Fairfax-Ipsos: 54-46 to Coalition in NSW

The latest New South Wales state poll records something of a Coalition blowout on the primary vote, but it’s cancelled out by a strong flow to Labor on preferences.

The Fairfax papers have a new Ipsos poll for New South Wales, and while the headline two-party result of 54-46 is well in line with other pollsters, it’s based on a respondent-allocated preference flow that goes remarkably heavily to Labor. The Coalition lead on the primary vote is a highly pronounced 47% to 32%, with the Greens at an uncommonly high 13%. Based on 2011 election preferences, the Coalition lead blows out to 58-42. The two distinguishing traits of the poll – stronger results for the Coalition than other pollsters, and a big gap between the two preference methods – have also been evident in Ipsos’s federal polling. The accompanying report in the Australian Financial Review seems to have gone offline, but it’s a safe bet the poll was conducted Thursday to Saturday from a sample of 1000 (UPDATE: GhostWhoVotes reports in comments it was a bigger-than-usual pre-election sample of 1233).

UPDATE: Sydney Morning Herald report here. Mike Baird’s approval is steady since the previous poll of February 5-7 at 60%, with disapproval up four to 22%. Luke Foley’s undecided rating is down from 49% to 32%, with more breaking the way of disapproval (up 11 to 32%) than approval (up seven to 37%). Baird’s lead as preferred premier is little changed, shifting from 54-24 to 56-27.

UPDATE 2 (Galaxy electorate polls): The Daily Telegraph has Galaxy automated phone polls from three electorates, conducted on Thursday from samples of around 550, which show the following:

• The Liberals with a 51-49 lead in Campbelltown, where their margin is 6.8%. The primary votes are 45% for the Liberals (45.5% in 2011), 41% for Labor (34.0%) and 7% for the Greens (6.4%). My poll tracking model, which starts from an assumption of uniform swings in metropolitan and non-metropolitan seats based on breakdowns for such results from Ipsos and Lonergan, has the Liberals at 49.3% in this seat on previous election preferences, and 47.9% on ReachTEL’s respondent-allocated flows.

• The Liberals with a 52-48 lead in Coogee, where the margin is 8.3%. Primary votes are 46% for the Liberals (47.6%), 35% for Labor (25.8%) and 17% for the Greens (21.4%). The BludgerTrack model rates this one as lineball, the Liberals at 50.8% on previous election preference and 50.2% on respondent-allocated.

• The Liberals with a 51-49 lead in The Entrance, where the margin is 11.8%. Primary votes are 46% for the Liberals (50.6%), 40% for Labor (29.8%) and 10% for the Greens (10.8%). That sits well with BludgerTrack’s reading of 51.1%, but that turns into 49.2% on respondent-allocated preferences.

UPDATE (24/3): No surprises in the latest Morgan SMS poll, which has both major parties down a point on the primary vote, the Coalition to 45.5% and Labor to 32.5%, and the Greens up half a point to 12%, for a Coalition two-party lead of 56-44, up from 55.5-44.5. The poll was conducted from Saturday to Monday with a sample of 1211.

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.

103 comments on “Fairfax-Ipsos: 54-46 to Coalition in NSW”

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  1. foley was a new kid on the block – like rudd (reborn) he had one good go at this and he faltered – negative advertising did not do trick – he needed a feel good new look labor …

    having said that murdoch remains a boil on our democratic skin. it is bad enough that newspapers struggle – but the level of journalism in DT and like is exorable and must account for several % against labor. rudd would be PM regardless except for murdoch’s diatribes vilification and 18century crude swiftian populism

  2. Peter Piper @19

    I think that there will be a lot at stake. If the Liberals want to pass the Asset Lease through the upper house they will likely rely on the moral suasion arguemnt of “well, we won the election”.

    And if the answer is, “well, yes, but look how close the ALP got to beating you and look how many seats you lost” then the upper house may not simply fall into line.

  3. The no land tax party has the donkey position, has spent a great deal on advertising, has a candidate in each seat and is apparently preference harvesting – it must be a serious chance to get the last LC seat.

