Galaxy: 54-46 to Coalition in NSW; ReachTEL: Labor leads in Ballina, Newtown and Strathfield

Three new electorate polls give Labor a mix of exciting and troubling news.

The Sunday Telegraph has a Galaxy poll giving the Coalition a 54-46 lead, from primary votes of 45% for the Coalition, 36% for Labor and 10% for the Greens. Further questions find 42% saying electricity privatisation makes them less likely to vote for the Coalition with only 13% going the other way. No detail is provided in the report, but I’m guessing this was run Tuesday to Thursday from a sample of a bit over 800.

We also have from ReachTEL the first three published electorate-level polls of the New South Wales election campaign, with interesting results in each case. The results bear out the recent hype about Ballina (which you can read about here, along with a lengthy review of regional happenings I posted last night), crediting Labor with a 52.2-47.8 lead and a swing of about 27%. However, Labor holds only a negligible 50.8-49.2 in Strathfield, the inner western Sydney seat being contested by Jodi McKay, which Labor would have well and truly had pencilled in. It’s a happier story for Labor in Newtown, a newly created inner city seat with a notional Greens margin of 4.8% over the Liberals, with Labor having run third in 2011. The poll credits Labor’s Penny Sharpe, who seeks to move from the upper house, with a 56.5-43.5 lead over Jenny Leong of the Greens.

The polls appear in today’s Sun-Herald, which has a nice graphic displaying the results. Interestingly, each of the three polls was supplemented by a question on hot-button local issues, and all three got a question on electricity privatisation. The Liberals got a higher rating than Labor on health policy in Strathfield, which Labor targeted this week with a promised $323 million redevelopment of nearby Concord Hospital. The electorate also recorded far the highest support for leasing of the electricity poles and wire network, at 36% compared with 24% for Ballina and 18% in Newtown (respectively outrated by 47%, 59% and 66% opposed). The question is whether this reflects genuinely distinctive local sentiment, or a Liberal-friendly sample.

In Ballina, 43% credited Labor with the better policy on coal seam gas, although a solid 30% favoured the Coalition. In Newtown, 45% rated Labor’s the better policy on WestConnex, compared with 24% for the Coalition.

UPDATE: I’ve updated the poll tracker on the sidebar with the Galaxy result, and also included a few earlier Morgan SMS polls that had escaped my net the first time around. I’ve also smartened up the seat allocation model by basing it on primary votes and applying the preference distributions that were published in the last ReachTEL. This has meant jettisoning the Ipsos respondent-allocated preference results, which were more favourable to Labor. For all that, the seat projection is unchanged on both two-party methods, although the Coalition has picked up on voting intention.

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.

30 comments on “Galaxy: 54-46 to Coalition in NSW; ReachTEL: Labor leads in Ballina, Newtown and Strathfield”

  1. I think Floey is doing a good job in the campaign. In fact, that there can be an electorate where a majority of voters can prefer the Labor position on Westconnex, when Labor failed to progress the project in office, and has no way to pay for it, is amazing. But I cannot see Baird losing this election, unless he runs over a grandmother or small child between now and polling day. In the sense that he has been the most competent and least personally corrupt leader of NSW in a decade, that is probably fair.

    I do not think electricity privatisation is the giant issue Labor paints it to be. At least one Labor premier wanted to do the same thing.

  2. I’ve been told the 2CP numbers a bit weird. If you use the preference flows from Marrickville 2011 you get Labor winning 52/48, not 56.5/43.5.

    My source also said that there has never been a Liberal preference flow in Balmain or Marrickville that favoured Labor over the Greens.

  3. Thanks William, I will take 51-39 after 2011, but it probably explains why I can’t get too excited about the election. Are there any guesses on the senate? So much of Baird’s spending relies on the power sell off the senate could make his life very difficult.


    Westconnex is crap and I’m surprised anyone likes it. Dumping freeway traffic at St. Peters will create a car park in surrounding suburbs and encourage more large trucks in the area (already too many container trucks from Botany). I would much prefer spending on PT and infrastructure that reduced the need for large trucks. Large trucks bog city traffic and are dangerous as drivers scramble to avoid and get around them.

