ReachTEL: 52-48 to Coalition in New South Wales

An overdue post on a New South Wales state poll published last week, and a look at the state’s poll trend since the 2015 election.

I’m way late with this one, but while I was preoccupied with South Australia and Batman last Friday, the Sydney Morning Herald had a ReachTEL poll of state voting intention in New South Wales, conducted last Thursday from a sample of 1521. After excluding the 6.2% undecided, the poll had the Coalition leading 52-48 on two-party preferred, and with 44.7% of the primary vote, up 3.8% on the last poll in October – quite a bit better than the 50-50 and 38% attributed to them by Newspoll recently. The Labor primary vote is up 0.9% to 34.6% and the Greens up 0.1% to 10.0%, which much of the Coalition gain coming off a declining One Nation, down 3.5% to 5.4%. Gladys Berejiklian led Luke Foley 52.3-47.7 as preferred premier. The poll also found 58.9% opposed to the government spending $2.5 billion on new stadiums, with only 25.6% supportive.

To make this overdue post worthwhile, I offer the poll tracking measure below going back to the last election. The general picture is that the Coalition’s dominant position as of the 2015 election was whittled away during Mike Baird’s final year as premier, but had stabilised by the time he resigned in January 2017. Support for the two parties has been fairly balanced in Berejiklian’s year and a bit in the job, with the Coalition perhaps very slightly in front.

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.

15 comments on “ReachTEL: 52-48 to Coalition in New South Wales”

  1. During the Berejiklian era ReachTEL and Newspoll have favoured the Coalition, Essential have favoured Labor.

    It looks like “too close to call” at this point in time.

  2. @Zoidlord

    I call it the Luke Foley factor! If he was replaced by Daley or Minns they would be much more effective as an opposition.

  3. My gut feeling is this stage is that the Libs will fall over the line next year – there just does appear to be a clamouring to “throw the bums out”, and by Election Day, many of the things that are causing them some angst (freeways, trams, stadiums etc) will be finished, or resolved, or close to. Gladys should have a few ribbon-cutting opportunities next summer.

    That said, the tide has begun to run out for them, and like any 7-year-old government, they have lost any shine they once had. Foley and Labor have been doggedly working away at them, but as things stand, I don’t think they have nailed down the case for change.

    One thing that Labor does have going for it is the demographics of the State. One reason that Labor has traditionally been the party of government in NSW (since 1941, the ALP has only been in Opposition for a total of 25 years out of 67) is because the distribution of seats gives Labor a very healthy base. Newcastle, Wollongong and south-western Sydney return Labor MPs close to every election (2011-style thumpings notwithstanding), giving them a core of about 35 seats. This means that they only need to pick a further 9-10 seats from the fringe suburbs, and the regional centres, to get a majority.

  4. Foley is out there campaigning every day. He has been touring regional NSW with campaign bus. I think he will get across the line.

  5. foley has not been that visible during many controversies … esp with sydney … why aren’t leaders ace? quick with words … one worries he sits on fence a bit

  6. Hugoaugogo, what exactly will be resolved within the next 12 months? The light rail probably won’t start running until after March; if they’re lucky, more of the hoarding will be taken down. Stadiums has already done damage, which a backflip will help but it’s no ribbon-cutting. As a bonus, the rail tunnel between Chatswood and Epping will likely be closed during the next election based on the six month time frame to supposedly commence in November. Is a new section of toll road expected to open over summer?

    If the Liberals win the next election, it will be because they have their nose in front right now and don’t do anything else stupid to lose votes, not cutting ribbons to nirvana. Can’t see state Labor under Foley doing much to change that equation.

  7. My expectation for project completions based on current information is the following:

    – M4 East to open late this year, early next year
    – Sydney Metro Northwest to open before the election (with ECRL closure brought forward a bit from November)
    – Sydney Light Rail major CBD construction complete (removing the ugliness) but not operational (avoiding bus network changes which could cause some controversy)

  8. I must say, I very much like Foley’s understated approach. He doesn’t yell and scream. He looks like a dependable sort of bloke. He might cause a real surprise during the election campaign. Like I said above, he’s not far behind Gladys on personal ratings, which is a bit of a surprise.
    P.S. It’s not his fault if the media doesn’t give a rats arse about opposition leaders until elections come around.

  9. This should make Berejiklian a bit nervous: her government might have done some awful things, but if Luke Foley’s nearly caught up to you on preferred premier, you’ve really gone and stuffed it. I’m not sure I can think of a less inspiring or more uncharismatic Labor leader than Foley anywhere in my lifetime.

  10. Foley should take the lead from Shorten and be bold on policy. Propose some real reforms that generate real revenue that can be invested in NSW schools, hospitals and infrastructure to make them the best in the world.

    It might be politically difficult, but I’m thinking stamp duty/land tax reform, but not like ACT which has not been politically popular. Eliminate Stamp Duty on houses straight away and start changing land tax on all properties, but grandfather all owner occupiers from any liability indefinitely (from the date of the announcement).

    Owner occupiers who buy a house between the date of the announcement and the enactment of the policy have land tax assessed, but gets a credit for the amount of stamp duty paid and only start paying when that balance runs out.

    Investors might have a higher rate to cover existing land tax, and could also get credit for stamp duty paid but they might have the new land tax assessed retrospectively from their date of purchase so that they start paying land tax sooner. Any retrospective tax liability would only be used to draw down against the stamp duty previously paid, there would not be any actual payment due if their stamp duty paid didn’t cover the amount, they would just pay into the future.

    There would need to be other arrangements and deals, maybe a lower rate for pensioners and an ability for pensioners to defer their liability until the sale of the property. The overall reform would be great news for first homeowners, as it would remove a large impediment to buying a property, being the saving up of of both a deposit and stamp duty. It would also help capture land value increases that come from investing in infrastructure.

    This would make a large short term hit to the budget, but I think credit rating agencies would be ok with running deep deficits in the short term due to the solid revenue base being built for the future. Perhaps make a deal with Shorten that a Labor Federal Government will lend money to cover the temporary shortfall. Stamp duty from housing is about $7b a year currently. In the long term, this would create a reliable income stream that could be used to fund election promises – which could be funded by borrowing in the short term given the certainty that the future revenue was coming.

    Be bold, not timid. Get elected to actually do something.

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