New South Wales election minus three days

Some dispatches from the late stages of a campaign that looks to be going the Baird government’s way.

Morgan had one of its SMS polls yesterday, and it had the Coalition with a two-party lead of 56-44, up from 55.5-44.5 in the previous week’s poll. Both parties were down a point on the primary vote, the Coalition to 45.5% and Labor to 32.5%, while the Greens were up half a point to 12%. The poll was conducted from Saturday to Monday with a sample of 1211. Adding that to the poll tracker featured on the sidebar contributes to what’s now an observable uptick for the Coalition, although it hasn’t made any difference to the seat projection.

Some further campaign factoids:

James Robertson of the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Labor “believes it will win” in Ballina. Some account of the feel of the local campaign is offered by Ean Higgins of The Australian:

On the front page of Thursday’s edition of the Byron Shire News, the Greens candidate for Ballina, Tamara Smith, had an advertisement with just one message: “Only the Greens will ban coal-seam gas mining across all of NSW.” On page seven, Labor had a full-page, one-message advertisement: “Labor’s policy is to BAN coal-seam gas mining from our region … the National Party’s gas plan is about expanding harmful CSG mining, not stopping it.” On page nine, Ballina Nationals candidate Kris Beavis – chosen by his party to replace MP Don Page, who is retiring after 27 years in the seat – had his one-message advertisement, under the headline “Actions, not words, on CSG.” Mr Beavis’s ad had two maps of the electorate, one showing Ballina almost completely covered with CSG exploration licences issued by the previous Labor government, and one showing the electorate almost totally free of them under a Coalition government today. The Beavis advertisement goes to the issue driving Nationals strategists spare: it was Labor that welcomed in CSG exploration, and it was the Coalition that has mostly bought back or suspended the licences over its four years in government. But the message is just not getting through to voters …

• The Australian’s report further relates that “after Ballina, the seat thought most likely to change hands is Lismore, where Labor and the Greens are mounting spirited campaigns against incumbent Nationals MP Thomas George. Private polling suggests Greens candidate Adam Guise may have a slightly better chance of taking the seat than Labor’s Isaac Smith.” It presumably follows that the Nationals are better placed in Tweed, the region’s other swing seat.

• Today’s Daily Telegraph front page lead runs “Kamikaze Kelly” to match a Photoshop job on former federal Liberal MP Jackie Kelly, who is directing preferences to Labor in her independent bid for Penrith. Kelly’s concern in running is her opposition to the proposed new airport at Badgerys Creek, to which Labor at least proposes to attach more strings than the Baird government, with a requirement that the developer build two train connections to the airport and keeping open the possibility that a curfew might operate. By way of spelling out where Kelly has gone wrong, the Telegraph’s editorial states: “Loyalty is a great and rare quality in politics. Prime Minister Tony Abbott sets a brilliant example, standing by colleagues and constituents through all types of conflicts.” In other Penrith news, Mike Baird targeted Penrith and the Blue Mountains as first cab off the rank for the policy to roll out the National Disability Insurance Scheme a year ahead of schedule, which was unveiled at Sunday’s campaign launch.

• Reporting on Galaxy’s Coogee poll on Monday, Andrew Clennell of the Daily Telegraph related there was “talk, too, the Libs can hold onto Granville and Oatley, despite their margins being 3.8 per cent each”.

UPDATE (Essential Research): As in Queensland, Essential Research has bundled together state voting intention results from the regular polling it conducted during the campaign period. The result is slightly more useful than its Queensland counterpart in that the bigger samples from the state allow it to limit it to the last two weeks, but that still leaves it with a sample of 659. In any case, the results offer no surprises, with the Coalition on 44% of the primary vote, Labor on 36% and the Greens on 9%, with the Coalition leading 53-47 on two-party preferred.

UPDATE 2 (Lonergan): The Guardian has a second Lonergan automated phone poll for the campaign, this one with a heavy-duty sample of 3215, and the news here for the Coalition is even better: a 57-43 lead on two-party preferred, from primary votes of 47% for the Coalition, 31% for Labor and 11% for the Greens. Mike Baird holds a 52-25 lead as preferred premier, and there are numerous further questions on electricity privatisation and other campaign issues.

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.

74 comments on “New South Wales election minus three days”

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  1. From an economic viewpoint, if Baird sticks to his promises on how the privatisation is done, it should work quite well. If States are serious about reducing fossil fuel energy, not owning such assets makes sense. If abaird uses the money on needed infrastructure as promised, he will win the next election too.

  2. I disagree Socrates…

    If you want to regulate or tax a profitable business out of existence it’s much easier to do so if the Government owns it. They don’t have to pay reparations to themselves.