  4. I just went and had a look for myself. Maybe he meant a flow that favoured labor as much as that Reachrel suggests? I don’t know. The flow does just favour Labor but only just. It’s throwing everyone else in that makes the lead shrink

  5. I live in the Lismore electorate and have been phone polled by REACHTel twice in the last fortnight. There have been no published results. Am I to assume that they were for internal party polling only? I am guessing that it was a National’s funded poll. The amount of political campaigning in the seat is amazing- a buzz of activity. I am helping out with both the Lock the Gate and the Unions NSW campaigns. It’s rare to find anyone who supports CSG mining. Even the longstanding Nationals member Thomas George has finally come out against it – as of yesterday! Would love to know what the REACHTel results showed.

  6. The Nationals have three great ads running at the moment.

    Nationals, looking after regional NSW, authorised by the National Party Sydney,nah we’re not a big city based organisation. 🙂

    Wives of nationals appearing in attack ads against the local labor candidate, thats real tough stuff, getting the missus to diss the other bloke.

    Nationals highlighting that poles and wires won’t be leased in country areas. You city slickers are going to be hammered by a shit policy we disagree with but don’t you worry about that we are looking after ourselves.

  7. So, according to Galaxy, the 9% ‘others’ and the 10% to the Greens translates into 9% for the Coalition and 10% for Labor afters preferences? Every minor party and independent is right-wing, or there’s a slab of Green voters who will preference the Coalition ahead of Labor? Doesn’t look right to me. Anyway, we’ll find out in a week. My completely unscientific hunch: the Greens won’t do as well as polls suggest.

  8. Richard Koser, you’re foregetting that Green voters don’t need to preference the ALP if they don’t want to….assuming there’s a few of those who are exhausting their preferences.

  9. Wasn’t it Geoff Cahill met at the airport by the assassin in the cardigan? As someone said at least its not the Soviet Union where he may well have been machine gunned

    The answer is none because until Thistlewaite they were all protergies of Richo and, one thing about Richo, he looks after his mates. Thistlewaite was only there for 5 seconds before the Senate needed him. jamie may well be the first since 1976.

  10. Richard Koser. Generally, Green preferences flow 80% to Labor. I think the figure is 60% of other minors flow to Coalition but this might be different with the No Land Tax standing in every electorate, it might also be that “Others” haven’t yet forgiven Labor so they may be 80% coalition.

  11. Richard Koser@11

    So, according to Galaxy, the 9% ‘others’ and the 10% to the Greens translates into 9% for the Coalition and 10% for Labor afters preferences? Every minor party and independent is right-wing, or there’s a slab of Green voters who will preference the Coalition ahead of Labor? Doesn’t look right to me. Anyway, we’ll find out in a week. My completely unscientific hunch: the Greens won’t do as well as polls suggest.

    They usually don’t, though in Queensland for once they did slightly better than the average of the polls.

    The Galaxy preferences are from the 2011 election, at which Labor gained less than 0.04 votes per vote received by the non-majors. I’ve tried to work out ways of adjusting the 2011 flows for the Greens having a greater share of the third-party vote and I think it only makes about 0.2 points difference to the overall 2PP. The bigger issue is that the preference flow will change so the 2011 preferences are likely to be misleading.

  12. “at which Labor gained less than 0.04 votes per vote received by the non-majors.” – I mean that Labor gained relative to the Coalition by that amount. About 24% of third-party preferences went to Labor, about 20% to Coalition, rest exhausted.

  13. I’d be interested in others take on the upper house. Here is mine. The electoral process allocates out out on a quota of about 4.5%. Because so many people just vote 1 above the line, a lot of votes get exhausted so the last few candidates get in with about 2% of the primary vote. All three majors get less than in the lower house, this impacts the Coalition more than the other two. Greens got a 3rd candidate over the line last time in the “anyone but Labor” election.

    Coalition gets 38%-42% of the vote and 9 in (10 if they make 43%)
    Labor gets 34%-38% and 8 in (7 if less than 34%)
    Greens get 8-10% and 2 in (I suspect the Cyclists will hit them a bit)
    Christian Democrats get %3-%4.5 and 1 (there are no Family First Candidates this time)

    The last place is up for grabs between the No Land Tax party and The Shooters. I’d normally say Shooters but Shooters only got 1.25% in the last NSW Federal Senate (although this was the PUP election) and the are up against the No Land Tax party that has a candidate in every lower house seat. Also, NLT have first place on the ticket. Lastly, the less well informed voter may believe there is a proposal to tax home owners.

