ReachTEL: 50-50 in New South Wales

Six months out from a state election, the first New South Wales poll in a surprisingly long time produces a tied result.

Today’s Sun-Herald has a ReachTEL poll of state voting intention in New South Wales, showing the Coalition and Labor level on two-party preferred. After exclusion of the 5.9% undecided, the primary votes are Coalition 37.3%, Labor 33.5%, Greens 10.8%, Shooters Fishers and Farmers 6.5% and One Nation 4.5%. Gladys Berejiklian and Luke Foley were also level on the question of preferred premier, remembering that ReachTEL’s forced response approach to this question tends to produce unusual results. The poll was conducted on Thursday from a sample of 1627. Given a state election is six months away, this was the first published state poll from New South Wales in a surprisingly long time, the last having been another ReachTEL poll from March that had the Coalition leading 52-48. That poll had both major parties higher on the primary vote, with the Coalition on 44.7% and Labor on 34.6%.

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.

28 comments on “ReachTEL: 50-50 in New South Wales”

  1. Gladys is seriously on the nose. The SMH may editorialise that she is seen a capable and competent, but nothing is further from the truth. She is seen as an apologist without the corrective behaviour that makes apologies meaningful and sincere.

    She has yet to face the voters in her own right, except in Wagga, and that went well, not. A state wide campaign will be a disaster for her imo. The more she stumbles around the scars of the Los Angelisation and privatisation of the cities traffic, spouting gobblydeegook about rebuilding stadiums and moving museums without a skerrick of a business case, the stupider she looks.

    The youth hate her authoritarian blindness to the collapse of the city’s night life, and the complete disavowal of any consideration of pill testing to safe guard lives is about the last straw. She’s all MIss Prissy and no lip stick and dancing.

    Labor need to get the message out they have a team, and a team that can govern. If they have one.

  2. Many in federal Labor will probably be secretly hoping Gladys scrapes through in March, either with a slim majority or leading a minority government. While a new elected state Labor government would probably still be in honeymoon mode by the time the federal election rolls around, an increasingly unpopular NSW Liberal government – especially one governing in minority – could be a serious boon for federal Labor.

  3. Luke Foley has been outspoken about immigration levels, especially cutting numbers. I am predicting Labor possibly winning majority government.

  4. Like Foley is exhibit A in why the Greens have a valid role to play in Australian politics, even if you don’t have time for them on a federal level.

    It’s hard to imagine a less inspiring leader. I’m on his mailing list and the only time I’ve ever received an email about any policy was when he was opposing Baird’s short-lived attempt at banning greyhound racing.

    NSW Labor remains a moral cesspit.

  5. Labor can’t win an election with a primary vote of 31%, and Foley is an invisible State Opposition leader, no media presence whatsoever. In fact, the only shadow minister you ever see or hear in the media in Sydney is Walt Secord, and he’s in the Upper House.
    I think that a leadership team of Chris Minns and Jodi McKay would beat Gladys next March.
    As of now, the infighting on the Liberal side and various policy stuffups from the government are making this close, rather than anything inspiring from the Labor side.

  6. Is there any chance that Gladys is in trouble enough to get dumped? It would have to be suicidal in the wake of the 5 days in September in Canberra. But logic does not seem to be the strongest suit of the Liberal party currently.

  7. Reachtel state polls skew slightly to Coalition. Galaxy poll may well show ALP ahead.

    Luke Foley is on point. I follow him on Twitter and he posts news grabs from commercial TV and he is always on point and his criticisms will appeal to voters. Schools before stadiums, 3 word slogan but on point. Not to mention negative coverage of infrastructure projects and infighting in NSW Libs.

    State opposition leaders will always struggle with recognition. Admittedly I don’t know if NSW ALP have an effective suite of policies but I’m sure Foley will roll out policies as the election gets closer.

  8. People who say Foley is invisible- state opposition leaders are always invisible. They can never get any media coverage…80 percent of Australians probably don’t know who their opp. leader is, regardless of party or state.

  9. Foley is more invisible than your average opposition leader, and it’s interesting that one of the only times he made even a minimal effort at visibility it was to support the torture of dogs

  10. BS Fairman@12:43pm
    Logic may well not be the strong suit of LNP. But can you blame them. Federal LNP is in wonder that they are still in the fight to win next election after all the stuff ups in last 5 years.
    Gladys may be infected with that federal disease call illogical behaviour come what may.
    Add to that if ALP has uninspiring and invisible leader like Foley, it is a buffer with which LNP can continue their shenanigans.