  3. Looks like more similarities with the Victorian election than the Queensland one.

    In Victoria there was a swing back to the LNP in the last fortnight. Which i think represents the people that just arent interested in politics finally engaging.

    My guess is that Queensland was different because the LNP where so extreme people couldnt avoid having an opinion even if they weren’t into politics.

  4. RA@2
    [If you want to regulate or tax a profitable business out of existence it’s much easier to do so if the Government owns it. They don’t have to pay reparations to themselves]

    If Andrew Robb signs the TPP with ISDS in the next week, as he says he will, then we will have no chance of regulating anything privatised. The owners will simply claim the regulation affects their profits and we will have to pay them out.

    We will be centrally coal fired forever

  5. Granville and Oatley both have young attractive female candidates running, one for the Christian Democrats and one for Labor.

    There is a certain percentage of voters who are don’t engage or are superficial and I wonder if being a young attractive female is an advantage or disadvantage. Are voters swayed by a greying middle aged man to represent them (the newsreader type who looks experienced and they trust) or a young attractive woman.

    If anyone knows of a few young attractive male candidates, it might be interesting to see some comparisons after the vote is in.

  6. If you use PB’s projection of 47-53 in antony’s election calculator, it shows 17 seat gains will change to ALP.

    Looking at the 6 electorate level polling and its looking much less predictable, they dont match the pendulum.
    – Balina (ALP win, Reachtel)
    – Cambeltown (LNP hold, Galaxy)
    – Coogee (LNP hold, Galaxy)
    – Strathfield (?, was close according to Galaxy before the LNP surge)
    – Newtown (ALP win from green, Reachtel)

    It looks like the electorate level polls are predicting LNP will have smaller swings against them in the city and bigger swings against them in the country. This goes against the traditional voting patterns.

  7. 1

    These are not the coal power plants. These are the polls and wires. They will still be needed, even if with less capacity because of solar, to move renewable electricity around.

  8. Interesting article by David Marr in the Guardian today. In short TV picture/sound grabs, Baird looks like the political leader supplied by a casting company: a family man with a handsome, trustworthy face, who talks in a soothing, reassuring manner.

    In larger doses, Baird comes across as a bit stodgy and a bit of a bean counter: but how many people get to see a State politician for extended periods of contact?

    Anyway, with NSW Labor still a bit on the nose and Foley not very inspiring, Baird is an ideal leader for the Libs right now. Disengaged voters will find him safe and competent. Some will swing back to Labor because they are disturbed by CSG or the poles and wires sell-off, but not enough to stop Baird winning by a comfortable majority.

    That’s how I see it, anyway.

  9. Bug QLD was about two issues.

    The campaign against Newman which Newman firmed up and self-destructed with two very stupid comments late in the campaign (Labor being funded by bikies was really dumb and the threat that electorate promises may not be honoured if the local LNP member lost their seat). This fed in to the “Put the LNP last” campaign which was highly successful. Alan Jones running a one man destroy Newman campaign didn’t help either. Dislike of Newman was the key issue.

    The asset sale/lease issue which I personally was secondary but still coast some votes.

    I can’t see Baird suffering the same fate as Newman and in fact wouldn’t be surprised if the Coalition win in NSW is more comfortable than many here are thinking. A late swing to the Coalition wouldn’t surprise.

  10. Looks like Labor taking the campaign out of the hands of the incompetent Ja’mie and handing it to Dave Tierney hasn’t worked .

  11. Agree that from personal experience Dave Tierney is a really good operator. The ALP campaign has been hamstrung by not having the funds to spend in Western Sydney – where the election will be decided, not Ballina!! I think the obsession that this place seems to have with the North Coast is odd, at worst the Nats are going to lose 2 seats – I think more likley 1 – where the ALP should have focussed on 10-12 targets in western Sydney at the commencement of the campaign.
    At this stage I am advised that the late movement to Baird is continuing and that all Sydney seats held by the Libs are in play, except for Rockdale and Prospect.

  12. Sorry guys no don’t view Macquarie Fields as a Coalition seat – although I appreciate it is on the numbers. Not in play. East Hills very much in play.

  13. Did not know that Nick Greiner was once the lib candidate for my seat of Willoughby and managed not to win at the Wranslide election of 1978

  14. MTBW – I agree hard to see it held off a 0.2 margin. I actually presently have ALP with 11 seats in the bag (using 2011 figures) and East Hills is one of these. That will put them on a definite 31 – but it has come down from 34/33 where they were at 10 days ago. Re East Hills – I know that some genuine energy is going in there this week and some significant Ministerial visits are planned.

  15. moderate

    I have run many campaigns and East Hills has a very small margin as you said.

    The current member seems to not have done much work that I know of while Cameron has delivered a number of leaflets through the electorate including HTV to every household.

