebecca
    That is certainly not my view of Foley. I had a bit to do with him a few years ago and he was then up to his neck in fighting Roosendahl and company.
    I think he is a man who was aware of the corruption of the Terrigals and as Assistant General Secretary (Left) did what he could. Given the Russian Doll model of governance this was not very effective

  16. Lots of premature hubris from Baird’s fans despite the pointy end is to come and there’s plenty of time for it all to go to hell in a hand basket either way.
    Having said that I just received a “just vote one” from the local alp candidate. No chance of that from me as I will fully allocate my own preferences on both papers.

  17. Rebecca 26 Its funny Palaszczuk and Andrews are both labor hacks like Foley! All three have never had real jobs outside the Labor party unlike Steve Bracks and Geoff Gallop.

  18. Let’s no throw in the towel just yet.

    None of the pollsters was able to predict the Queensland result. They later claimed that OPV had skewed the result.

    The same thing could happen in New South Wales.

    The ABC Vote Compass had privatisation (poles & wires) as the number one issue for people aged 55+. This demographic is the most likely to vote conservative.

    A close result, even if the Libs win, will make it hard for them to claim any mandate, which will then reflect in the Legislative Council when it comes to passing legislation.

  19. @ Keyman 29

    I also received a Labor how to vote in the mail today. For my lower house seat (Oatley) it gives a full preference distribution, for the upper house it gives 4 preferences (1 Labor, 2 Green, 3 Animal Justice, 4 Cyclists). The non-Labor upper house preferences are in smaller type, but they’re there.

    Interesting that Labor is taking a different approach to how to vote material in different areas. Here they seem to be encouraging all left-leaning voters to give a full set of preferences and hoping for a repeat of Queensland.

  20. Leadership @31:

    They’ve paid for it once, in paying for it to be built.

    They’ve paid for it twice, in paying for it to be fattened up to be suitably attractive to investors in anticipation of sale.

    And if it’s privatised, they’ll pay for it a third time, in paying guaranteed rates of return, no matter what, to the vultures donating to the Liberal Party.

    Simple enough?

  21. Hi Edward @33 – yes appears the regions are doing their own thing. Further info: my local LC HTV (Hunter region) has vote 1 group k and in bold states “No need to number the boxes below the thick line”. The LA is 1 for alp and “dithered” vote 2 for green. I did not notice this at first so apologies for that.

  22. Matt@24

    ….So the punters explicitly don’t support electricity privatisation, but will vote for the party that’s committed to it.

    Go figure. I hope Sydneysiders like paying for the electricity grid a third time (and committing their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids to doing the same), since that’s what they’re voting for.

    It’s still possible that the polls do not ask who intends to vote for in the upper house. If they vote for other parties, it will block the legislation for the upper house.

    It’s still unlikely that the Coalition will lose in the lower house.

  23. Andrew Constance just on 2UE and talks like he is running out of breath.

    The same old intolerance of anything you don’t agree with I will talk you down.

    I think this may be closer than they think. The sale of the polls and wires is not down going well with people.

  24. Fine work on the NSW Bludgertrack, William.

    2.3% difference between respondent allocated prefs and 2011, is a marked difference. Whether it translates that large is the Rumsfeld “known unknown”.

    Looks to me L-NP can’t afford a much smaller gap than 8% on the primary vote.

    It must be of concern to L-NP that Nick Greiner couldn’t form a majority with 52.5% and John Fahey lost with 51%.

    NSW is Labor state.

    [Anti-privatisation push sees Greens and Labor strike preference deal in key NSW seats
    March 17, 2015 – 12:33AM
    Sean Nicholls
    Sydney Morning Herald State Political Editor

    Opposition to the Baird government’s electricity privatisation plans has galvanised a preference deal between Labor and the Greens in 23 key seats and the upper house in a significant boost to the ALP’s chances at the March 28 state election.

    The agreement, potentially worth up to four percentage points to the ALP in each seat where the Greens poll strongly, is a turnaround from 2011 when the Greens declined to preference Labor in all but a handful of seats.

    At the time, the then Labor government was seen by local Greens groups as so toxic to voters that preferencing them risked damaging their own campaign.

    Under the deal, the Greens, via their local groups, have agreed to recommend a preference to Labor ahead of the Coalition in 23 key lower house seats.]
    See above article for some of the seats covered.
    [March 17, 2015 | by Luis Feliu
    Greens, Labor unite to oppose poles and wires sell-off

    Increasing opposition to the Baird government’s controversial electricity privatisation plans has prompted a preference deal between Labor and the Greens around the state including the north coast Nationals-held seats of Ballina, Lismore and Tweed.

    The deal in 23 key seats and the upper house is set to give Labor’s chances in toppling coalition-held seats at the March 28 state election a major boost.

    Labor hopes the issue of coal seam gas (CSG) in Ballina, Lismore and Tweed will play strongly in its favour, even though the Greens has called on Labor to return thousands of dollars in donations the party received from CSG miner Santos Ltd in the run up to the election.]

  26. Matt @34
    No it’s not that simple.

    1 Yes the government has paid for the asset.

    2 Why would the government fattened up the asset when it returns around 8% or 1.7 billion a year back to the government in returns? Its already attractive investment with lot of fat that can be cut out E.g. It been suggested that 4000 job could be cut under privatisation.