    I would love to know the back history. Peter Jones, The lead candidate has a very colourful history and was initially an acolyte of the Terrigals but feel out over Joe’s attempt to develop the Fairfield Calabrian club.

    Land tax, as distinct from stamp duty, affects a small proportion of the population so who is backing this? My guess and it is only a guess is that the party was initially well resourced by those for whom Land Tax is a major issue. Jones has seen this and has somehow got control of the party as a vehicle to finally get onto the red leather.

  4. Geoff, being 1+% behind in Strathfield is hardly “holding the line”, though you maybe right about some other middle-class districts. Your summary of Queensland is odd, though – Labor won about as many seats as you’d expect in middle-class Brisbane (with possible exceptions for Mansfield and Everton, where they went very close); it was the Gold Coast that stopped them from getting a majority. And NSW doesn’t have an equivalent of the Gold Coast, unless you count the Shire.

    MTBW, being in the same party as Abbott won’t matter too much unless Abbott comes out with a classic clanger in the last week. We can but hope…

  5. But no could have predicted this!

    [Security flaw in New South Wales puts thousands of online votes at risk
    March 22, 2015 by Vanessa Teague and J. Alex Halderman

    New South Wales, Australia, is holding state elections this month, and they’re offering a new Internet voting system developed by e-voting vendor Scytl and the NSW Electoral Commission. The iVote system, which its creators describe as private, secure and verifiable, is predicted to see record turnout for online voting. Voting has been happening for six days, and already iVote has received more than 66,000 votes. Up to a quarter million voters (about 5% of the total) are expected to use the system by the time voting closes next Saturday.

    Since we’ve both done extensive research on the design and analysis of Internet voting systems, we decided to perform an independent security review of iVote. We’ll prepare a more extensive technical report after the election, but we’re writing today to share news about critical vulnerabilities we found that have put tens of thousands of votes at risk. We discovered a major security hole allowing a man-in-the middle attacker to read and manipulate votes. We also believe there are ways to circumvent the verification mechanism.]

    Actually, lots of people have predicted this. For more on why E-voting is a really bad idea.






    It has a really bad track record.

  6. Jack A Randa

    The fact that Baird did not invite Abbott to speak at the launch yesterday very interesting,

    Abbott is poison in the electorate at large and I am not too sure that many Liberal voters won’t decide to vote Liberal because of that.

  7. Leroy Lynch:

    Unless and until we can come up with a way to create absolutely secure internet connections, online voting is a terrible idea.

    Doesn’t stop certain people pushing it…I guess they like the concept of being able to determine the vote’s outcome, no matter what the punters say.

  8. “The fact that Baird did not invite Abbott to speak at the launch yesterday very interesting,” Yes, MTBW, speaks volumes. I’ll bet the Libs have told him to keep the bottom teeth firmly up against the top teeth until Saturday 6pm (and even then his eyes will look weird). But I wonder if he can do it – here’s hoping for an outburst of Really Weird!

  9. I am bravely (sarcasm) going to go with the Bludgertrack NSW Respondent-Allocated results, which at the time of posting have LNP-ALP-OTH at 51-39-3.

    My inner partisan hack will be delighted if the ALP do better, which might force the pollsters to rethink their methodology. I will be disappointed if the result is worse than the TPP 2011 preferences 54-36-3.

  10. I think three independents will get up: Draper in Tamworth, Piper in Lake Macquarie (incumbent) and Greenwich in Sydney (incumbent). Labor will reclaim Balmain and hold off the Greens in Newtown.

    Miranda may be a Liberal pick-up, but it will be the only seat changing in that direction.

  11. Spoiler, if you read the article through, its not likely the Libs will hold on to the west long term, but it may take more than one election to dislodge them. Note the Malcolm Mackerras comments at the end.

    [Will the west stay won? How western Sydney will reveal true extent of 2011 NSW election rout
    If key seats stick by the Coalition’s Mike Baird, the 2011 wipeout will look less like a backlash against Labor excesses and more a permanent shift in the political landscape
    Michael Safi
    Monday 23 March 2015 11.34 AEDT

    Not for nothing was Barry O’Farrell’s first media conference as the premier at a ferry wharf in western Sydney. The night before, the Coalition’s ship had come in. The biggest swing in Australian political history had cut through Labor’s western Sydney heartland, flipping seats the Liberals had “never dreamt of winning”, O’Farrell said.