  14. If only IfOnly. You’re quoting figures for Federal elections and NSW uses optional preferential voting.

    At the recent Queensland election Green preferences where counted were 63% to Labor 13% to LNP and 24% exhausted.

    In NSW in 2011, Green preferences where counted totaled 35% to Labor, 13% to Coalition and 51% exhausted.

    At the 2015 NSW election the preference flows will lie somewhere between these two numbers.

  15. Sorry yes OC meant to say Cahill ( I conflated with his old mate Barry Egan).

    I count two – loosley over the building and thistle thwaite over the direct selection of cabinet (even though a senate seat is a very generous termination payment in anybody’s opinion).

  16. Ah Yes for some reason I forgot Loosley.

    BTW his Wikipedia entry reads in total: Stephen Loosley AM (born 29 December 1952) was a New South Wales Labor Senator from 1990 to 1995

  17. Having been poll by Reachtel 3 times in 5 weeks (state seat of Balmain) including 10 days ago, I feel dudded that none have been published (I mean surely it’s just as interesting as Newtown). Must be internal ALP and green polling then.

    [Mar 22 2015 at 1:22 PM
    Updated 19 min ago
    Liberals’ Mike Baird pulls ahead in NSW: Fairfax Ipsos poll
    by Geoff Winestock

    NSW Premier Mike Baird looks set to snap the Coalition’s run of state election losses and secure a reduced but still solid majority next Saturday for his plan to privatise the state’s electricity networks.

    A Fairfax Ipsos poll conducted from Thursday to Saturday last week gives Mr Baird a two-party preferred lead of 54 per cent to 46 per cent and also shows slightly more voters now support instead of oppose Mr Baird’s key election pledge to lease the poles and wires and spend $20 billion of the proceeds on infrastructure.

    Mr Baird’s personal popularity has helped him weather the downdraft from Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership problems. Mr Baird’s approval rating is stable at 60 per cent, and he has slightly increased his lead over Opposition Leader Luke Foley as preferred premier, compared to the last Fairfax Ipsos poll six weeks ago.


    There is still doubt however over whether the Coalition can secure the majority they need to pass the legislation for the poles and wires in the state’s upper house, where there are 394 candidates on the ballot paper and unpredictable flows in preferences.

    On first preferences, the Liberals are on 47 per cent and the ALP on 32. But the share of the vote for the anti-privatisation Greens has climbed slightly to 13, and “other”– which includes Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats, the Shooters and Fishers Party and the No Land Tax Party – has climbed from 7 per cent a year ago to 9 per cent. ]

  19. Important note. Ipsos poll TPP was respondamt allocated prefs. Its 58-42 by last election prefs according to Ghost.

    But also note that in the final polls for VIC nearly everyone said the result would be 52-48, except most arrived at that figure by last election prefs, while Ipsos arrived there by repondant allocated prefs. From the general lean of Ipsos, we can take it that 54-46 is really 54-46.

    [Poll shows Mike Baird set for victory as he rallies the troops at campaign launch
    March 22, 2015 – 6:39PM

    Mike Baird is set to be handed the opportunity to partially privatise the NSW electricity network and implement his $20 billion infrastructure program, with the latest poll suggesting the Coalition will be returned on Saturday but with its majority slashed.

    As the Premier launched the Liberal Party’s official campaign in the Sydney CBD on Sunday, the Fairfax/Ipsos poll shows the Coalition leading Labor by 54 to 46 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis.

    This represents a 1 percentage point improvement for the Coalition since February.

    If the result is replicated on Saturday, the Coalition would suffer a 10 per cent swing against it from the 2011 election but still retain government.

    The Coalition would lose 18 seats on the redistributed electoral boundaries, leaving it with 51 seats compared to Labor’s 38 in the 93-seat Parliament.

    However, the wild card remains whether Labor can win Coalition-held seats with larger margins, particularly on the north coast. Labor is particularly bullish about Ballina, Lismore and Tweed due to a backlash against coal seam gas.]

  21. Hello Kevin. Thanks for getting back to me. OPV seems to make predictions tougher. Exhaustion rate in Queensland was much less than last time. What happens if you map those prefs onto the NSW first choices? Could the polls end up being closer than the headlines suggest?

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