Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor in New South Wales

A small sample New South Wales poll adds to an overall picture of both major parties being so subdued on the primary vote as to make the final outcome anyone’s guess.

The Guardian reported yesterday on a poll of state voting intention in New South Wales from Essential Research, with a small sample of 544. The poll had the primary votes at 39% for the Coalition, 36% for Labor, 10% for the Greens and 8% for One Nation, with Labor recording a 51-49 lead on two-party preferred. However, the latter figure, however it was derived, would have to be regarded as highly speculative, given the wild cards of One Nation’s preference flows and the rate of exhausted votes under optional preferential voting.

I wouldn’t normally make a post out of a poll with such a small sample, but with an election five weeks away I’ll take what I can get. While I’m about it, I’ll take the opportunity to promote the Poll Bludger’s vast state election guide, to which a permanent link can be found on the sidebar. It features a poll trend measure to which the Essential result has just been added – to very little effect, since its results are very similar to what the trend was already been showing (and it was given a low weighting, reflecting the small sample).

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.

92 comments on “Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor in New South Wales”

  1. re nat party……. Port Macquarie .. Rob Oakeshotts neck of the woods
    Northern Tablelands……… Barnaby’s poison
    see what I mean

  2. Certain Nats wins:

    Cootamundra
    Myall Lakes
    Oxley
    Port Macquarie
    Northern tablelands
    Clarence
    Bathurst

    Highly Likely wins (where they are presently more than 5% ahead in 2PP polls)

    Coffs Harbour
    Monaro
    Ballina
    Murray

    Line Ball:

    Tweed
    Lismore
    Orange (vs Shooter)
    Barwon (vs Shooter)

    So on one view the Nats could win between 11-15 seats. Honestly some of you guys are living in some ALP induced coma if you think that the Nats will win less than 10 seats. Honestly on 24 March some of the comments here should be reviewed, and some serious mea culpas should flow. From past experience of this blog, not bloody likely!!

  3. Moderate…. Bathurst is not certain as long as it contains Lithgow as half the seat
    Clarence… previous sitting mp contacting for shooters
    Monaro…… 2% margin
    Murray…. at by election shooters came with 3%
    Ballina…. demographic changes either alp or green
    Orange… stay shooters esp after Gladys threats
    Barwon……. shooters or alp…… too many things went wrong for ants
    Lismore…… very likely alp win
    Tweed….. see Balina

    see what I mean……. not only labor but shooters and independents

  4. Sorry Mick thanks for reminding me. Dubbo a certainty and UH (after an ALP train wreck on candidate) is line ball. Likely 13-17 seats.
    Let me know how many more safe Nat seats I’ve missed!!!

  5. Anyone trying to pick results here is kidding themselves. The problem for both sides is the campaign is completely overshadowed by the Canberra circus.

    Conventional wisdom in the punditry is that voters can differentiate between federal and state. But we haven’t had back to back state and federal polls in NSW since 1917.

    The candidates will tell you most punters don’t even know there’s a state election on. Mike Baird’s shiny young replacement in Manly was heard complaining the other day about the Get Tony movement stealing all the local oxygen. One voter even asked him if he was giving preferences to the Budgie Smuggler. He didn’t think it was funny.

  6. Moderate this is fun…….pls excuse my typing error in the longer post……… My claim was not that the nats would lose those seats….. but in my opinion could….. for them to lose 10 plus seats would be an alignment of the stars………. I don’t know enough about Coffs Harbor or Oxley……. but I can argue for nearly any other seat reasons why the nationals could be concerned. The any one but Barnaby and Any one but the nationals movement mean that the best placed candidate against the nations could win. currently the nationals hold 14 seats by my count…….. I think the nationals are reasonably certain in Cootamundra as they got a good vote in Cowra and young and the eastern side of the electorate even there from 2011 to the byelection the 2pp against labor declined from a 30% margin to 10% margin

  7. My approach to the nsw election is not to identify so much specific results but to identify competitive seats….. not held by labor…. and wow am I pleasantly surprised …. with labor on 51 to 52% 2pp as opposed to 45% last time there is a 5- 6% raw swing plus under normal circumstances a standard deviation of indiv swings of 2 to 3% plus or minus so a seat could swing from 3 to 8%. which brings us to the bulk of the 6 to 8 % margin seats. Each seat will be its own contest …… I think given individual circumstances especially in the country seats held by the nationals there are chances of shooters independents and labor winning seats

  8. I live in Sydney. The NSW election is just 4 weeks away and so far you’d hardly know it was on. It’s been very low key so far from what I can tell. There have been a couple of flyers in the mailbox. I don’t watch much commercial TV but I’ve seen lots of Federal Government taxpayer-funded ads saying they’re spending 75 trillion or whatever building roads and doing good stuff, but no NSW election ads. Maybe it’s being drowned out by the furore in Canberra.