    For the voters in traditional Labor territory in Granville, Smithfield, Campbelltown, and the other unlikely seats now in Liberal hands, the former premier – and minister for western Sydney – had a goal: “That people who have voted for us for the first time do understand by the next election that we have kept the faith, that we have delivered for them.”


    But the veteran political analyst Malcolm Mackerras says this is “overblown”. “I think western Sydney has a fair number of marginal seats, and fair number of Labor seats, and there’s one safe Liberal seat,” he says.

    Despite a catastrophic swing – more than double the state’s previous record – Labor still held core seats such as Auburn, Fairfield, Lakemba, Canterbury, Bankstown and Liverpool, he says.

    Predictions of a western Sydney rout at the 2013 federal election were similarly exaggerated. “In the end Labor held almost every seat,” he says. “It is still Labor heartland.”

    He thinks the real opportunity for the Liberals to redraw the political map was in their gains in Newcastle and the Hunter – a historic chance probably squandered by a succession of resignations in the wake of spectacular hearings at the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

    “When the Liberals did well in 2011, they won a significant number of seats in western Sydney. But all of them will go back to Labor one day,” Mackerras says.

    Most Liberal gains in the region hang on knife-edge margins, including East Hills (0.2%), Prospect (1.1%), Macquarie Fields (1.8%) and Granville (3.8%).

    “Half the seats will go back next Saturday,” he said. “And the rest will go back when there’s another Neville Wran or Bob Carr in charge of the Labor party.”]

  12. http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/new-south-wales-final-week.html
    NSW: The Final Week
    NSW Primary Aggregate: Coalition 45.3 Labor 35.1 Green 10.4 Others 9.2
    2PP By 2011 Preferences: 55.1% to Coalition
    Estimated 2015 Preferences: 53.7% to Coalition
    Seat Projection: Coalition 52 Labor 37 Green 1 Ind 3

    (I am arbitrarily giving the indies one extra seat, most likely Tamworth. I would really like to see public voting intention polling on that though.)

  13. 55/34/4 – The only differential is a possibility of 3 seats either way – I see 6 in the too close to call category, and I have for the above purposes split them 3/3.

  14. I think the truest poll to date was the Foley Andrews much pubiicizied rally that only attracted a crowd of fifty, outnumbered by the minders holding up a plackard in each hand.

  15. It’s a sad and traumatic day for the Collective’s more ardent members when once again it seems the voters mightn’t do as they’re wanted?

  16. This is from Malcolm Mackerras, the legendary psephologist and thorough gentleman, who has analysed contemporaneously about 65 years of elections. Written on March 18.

    [My prediction for March 28 is 51 Coalition (35 Liberals and 16 Nationals), 37 Labor, two Greens and three independents. That would mean an absolute majority of nine seats for Baird. I would describe that as “a decent win”.]

    [However, Baird has another problem, the Legislative Council, which is elected by a proportional representation (PR) system. In March 2011 the Coalition won 11 of the 21 seats then contested. However, the O’Farrell-Baird government lacked a majority because the Coalition had performed so badly in March 2007. To sell the poles and wires the Coalition needs to win nine of the 21 seats on March 28. To do that it must get 39% of the vote.]

    [ My guess is that the Coalition will get 40% so I would then say that Baird DID, indeed, get a decent victory.]

    I especially loved this ending:

    [However, after Queenslanders chose Annastacia Palaszczuk as their new premier (an outcome not predicted by any independent observer in print) I lack confidence in my own predictions. I also lack confidence in the predictions of every other pundit.]

  17. Its telling that Lib supporters are happy with 10% swing against them, or 1 in every 7 Lib voters changing their minds. Pre-QLD they wouldnt be so cheery about such prospects.

    Im sure most in the ALP would like to see a photo-finish in NSW, but nobody should complain about a 10% swing, hopefully they have recruited some quality candidates to join their ranks.