    3 No asset privatisation in this country has had guaranteed rates of return because there no need for it as highlighted by point 2

    Power price will always increase in the long term under privatisation or not, But they will not increase by as much when the asset in public hands. This has been show in Victoria since privatisation there price have increase by 158 per cent in Melbourne compared with 212.1 per cent in Sydney since 1996.

  27. +1 to Ari’s post.

    The 2.3% difference ‘feels’ a little too large, but that’s just my incredibly unreliable gut feeling. I’m pretty confident prefs will flow strongly better for Labor, but that might be overstating it.

    If it isn’t and/or the polls are just a smidge overstating the Coalition or understating Labor/Greens then it is going to be a fun night. I assume under the respondent allocated model you’re giving everything up to Gosford to Labor except Tamworth and putting Miranda back in the Blue column. Balmain back in the Red Column.

    That feels about right with maybe some sandbagging holding a couple for the Libs to balance a surprise or two further up the pendulum as about the best Labor can expect from these numbers. But that doesn’t leave much fat for Baird. A bit of tightening in the last week or two and/or a more concentrated swing in Western Sydney bringing Parramatta, Drummoyne, Mulgoa and Penrith into play could get real fun. Draper takes Tamworth and minority government is on the cards.

    The other wildcards might be Port Stephens and even Terrigal if the ICAC shenanigans bite locally. As Ari notes, it might not be the first time a first term Liberal Premier widely seen as competent and moderate finds out 52% ain’t enough to govern in majority in NSW.

  28. The announced deal with the greens might make the 2.3% difference more realistic though. Directing prefs in Port Stephens and Penrith might be important, and they’ll certainly help to get Kiama, Holsworthy, The Entrance and Gosford over the line. Would feel better if Parramatta, Drummoyne and Mulgoa were included though.

  29. Leadership @43

    You ask how we will pay a third time. Actually, we will keep paying for maintenance over and over for the next 99 years.
    What maintenance requirements will the Baird Gov’t impose on the leasee? Very few if Baird wants to maximise the headline price paid by the private operator.
    Many of those 4000 jobs lost are the maintenance workers.
    Let’s not forget it IS a lease. Essentially, the NSW Government (that’s us) will still own the assets, but a private operator runs it and bills us.
    In fact, in return for $20B now, NSW taxpayers could be up for untold costs in maintaining and extending the network for the next 99 years.

    Look up the analysis by Norton Rose Fulbright (one of the largest and leading law firms in Australia). It has extensive experience and expertise in the Australian electricity market. Last July, 2014, it analysed the NSW Government’s proposed network privatisation.

    It warned:

    “The adoption of a 99 year lease structure by the NSW Government does create potential complications for bidders in circumstances where network enhancements and extensions are required. Under the lease structure, the NSW Government will remain as asset owner and lessor, whereas the successful bidder will be the lessee and operator. This begs a series of questions:

    who should pay for the CAPEX, particularly network extensions and enhancements;
    if the successful bidder is required to pay for the CAPEX, who will then own the assets;
    if assets are required to be transferred to the NSW Government, will any compensation be paid;
    what taxation consequences flow from such transfers for potential bidders;
    if CAPEX is required in the context of a joint venture with the NSW Government, will the NSW Government be willing to share in the CAPEX and, if not, what adjustment to relative shareholdings should occur?”

    There is a lot more; read the full text here.
    Here is the link



    [For the first time in living memory, the Liberals and the Nationals in the New South Wales Coalition are offering two opposing policies at a state election.

    Premier Mike Baird’s Liberals want to lease 49% of the electricity network’s “poles and wires” to a private operator for 99 years.

    They have listed TransGrid, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy, the three operators covering Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains, to be sold into private leasing arrangements for $20 billion to finance Rebuilding NSW infrastructure.

    On the other hand, Deputy Premier Troy Grant’s Nationals resolutely oppose any sale of power assets in their regional stronghold. Central to their manifesto is keeping 100% of the rural distribution network, Essential Energy, in public hands.]

    [NSW election: Baird has the big guns but may lack foot soldiers to deliver vote
    Gabrielle Chan
    Tuesday 17 March 2015 12.55 AEDT

    Fatigue with the federal government has led to low numbers of Liberal campaign volunteers prepared to knock on doors, staff booths and hand out leaflets for the party before the 28 March New South Wales election campaign.

    Ordinary Liberal members have been receiving repeated emails calling for volunteers in the safest of Liberal seats less than two weeks before the poll. The emails, seen by Guardian Australia, report that few volunteers have responded to repeated calls for the party faithful.

    Safe seats normally supply excess volunteers to more marginal areas and Liberal sources suggest “fatigue with the federal government” – reflected in Tony Abbott’s low polling numbers – is a key factor in the low party volunteer turnout.]
    [How to land a top spot: No Land Tax Party fields topless models and salsa dancers for the election
    Taylor Auerbach The Daily Telegraph
    March 17, 2015 12:00AM

    THE NSW Upper House could be headed for the same chaos as the federal senate with a micro-party running topless models, salsa dancers and elderly mansion owners in country seats in a bid to lift the party’s profile and snatch the legislative council’s balance of power.

    The No Land Tax party selected its candidates, some of whom live hundreds of kilometres away from their chosen electorates, in an email sent out to members asking, “who wants to be a candidate?”

    By running in every one of the Lower House’s 93 seats and fielding 16 Upper House candidates, where they have a prime position on the 394-candidate ballot paper, the party has also increased its chances of attracting enough votes to recoup the $275,000 spent campaigning.]

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