  9. In my neck of the woods, the Nats are:

    * 100% certainties in Oxley. Not only is Melinda Pavey’s margin large enough, but as usual there is no non-Nat candidate actually making a noticeable effort. If you asked 100 Oxley voters to name a candidate other than Pavey, it’s possible that none could. I’m a politics tragic, I’m enrolled in Oxley, I don’t vote Nat, and I can’t.

    * Coffs Harbour is a totally different ball game. Andrew Fraser has retired, and the Nats have made a huge mess after the Coffs Bypass was funded in the 2018 federal budget, by announcing that now that the funding had been secured, they planned to build a different (noisier, uglier, environmentally worse) design to the one submitted to Infrastructure Australia, to the great anger of the local community and local government. The new Nat candidate is doing a brave job of trying to clean up the mess, but is relatively unknown, and facing a well-known and well-respected city councillor, Sally Townley, standing as an independent. Townley has been on the right side of the bypass issue from Day 1, and stands to benefit from those who feel betrayed by the Nationals on the issue. Some (admittedly non-rigorous) local polls have shown Townley leading the contest.

    Given the hugely local nature of the key election issue in Coffs, this risk to a normally safe Nat seat has flown under the radar to such an extent that William hasn’t even listed Townley on his list of candidates, despite all indications that Coffs will come down to a Nat-Independent 2CP count. Labor are highly unlikely, with their usual low profile campaigning up here, to finish ahead of Townley.

  10. Also, despite being a Sydney issue, punters up here (Coffs/Oxley) are livid at the stadium issue, as it’s so bloody hard to get spending for worthy projects up here that would cost a fraction of what’s being wasted on stadium rebuilds. In election talk, it always comes up, even with Nats supporters, who don’t even try to defend it.

  11. Thanks Jp……….. on your estimate one. certain nat and one competive
    add my guess of Cootamundra as certain…… so the nats have 2 so far….. another 12 mainly uncertain

  12. I wonder where JP’s punters are placing their bets.
    Sportsbet isn’t listing Independent as an option for Coffs Harbour. I gather they haven’t had anyone wanting to bet on an independent win.
    The same betting agency has Labor listed listed at $3.30 in Oxley.
    Labor is listed at $14 in most safe coalition seats.

  13. there is not much difference between a seat being competitive not falling…. but the whole point is that given so many competitive seats….. some will fall and a lot will go close…… this is especially the case with National party held seats….. on the Balance of probability there will be at worst a minority alp government and much more likely a alp majority government

  14. Watson…… it seems that the betting markets just haven’t caught up……. if some one cares to bet then it may well be they can make some money…… eg bet shooters and alp on Barwon ?

  15. G’day from sunny Wagga Wagga.
    Dr Joe McGirr will be returned as the independent member for Wagga Wagga because:
    1. Wagga voters are aware that there is a decent chance of the NSW election returning a hung parliament. And Dr Joe will hold a good hand when it comes to delivering outcomes for Wagga in said hung parliament.
    2. History shows that rural independents are very hard to dislodge.
    3. There is no Lib candidate standing. Lots of Lib voters aren’t keen on the Nats.
    4. There is still a rotten stench left behind from the Dodgy Dollars Daryl Maguire scandal.
    5. The National Party is fucking useless.
    6. Dr Joe has shown voters that he has a sensible, safe pair of hands.
    7. Sydney stadiums cash splash.
    8. Dr Joe is in many ways a ‘Lib Lite’ candidate.
    I’d rather see Labor’s Dan Hayes win, but a Nats loss is still a win for Wagga and NSW.