  11. BW@1:42pm
    NSW Greens cannot comment on it because it will jeopardise the investigations. But at the end of the investigation if the finding is in favour of accuser you will not know it till the defendant disappears from the scene, which gives a chance to the Greens to say that remedial measures have been taken and Greens are as pure as Lily. However, if the findings are in favour of defendant, then the defendant will give a press conference saying he is in the clear. But the report will not released because of privacy concerns. So you are none the wiser.

  12. If Gladys did get dumped as Premier, Education Minister Rob Stokes would be the obvious replacement, although Andrew Constance has ambitions too in that area.

  13. I am usually of the view that State politics and Federal politics are reasonably disconnected in the minds of voters.

    But I can’t help feeling that this poll is showing a bit of a Federal influence. While Gladys has had her problems lately, I can say that (from my basically centrist position) she truly does come across as a thoughtful and reasonably competent leader. And NSW Labor doesn’t really give the impression of being ready to govern.

    The Federal Libs, on the other hand, are seriously on the nose, and I personally don’t think that the last two weeks of parliament have helped them at all. And I think this is flowing through to this poll, but possibly wouldn’t flow through to an actual NSW election.

  14. I reckon a large chunk of the public get confused between the two levels of government because they not always the brightest (Remember the Chasers’ “This person votes” segment).

    It is also true that Governments get voted out more at state level than Oppositions get elected because the Oppositions often struggle for media coverage. Therefore the “on the nose” element is the key and I suspect NSW starting to get a little bit of a pong.

  15. These figures suggest minority or as John Quiggin calls it a deliberative government of some sort is very much on the cards given the number of seats held mob minor parties & independents

  16. The federal Liberals are no longer just in a policy hole, they’re damaging the party brand. No-one believes the sexism, bullying and dogmatism — rife from the local branches up — stops at the ACT border. It’s not only the ignorant and disengaged who are turning away at state level anymore, hence this result.

    A rusted on Lib remarked to me the other day that “no-one can say Luke Who now”. The preferred premier result would certainly back that up. Gladys has been under the same heat that Casino Mike was towards the end of his tenure, but with no fond memories of popularity amongst the voters, they have no reason to afford her the same benefit of the doubt. The conservative critics, who seem prepared to go after her as hard as they did Gillard, can’t be helping either.

    If Luke Foley’s frontbench had any name recognition or widely known popular policies, like Shorten’s shadow cabinet has at federal level, then the state government would be finished. As it is though we’ll probably suffer four years of minority government first that locks in the current unfinished infrastructure projects… the election campaign with all the political oxygen it brings could make a huge difference in either direction.

  17. I think that the Labor leadership ballot in the wake of the 2013 Federal Labor defeat had a massive positive impact on the success of the Federal Labor opposition over the last 5 years, and I think an opportunity for something similar at the NSW level was missed.

    If there had have been an open contest after the 2015 defeat, I have no doubt that Labor would be ahead and heading towards a more certain victory in March. The benefits would have been twofold:

    1) The membership would have had a say over the direction of the party. Foley’s “white flight”, anti-safe schools rhetoric has been disappointing, as with his strange obsession with the racing industry

    2) The process itself is actually a positive in that the leaders get publicity and the public get to see arguments about policy – it was certainly a boost in 2013, and raised Bill Shorten’s profile

    Interestingly, we have just passed the 6 month until the election mark where a ballot of the membership is no longer required – I’m guessing Foley will be looking over his shoulder if he can’t get a boost in the primary vote soon. With optional preferential voting and the likelihood of many minor party votes exhausting, a 31 vs 36 primary vote contest doesn’t look great for Labor.

  18. To be honest I didn’t think they did leaders in the NSW Greens.

    Jamie Parker and Jenny Leong are well known in their electorate.

    Legislative Council is anyone’s guess. Much like the Senate, it’s the who’s that of Australian politics.

  19. Nice try kakuru but there is no NSW ‘leader’. David Shoebridge and Jenny Leong may be the only two decent people in NSW politics but they’re not alternative premiers. Of course if you’re a transphobic racist who loves cruelty to animals, then you might find something to like in Foley.

  20. Polled today!

    Probably commissioned by Labor? The question of the day was the $2b spent on stadiums that could go to schools, hospitals, etc. So we’ll see if it’s released.

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