New South Wales election minus ten days

Polling continues to point to a much-reduced but still solid majority for the Baird government after the March 28 election, regardless of which way preferences are sliced.

Keen-eyed observers will have noted that a state election poll tracker appeared in the sidebar yesterday. It has since been updated with the results of Morgan’s latest SMS poll, on which more below. The chief innovation is separate two-party and seat projections based on both previous election and respondent-allocated preferences, the Queensland experience having cast serious doubt over the utility of the former method under optional preferential voting when a big swing is on. Respondent-allocated data is available in two polls from Ipsos and one from ReachTEL, and my method is to crudely split the difference between the two (or rather an average of the two, in the case of Ipsos). However, it had hitherto escaped by notice that ReachTEL provided detailed results from its preference breakdown, and now that I know this I’ll use it to sharpen things up a little when the next poll comes out.

Notable news nuggets:

• The aforementioned Roy Morgan poll was conducted from Friday to Sunday by SMS from a sample of 1287 respondents, and it has the Coalition well clear of Labor with 46.5% of the primary vote to 33.5%, and the Greens on 11.5%. The published two-party result is 55.5-44.5 in favour of the Coalition. However, the size of the lead hasn’t made much difference to the poll tracker, as this series has been reasonably consistent in landing above trend for the Coalition, and has been bias-adjusted accordingly.

• Labor has reached a deal with the Greens in which the latter will recommend their voters preference Labor in 23 seats, including most of the ones that matter. Furthermore, it would seem the party is further set to direct preferences to Labor in many seats not directly subject to the deal. It would appear that this is more consequential than it would be under compulsory preferential voting, with Kevin Bonham calculating a 1.7% gain to Labor for every 10% of the vote recorded by the Greens, based on an Antony Green study of results from the 2007 election. The Daily Telegraph has made the deal the subject of one of its trademark front page hatchet jobs in today’s edition of the paper.

Kirsty Needham of the Sun-Herald reports focus group research from market research firm Visibility, which specifically targeted voters in western Sydney who changed their vote to Liberal in 2011, has found the government isn’t having much luck in its endeavour to link electricity privatisation to the roads and transport measures that will be funded from its proceeds. By contrast, “the participants showed a spontaneous recall of ‘facts’ from Labor and union attack ads”. Labor’s claim that privatisation will lead to higher prices is widely accepted by voters, as reflected by Luke Foley’s invocation of the voting public as the “ultimate independent experts” in countering the argument that prices are to be set in any case by an independent regulator. On the other hand, the research confirmed the popularity of Mike Baird, found “little mood among voters for change”, and reported a perception that the government had not been beset by scandal, despite the best efforts of ICAC.

Andrew Clennell of the Daily Telegraph reports that “privately, Labor people virtually admit they are done in terms of winning but that their real aim is to win as many seats as possible to get the party back in contention for 2019”. Clennell further quotes a Labor source saying the party has a corruption attack ad “ready to go” should the Liberals strike first with one invoking the spectre of Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald, but so far it’s been a case of “mutually assured destruction”. On the Liberal side, there have reportedly “been calls for some Obeid advertising to be run and frustration that this has not occurred”.

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.

72 comments on “New South Wales election minus ten days”

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  1. [The buzz in the street is so quiet that it is hard to imagine that the government is under any threat at all

    Seven Hills strikes me as a difficult one for Labor. Nathan Rees certainly wanted another, safer seat and resigned when he could not get one. The current candidate has also drawn some adverse attention from the press. I think Labor has abandoned it.]

    The Tele dredges up a month old story and that’s “news”? They couldn’t even get the name of the street where the “incident” happened right.

    Then there was the bag story – when we got our bag at Sevvo shops I said to Susai that he might get some flak for the failure to have a proper authorisation but he seemed unfazed.

    With a big proportion of south Asians across most of the electorate and three candidates out of seven with that background, it might be an interesting count on the 28th.

  2. Can’t imagine Labor abandoning a seat like Seven Hills unless the candidate has gone and turned into Jaime Diaz. At a bit under 9% margin and a statewide swing of +10% likely that is one of the seats Labor will be banking on and the Libs will be happy if they can sandbag.

  3. Section 147 of the act:
    Every person shall be guilty of bribery who:

    (a) gives or lends, or agrees to give or lend any money or valuable consideration to or for any elector to induce any elector to vote or refrain from voting.

    Is a shopping bag a “valuable consideration”?

  4. 55

    I would think that the argument is that it is not to induce the lector to vote for the candidate but to help supporters to help the campaign by advertising their support.

  5. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if the Libs tried it on about the shopping bags if they lose.