  16. Yep, the Coffs Advocate poll is not in any way rigorous, but it’s still hugely rare for even these types of polls to throw up results like that up here. The Nats are throwing the kitchen sink at this one – I’ve never seen so many corflutes up. Clearly they’re concerned that replacing a 25+ year local member with a relative unknown makes the seat vulnerable, especially given a credible Independent at a time when credible Independents are in vogue, and also given that the Nats spent the second half of 2018 contemptuously explaining that Coffs didn’t deserve the sort of high quality motorway they’d been promised, and should be thankful that they were getting a noisy, ugly one after decades of not getting one at all.

    In the end, it’s still Nats heartland, and they’ll probably win the seat, especially as Singh seems a good, possibly exceptional, candidate by Nats standards. But it’s not a certainty, for sure. What *is* a certainty at this stage, I think, is that with a strong independent challenge, Labor are no chance.

    As for the betting odds, anyone who thinks Labor at $3.30 in Oxley is good value should get on it. As someone who lives in Oxley, I couldn’t recommend it. I’d love to see Melinda Pavey out of her job, but it’s not going to happen. Ditto Labor at $16 in Coffs. I’m not sure why anyone should take much note of betting odds from an organisation that is unaware of a strong independent challenge. It seems local knowledge isn’t really their thing.

  17. jp ………. what if you bet on both labor and the independent…… with an outside chance that independent votes could throw the seat to labor.

  18. Moderate…… the starting point is the libs or nationals are not going to win any seats they currently don’t hold….. that means Ballina and Orange will not be won by the Nationals……… will post more later.

  19. Let’s see if I’ve got this right.

    In 2015 state election, the Greens received 13.6% of the vote in Coffs Harbour.

    The boundary of the Coffs Harbour state electorate is almost identical to the Coffs Harbour Council boundary. In 2016, Sally Townley (Greens) finished fifth (11.84% of the vote) in a field of nine for Mayor of Coffs Harbour. The average vote in a field of nine is 11.11%.

    In late January 2019, Sally Townley quits as Greens candidate for Cowper and announces that she will be an independent candidate for Coffs Harbour. In less than four weeks, Sally has metamorphosed into an election winning candidate.

    I suspect that JP has been smoking some of the weed that is plentiful around Bellingen.

    If either Denise Knight or Jan Strom ran as an independent I would give them a pretty good chance of winning. Denise has ruled herself out. Jan came relative close to winning in 2003.

  20. The Daily Telecrap and The Australian have gone into the attack on NSW Labor. Someone trawled through the dirt files and couldn’t find anything since 2006. They found some obscure donations to Labor dating from 2004-06 while Michael Daley was on the Randwick council. It looks like nothing but most people will only see the headline and the first couple of lines.

    Funnily enough, there’s no mention on the Australian’s landing page of any of the scandals gripping the Federal Government.

    No link. The story is prominent on both sites if anyone wants to check it.

  21. Steve – yes mate its a nothing story. DAs approved by developers who then donated directly to Daley’s campaign. And at the same time he was shamelessly backfilling against greater transparency in Local Govt. Nothing to see here move on!!

  22. @Watson Watch – yes mayor Denise Knight would have been a far stronger candidate than Sally Townley had she run. The main difference for Sally Townley this time around is that she stands to gain ground on the bypass issue, on which both she and Council have been very credible. And ditching the Greens won’t hurt her either. There are plenty up here who will never vote Labor, but will consider an independent if the Nats let them down. The Nats have let people down over the bypass. So we’ll see how the cards fall, but Townley looks on track to finish ahead of Labor. But even that isn’t guaranteed, especially if she doesn’t have the resources to run a full campaign coming up to the election. If Townley got an endorsement from Denise Knight, that could be significant.

    Most likely, the Nats will get up. Gurmesh Singh seems like a competent, articulate and likeable candidate – head and shoulders above some other local Nats state and federal, past and present. But even if he says and does all the right things, trust is an issue for the Nats at the moment. Melinda Pavey’s not helping by being evasive about whether the bypass will have tunnels even as Singh is promising them.

    Another big help for the Nats is optional preferential voting. With the non-Nat vote splitting between Labor, Green and Independent, a lot of that is going to exhaust rather than come back to one candidate, and even if the Nats get a decent swing against and don’t crack a win on the first count, they may still have a primary in the high 40’s. It’s a hard ask.