  18. Aristotle,

    It’s surprisingly hard to transalte directly from the lower house proportions to the upper house.

    Voters have a wider choice of parties in teh upper house, and so tend to vote for minor parties more often. More nad more people are choosing to vote non-major in the upper house. This trend is clearly evident throguh the Federal and Victorian election. (No upper house in QLD obviously.)

    The second problem is that there is a legitiamate case for tactical voting in this election. Say you are a voter who thinks Mr Baird is a thoroughly nice chap, but you’d prefer he didn’t sell the assets. You might be tempted to vote for Barid in the lower house, but against him in the upper, deliberately.

    This happened in the 98 Federal election over the GST.

  19. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/mar/23/nsw-election-result-could-be-challenged-over-ivote-security-flaw
    [NSW election result could be challenged over iVote security flaw
    ‘Major vulnerability’ revealed in the online voting system could have compromised 66,000 electronic votes
    Michael Safi and Gabrielle Chan
    Monday 23 March 2015 14.47 AEDT

    The result of the NSW election this Saturday is likely to be challenged after a security flaw was identified that could potentially have compromised 66,000 electronic votes.

    A number of parties, including the Greens, the National party and the Outdoor Recreation party have told Guardian Australia they would consider all of their options after the “major vulnerability” was revealed in the iVote system, an internet voting program being trialled for the first time this year.

    But a senior NSW Electoral Commission official said fears of vote tampering were overblown and the work of “well-funded, well-managed, anti-internet voting lobby groups”.

    While the iVote website itself is secure, Melbourne University security specialist Vanessa Teague discovered on Friday that it loaded javascript from a third-party website that was “vulnerable to an attack called the FREAK attack”.]

  20. Intriguing how close the single-seat polls for Strathfield, Campbelltown, Coogee and The Entrance all are, William – despite them being in very different places on either the State pendulum or your federal-based pendulum. Maybe Saturday night will be more interesting than we’ve been expecting?

  21. With the nice bogans of Gosford or Terrigal who voted for the (not very) Liberal Party last time, Edweeena? What is it about you and Jamie anyway? The rest of us think there are bigger issues here, but you seem to have a bit of an obsession with Mr Clements. What did he do to you?

  22. That’s unfair ESJ.
    I think Robbo’s incompetence, lack of electoral appeal AND that he was Eddie’s boy played some part in his rolling

  23. MTBW

    You may have already indicated your predictions.

    But what do you think will be the final outcome of the NSW Election?

    You have enormous experience working with and within the Labor Party over the years, and think you might have a better gauge of what might happen?

  24. I went through and added how all preferences flowed in lower house seats last time. Of course the flow figures for a party like the Greens will also include other candidates votes that have been put in the Greens column. Anyway, I came up with 52% of Greens votes were a single 1 ie no preference flow. How this flow went was 27% to Coalition and 73% to Labor. I guess this might be 80/20 this time round. So if Greens get 20% then 10% is lost and 10% distributed as 8% to Labor and 2% to Coalition. Put another way, a 20% vote for Greens will advantage Labor by 6% over the Coalition.

  25. I found 2 seats where Labor preferences were distributed. 60% were a single 1 vote. 40% were distributed. Votes that were distributed went 77% to Greens. So, a 30% vote Labor distributed becomes 9% more for Greens and 2% for Coalition. Put another way, a 30% vote for Labor gets distributed to advantage Greens by 7% over the Coalition.

  26. Rates Analyst@71


    It’s surprisingly hard to transalte directly from the lower house proportions to the upper house.

    Voters have a wider choice of parties in teh upper house, and so tend to vote for minor parties more often. More nad more people are choosing to vote non-major in the upper house. This trend is clearly evident throguh the Federal and Victorian election. (No upper house in QLD obviously.)

    The second problem is that there is a legitiamate case for tactical voting in this election. Say you are a voter who thinks Mr Baird is a thoroughly nice chap, but you’d prefer he didn’t sell the assets. You might be tempted to vote for Barid in the lower house, but against him in the upper, deliberately.

    This happened in the 98 Federal election over the GST.

    I hope this is the case.

