New South Wales election minus twelve days

More seat polls, more indications that the Nationals in particular have a battle on their hands.

NOTE: The main discussion thread is the post beneath this one, dealing with the 54-46 federal Newspoll result.

The Daily Telegraph has another two YouGov Galaxy seat polls today, from Lismore and Barwon, that conform with an emerging narrative of trouble for the Nationals. The report does not say when the polls were conducted, but the sample sizes were 588 in Lismore and 502 in Barwon.

• The headline from Lismore is that Labor leads 51-49, but this is based on a respondent-allocated preference flow that is much better for the Nationals than they enjoyed in 2015. This can be gleaned from the fact that the Nationals primary vote is at 35%, compared with 42.5% in 2015, whereas Labor (28%, compared with 26.4%) and the Greens (27%, compared with 25.6%) are little changed. Broadly speaking, this suggests a repeat of 2015, when the Greens narrowly outpolled Labor to take second place. This runs against the general sentiment, which says the Greens are unlikely to repeat their coup in winning Ballina and coming close in Lismore, as the issue of coal seam gas extraction has lost its currency.

The Nationals member, Thomas George, who is now retiring, finished 2.9% clear of the Greens at the final count in 2015, but a Nationals-versus-Labor preference count found this would only have been 0.2% if Labor had emerged second. The table below shows the relevant details from the Nationals-versus-Greens and Nationals-versus-Labor preference counts in 2015. If these preference flows are applied to the poll results, the Greens emerge with a 53.6-46.4 in a Nationals-versus-Greens count, while a Nationals-versus-Labor count blows the margin out to 56.6-43.4.

• In Barwon, where Kevin Humphries is retiring and the water management is biting as an issue, the Nationals are credited with a lead of just 51-49 over Shooters Fishers and Farmers. Nationals candidate Andrew Schier is on 40%, down from Humphries’ 49.1% in 2015, while Shooters candidate Roy Butler is on 30% – beyond that, we are told only that Labor and the Greens are down, from 24.0% and 6.2% respectively. In this case, the respondent-allocated two-party result looks about right.


• A report by Deborah Snow in the Sydney Morning Herald adds Myall Lakes, a Mid North Coast seat with a margin of 8.7%, as another addition to the seats along the state’s northern coast where Labor fancy themselves a chance of unseating the Nationals. Other examples were canvassed in this blog post, and in my article from Crikey (paywalled) on Friday.

• A dust-up played out last week in the seat of Port Stephens, which the Liberals harbour hopes of gaining from Labor, after Facebook suspended fake accounts that had been used to post comments critical of Labor member Kate Washington. The Liberals accuse Washington of misusing the electoral roll in her efforts to ascertain the Facebook posters’ identities, and have lodged a complaint to that effect with the Electoral Commission. They insist candidate Jaimie Abbott’s hands are clean in the matter, and that the blame lies with a volunteer on her campaign, Tasman Brown, who is also a staffer to upper house MP Catherine Cusack. Abbott’s own Facebook account was also been suspended, but this may have been collateral damage arising from Brown’s administrator privileges over the account.

• The Sydney Morning Herald continues to drip out results from its uComms/ReachTEL poll, today reporting that “the economic outlook, including falling house prices” had 35% saying they were more likely to vote Coalition, 40% less likely and 24% no difference.

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.

51 comments on “New South Wales election minus twelve days”

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  1. If SFF (who regional NSW people seem to think as their BFF) pulls off victories in Barwon and Young , ALP can pull off victories in Monaro, Upper Hunter, Lismore and Tweeds. (a bit of a stretch I know) , Greens and Independent can retain their seats in Ballina and Wagga respectively, then God may well save the Queen but nobody can save the Nats.
    It is usually Libs who put on a Horror show in NSW and Nats retain their base but this time it could be the Nats who may put on the horror show. As Anthony Green wrote that the election this time will be decided in regional and rural NSW. That is reason I am bit surprised that Gladys B is still not campaigning there.
    I have a feeling that Libs loss in Sydney metropolitan area will be minimum. As I posted earlier if a party does not win Parramatta and Penrith seats it will not win the majority in Assembly and ALP will not win those seats. However, if ALP can pull off victories like I posted above, it could look like a Steve Bracks first Victorian government (a minority government governing with Independents support)