  23. Moderate “DAs approved by developers who then donated directly to Daley’s campaign” could you please clarify the allegations as DA’s aren’t approved by developers. Nor by individual Councillors.

    On another note my daughter has said there is a lot of anger at Gladys over the music festival licence with the cost canning many popular smaller festivals. Appears the Libs can kiss goodbye a lot of votes from the 18-25 age group over because of it. Gladys is toast.

  24. Good one terminator. Nice imperial analysis.
    DAs on Williamson’s home not recommended for approval by council officers. Daley votes in favour. Then says I only met him once or twice. That sounds like the MO of the NSW right.
    We’ve got the guy who praised Eddie in his first speech wanting to be Premier. He’s entitled to cop some scrutiny. And there’ll be more to come I suspect…

  25. Re Daley he was elected to Randwick council in 1995…… aged 30 he is in his early 50’s that is a long time ago. A man or woman tend to mature in 20 odd years……….. I think he is respected as labour leader. What is disturbing is Rupert’s underlings digging for dirt………….

  26. Thanks Moderate, I did suspect something like that. Happens quite often, especially in days gone by mostly by the conservatives (usually undeclared ie “independants”) who typically favoured developers over rate payers.
    I welcome scrutiny and accountability but hate it when that scrutiny is only ever applied to one side.

  27. BTW Mick I’m waiting for you to compile the 14 seats that take ALP to your predicted holy grail of majority govt – of course that doesn’t include the very real prospect of the coalition snagging one of Port Stephens, Granville or The Entrance. So let’s call it an even 15.

  28. Interestingly Allianz stadium demolition has been halted until March 8th via a Court injunction. It seems some are trying to delay the project until the NSW State election and hoping a potential Labor government will be able to dismantle the project.

    Actually I think it’s really poor of the Berejiklian government trying to foist this on to Labor. If Berejiklian Government win the next election then fine they have a mandate to go ahead with it. But trying to ram through this project and Labor being forced to go ahead with the project is just poor government and spiteful.

    It’s also likely been done so the Liberals can take the wedge out of this issue with voters. Suggesting if the project is underway and can’t be stopped then there is no point for voters voting Labor because they won’t be able to do anything about it.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/26/allianz-stadium-demolition-on-hold-after-court-extends-injunction

  29. As far as I’m concerned if they demolish the stadiums Labor can leave them as holes in the ground. Anyone who wants new stadiums can pay for them, not the taxpayers.

  30. (Posted on main thread)

    Signs are appearing at local railway stations “Sydney Metro, opens mid 2019”. “Mid 2019” – it was going to be March, then May.

    Not just for that reason, I find the signs bemusing. At this late stage, I would have expected to see “Opening Sunday July 7” or whatever. But we apparently have a 6+ year, 10+ billion project which we are told is nearing completion and just a few months out they apparently don’t know when they’re going to finish the bloody thing.

    It doesn’t inspire confidence.

  31. moderate has been crowing about the impossibility of Labor picking up a net 14 seats.

    In my view of a state wide swing of around 6-7% is on, then seats that look ‘safe’ on the pendulum will actually be very vulnerable. Seats like Riverstone, Mulgoa, Bathurst, South Coast, Kiama – this list goes on and on will be in play.

    I also think that Dubbo is likely gone for the Nats. Dougal’s PV looks like it has collapsed to the low 30s and Labor and the former Indoendent Mayor are running neck and neck on PVs around 28-29%. There are similar stories throughout the bush.

    I don’t think Labor will lose any of its marginals. I think they’ll pick up all of those coalition marginals under 3.2% – even upper hunter (the later loss of the labor candidate seems to have led to the preselction of a better one).

    I also think Labor will won at least 4 coalition seats sitting on margins of between 6.2 and 10%. The margins are inflated and out of sinc with the booths in their federal counter parts. Also the dynamics of optional preferential voting will work against the Libs retaining these seats.

    Further, I think quite a number of seats above 10% margin will go come home to Labor. Bathurst especially is one to watch.

    I can’t predict where labor will pick up 14. Exactly. Only that it’s very very possible.

    I am far more confident in predicting that Labor will pick up at least 8 seats – which will be enough for minority government.

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