    Votes might prefer one of the majors to lead the government, but the minors to keep the parliament in check through the upper house.

  27. It certainly happened that way in Victoria Raaraa. In fact upper houses with proportional representation are designed to make it more possible for that to happen, and the voters usually accept the invitation.

  28. feeney

    My gut tells me that it will be closer than many think.

    The Abbott factor won’t help the Libs and in my seat of East Hills the margin is .06% Cameron Murphy son of Lionel Murphy is the candidate so I am expecting an ALP win.

    People loathe Abbott and that I think will be a big factor.

    Mike Baird comes across as a nice bloke but Foley has strength.

    Heard from someone on poll bludger last week who was at an ALP function where John Faulkner was a guest and apparently John thinks we are doing OK.

  29. Best outcome for NSW would be: Coalition 46 Labor 42 Green 2 Ind 3

    I would love to see Labor try to cobble together an agreement with this motley bunch. As Antony Green says: “When the Greiner Coalition government lost its majority at the 1991 NSW election. it was the loss of safe Coalition seats to Independents that was the crucial factor.”

    I think that’s a smidge too far though. We’re looking at another term of Coalition hobbled by a hostile crossbench in the legislative assembly.

  30. ESJ

    [Lol mtbw if John Faulkner said it, must be truth !]

    You would not find a more honorable man than him in political life.

    BTW do you ever say anything positive about anything?

    Surely you must have something of importance to offer.

  31. the news on privatisation is much much worse than foley is fighting – its a pity this is driven by union concern only – public interest issues esp use of assets to fund election promises is disgraceful – there are many things wrong with baird and we should have a relaxed assured educated leader against him …

  32. one can only dream what a truly revitalised labor could do – foley offered a fresh start like rudd second time around – he could do a miracle but fragmented faltering campaign …

  33. ESJ

    John Faulkner is about the only senior politicians that I haven heard a bad thing said about by either people in the ALP or the Liberals

  34. An update from the Seven Hills battlelines…

    Already this evening I had that nice Mr Howard on the phone enjoining me to vote for the Liberal bloke. What a thrill it was to have him calling me personally like that.

    By contrast the ALP had some nobody calling himself Reuben (a foreigner I’ll be bound) call me to canvass my vote on the basis that I would have to pay some Chinese boat person $420 per year just to get my electricity bill. Or something.

    But seriously this rate of botherment is unheard of in and around this area. I reckon the Libs are having a squeaky bum time despite the notional 8.8% margin.

    I pre-polled the other day. The booth is in a remote location unblemished by any public transport. Only ALP, Lib and GRN were handing out HTVs in the inclement weather during the late morning. I can see the LC having a huge informal vote. The size of the ballot paper is overwhelming. You have to be really really determined to follow the GRN HTV which takes you all over the place. Tactical error to exhaust with the ALP at 6(?) I reckon. Should’ve gone 1,2 and bugger animal rights etc.

  35. Just to expand on the public transport situation in western Sydney it would be a 38 km, three hour round trip (excluding waiting times at the beginning of each journey) to travel to the Seven Hills pre-poll office. By car it is 11 kms and 20 minutes round trip.

    It’s scarcely any wonder why buses around here never have any passengers in them outside of school trip hours.

  36. May have been linked before: http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2015/03/the-battle-for-the-nsw-legislative-council.html

    [“However, since reforms introduced in 2003, ‘above the line’ voting has worked differently in NSW compared to the Senate. A single ‘1’ above the line by the voter will only imply preferences for the candidates of the chosen party. There are no between party preference tickets in NSW, so a single ‘1’ vote cannot be re-directed to another party as preferences. Parties cannot engage in ‘preference harvesting’ to get elected in NSW.

    The extra option voters have in NSW is ‘above the line’ preference voting. A voter can vote above the line 1 for Party A, and 2 for Party B, and preferences will be imputed to be for the candidates of each party as listed, first for Party A’s candidates and then Party B’s candidates. Alternatively, voters can vote ‘below the line’ for candidates, but a minimum of 15 preferences must be shown.

    The only preferences that count in NSW are those filled in by voters themselves. There is no Senate-style party control of preferences.”]

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