    Many things can happen in campaigns but I feel really good about this one and with his experience in other fields I think he will be a very good member.

    Hard work can do a lot for your campaign I was working for Sandra Nori in the run up to the 1995 election and against all the odds we won it.

  16. MTBW – I concur that on the likelihood Murphy gets elected. You should bear in mind however that the Liberal member is the wealthiest man in Parliament and there is no barrier on his ability to self fund….

  17. moderate

    [You should bear in mind however that the Liberal member is the wealthiest man in Parliament and there is no barrier on his ability to self fund….]

    I did not know that where did his wealth come from?

  18. Why not contact the Electoral Commission and ask them.

    Because MTBW if you had read the linked article the NSWEC seems to be unsure about the nomination process and if the candidates are cross checked with the electoral roll and whether photo ID is required.

  19. AR don’t see how a non-existent person can be a valid candidate so you may end up with a similar situation that existed in Ferny Grove in the QLD election. It would come down to what effect any votes non-person received and whether they could have affected the result.

  20. so % points lost during campaign … hmmm. single issue campaign, personality smear – what campaign strategist thought this up – yes i am fed up with asset sales – also ferguson and ilk who love kicking goals in own posts –

  21. Geoffrey the problem with personality smearing is that it doesn’t work well when the person being smeared is liked by a big part of the electorate.

  22. paywalled
    [NSW Coalition cruising to victory on voter trust
    Bernard Keane | Mar 25, 2015 1:05PM

    The NSW Coalition is headed for a strong win in Saturday’s state election, according to polling by Essential Research, with voters still distrustful of Labor’s capacity to manage key issues.

    From polling over the last fortnight, Essential has a (relatively small) sample of 659, which shows the Coalition primary vote on 44%, down seven points from its landslide performance in 2011. Labor is on 36%, up more than ten points from the 2011 debacle, while the Greens are on 9% (they recorded 10.3% in 2011) and others are at 11%. Calculating a 2PP outcome given the unpredictability of preference flows is difficult; Essential’s conservative estimate using several previous elections is a 2PP result of 53%-47% to the Coalition. On a uniform state-wide outcome that would deliver Labor around 20 seats, but preference flows and regional differences make that more a guess than a prediction.]

  23. This thread is extraordinarily quiet for an election thread in polling week, but probably not surprising considering how much of a non-campaign it’s been.

    I think Labor really stuffed it by going with Foley. New South Wales Labor, out of everyone, really needed a fresh face, in the vein of Andrews and Palaszczuk, but Foley practically screams “machine man” in the state where they can least afford that image. The second they decided to stick with someone from Sussex St central casting, they threw away any chance of gaining real ground on Baird.

  24. What a surprise that 57-43 is this close to the election with a 3251 sample!

    In Antony Green’s calculator that is about 55-35
    The last Morgan SMS poll also gives 55-35
    On PB past preferences you also get 55-35


  25. …the other amazing thing from that link is this bit:

    “Polling done before the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union’s ad campaign showed half of voters (51%) preferred the electricity transmission infrastructure kept in government hands, although there has been a 7% increase (to 27%) in those who would lease it to the private sector, which is the government’s plan.”

    So after a campaign about nothing but privatisation, the only thing that has happened is an increase in support for the privatisation position…..and the only discernible trend is towards the government.

    Baird has done remarkably well so far…..but Sat night will still be fascinating given QLD.

  26. “NSW Coalition cruising to victory on voter trust” yes very disappointing headline considering the number Libs who fell on their swords in the first term. I did say headline folks. If the voters are so dumb that Bairds so called pretty face is the criteria for the Libs being returned with an upper house majority God help us all.

  27. Yes, the other story is the Coalition will likely gain control of the upper house (given the poor performance in 2007 there).

    The NSW Libs have done a fantastic job compared with the ALP, which is why folks seem to want Baird rather than Foley (same old same old Labor), despite not wanting poles and wires leasing.

  28. I haven’t seen a single negative advertisement from the Coalition, I don’t know if there has been some in specific electorates. The unions have been running the negative ad with black and white shot of Mike with a sneer. The main Coalition one I saw was Mike sitting on his desk in colour saying “We are not selling, we are leasing” etc.

    Perhaps it has to be something scary for a scare campaign to work. GST, Carbon Tax, Work Choices are perhaps scary but privatisation of just another government enterprise is not because voters have experienced Qantas, Combank, Telstra and they may have a preference for ownership but it doesn’t change their vote.

  29. Yea happiness 47- sensible voters will give the alp a bollocking. Only a thorough sustained purging will force the fundamental reassessment of nsw alp policies and personnel that so clearly has not occurred in the last 4 years.

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