    Never had much time for Rees. Just never struck me a much of a thinker. Bagging out his replacement as Premier as being beholden to Obeid and Tripodi seemed quite ironic in light of how he came into the job. I don’t think his retiring will do much to damage the Labor vote in Seven Hills.

  6. In the 95 election in Penrith, Labor was expecting a close election and was building a case against the Liberal candidate Big Jim Aitkens.
    Big Jim was wandering the electorate putting smoke detectors in the homes of pensioners. Of course he claimed that he was doing it as a community service as Grand Buffalo of the local Rotary Club and any electoral comments he made were just chit-chat.
    In the end Faye Lo-Po won relatively easily.

  7. [Is it possible your phone number could lie in Prospect?]

    I just remembered that on Wednesday evening a nice young man from EMRS called and opinion polled me. He didn’t ask which district I would be voting in. He launched straight into questions as to whom I though would do a better job Susai or the Liberal bloke etc. So it looks like “they” know where the phone numbers are these days.

    [Would the shopping bags contravene the bribery clauses of the electoral act and be a cause for a court of disputed returns case?]

    Well the shopping bag we were given is not an el cheapo one like you get down the supermarket for a $1. It has sturdy handles with plastic inserts and proper stitching. I thought that it was problematic from another angle too. What is going to happen if some shopper, otherwise neutral, carries one into a polling place emblazoned as it is with the Labor logo and Susai’s name? That would also be a breach of the electoral laws (I think).

    Anyway the ugly side of Australian politics has raised its head in Seven Hills at least. A source close to the GRN campaign has told me that there have been grumblings about the ethnicity of their candidate at pre-polling and whilst door knocking.

  8. Well Ratsak I felt sorry for him. He had been in parliament for 18 months when the Beagle Boys decided to liquidate Iemma. It struck me that they picked him because it looked like he would be easily controllable. When he eventually turned on them and dismissed Tripodi and Macdonald he was gone within a week.

  9. OC,

    I first became aware of him when he was water minister. Heard him in an interview and thought he was a dill then. Did very little subsequently to change my opinion.

    Certainly proving to be less than a complete puppet of Obeid and Tripodi (eventually) is a tick in his column, but he must have been pretty naive to think that he wasn’t put in for any other reason than to do their bidding. As you said he’d been in Parliament five minutes. He didn’t get the job because of seniority, or strength of performance as a senior minister, or proven electoral appeal. He should have been backing Iemma rather than allowing himself to be used.

    I can think of many many people I’d feel sorry for before him.

  10. Albert Ross@59

    Is it possible your phone number could lie in Prospect?

    I just remembered that on Wednesday evening a nice young man from EMRS called and opinion polled me.

    EMRS (the Tasmanian based pollster) and not UMR (the ALP internal pollster)?

  11. Barwon indie Rowan Boehm is claiming to have a ReachTEL showing that the Nats incumbent’s primary vote has halved (from 79%) and that the Nat would be sunk on preferences.

    No figures released yet + treating with caution but placed on the notice paper. 🙂

    (Barwon is the monster electorate in the state’s north-west).

  12. Calm before the storm? Last night I posted about the Laurie Ferguson add supporting selling public assets/electricity (deathly silence except one troll). I have not seen it since. Anyone else seen it or have they just pulled it from a certain Labor gain?

  13. [EMRS (the Tasmanian based pollster) and not UMR (the ALP internal pollster)?]

    EMRS it was. I remember the four letter abbreviation quite well as the person on the phone had trouble saying it, whereas “UMR” seems to me to slide off the tongue quite easily.

  14. [66
    Posted Friday, March 20, 2015 at 9:58 pm | PERMALINK
    Calm before the storm? Last night I posted about the Laurie Ferguson add supporting selling public assets/electricity (deathly silence except one troll). I have not seen it since. Anyone else seen it or have they just pulled it from a certain Labor gain?]

    An ad of that type was on Ch 7 in Canberra (seen in surrounding NSW) tonight. That seems odd since I thought they weren’t privatising the country electricity network.

  15. 66 Keyman
    First thing i was not trolling last night just highlighting the message in the ad
    Its Martin Ferguson not Laurie Ferguson in the ad mind you Laurie is anti selling electricity assets. here the ad

  16. Leadership@70 yes you quite correct – I must have Laurie on the brain for some reason as I posted incorrectly not once but twice. I withdraw the trolling “accusation” – I had not seen any prior posts from you and did not know how to take it.

    I am no fan of the alp and even less so of the Libs. I saw Michael Costa supporting the sell of (I don’t like the more politically correct term privatisation) – some statement about essential, inevitable etc – that only reinforces my opposition to any further sell offs. I await the re-emergence of the Snowy Scheme sell off and if that is sold then why not the Sydney Harbour Bridge as I am sure the tolls could be profitable.

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