  2. Hi Ven “If SFF (who regional NSW people seem to think as their BFF) ..”
    The vast majority of NSW Country people will never vote ALP nor Green when the Nats are on the nose and, unless there’s an outstanding Independent, will go SFF – eg the Orange and Wagga bi-elections.
    In any case the SFF only exist because of the NSW Greens/ALP excesses with gun control, anti-fishing policies and locking people out of national parks. The NSW ALP went way to far with the extreme gun laws in 1997 (egged on by Lee Rhiannon et al) , even after Barry the Unworthy was annihilated in 1988 trying to win on a gun control platform.

  3. Voting National is like that definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something different.
    Until country people realise that, it will be same, same for them. The death of a thousand cuts.

  4. I’d be banking on Labor picking up Penrith. Briggs has done little for the electorate – all his monuments have been built outside the electorate.

  5. Ven, don’t forget Goulburn. A high profile sitting member, Prue Goward, is retiring with a 6-7% margin with a complicated demographic of the richer Southern Highlands, farming communities and a regional centre. The SFF did not run there last time, but are having a go this time, whether they can draw more votes from the Coalition than Labor may decide that seat.

  6. Andrew_Earlwood says:
    Monday, March 11, 2019 at 10:43 am
    I’d be banking on Labor picking up Penrith. Briggs has done little for the electorate

    Who is Briggs? Stuart Ayres is the MP of Penrith & he is husband of federal Liberal Senator Marise Payne, our Foreign Minister.
    Ayres is a very high profile MP & Minister & the infrastructure is electorate has improved a lot during tenure

  7. Keyman says:
    Monday, March 11, 2019 at 10:35 am
    The NSW ALP went way to far with the extreme gun laws in 1997 (egged on by Lee Rhiannon et al)

    Didn’t NSW ALP won 1999 state elections in a landslide?

  8. Well, well, well. The momentum looks to be with Labor at the moment, and the the weight in the saddlebags that is the Federal government, coupled with ongoing angst in Sydney about unfinished infrastructure and angst in the regions about being forgotten about, it’s increasingly looking like a perfect storm.

  9. So, in my electorate of Balmain things are very different this election to last. I’ve met the Labor member 3 times on my way to work in the last two or three weeks but just one leaflet in the mail from the sitting Greens member, no doorknocking or handing out leaflets. However, unlike last time I have seen three billboards advertising the Greens or Jamie Parker. It appears the Greens have dispensed with any notion of “grassroots” campaigning and gone for a big spending campaign. Wonder how they’re money is coming from.

  10. Daley on ABC24 now;
    First time ive seen him since he took over, at the time i though he might be a bit dull, but he seems reasonably sharp right now.

  11. Ven and Shebell re: NSW 1999 massacre – My post is about why country people vote SFF today and the seeds were sown in 1988 but then the ALP went way to far with the 1997 laws anyway.
    I say so what the 1999 election results. Why?
    The 1997 gun laws took some time to bite. This came later on when you had to go through, not a renewal process, but a whole new licence application process every time. This tied up heaps of police resources as an added bonus, but for what? No other state did this to my knowledge (happy to be corrected).
    Anyway in 1999 the ALP picked up 5 LA seats and the coalition lost 14, so the ALP did not pick all the disaffected coalition votes by a long shot. SFF LC support has picked up steadily since especially in 2007, and this likely lead to more SFF candidates in the LA.

  12. Each week confirms that it’s tight, which IMO works better for the ALP. It would be nice to get a few more state wide polls.

    I’m not sure why the betting markets are improving for the L-NP? Ladbrokes (in the margin) is currently at evens, from having ALP slightly in front at the start of the campaign. I can’t see that it’s changed myself.

  13. Those figures are around the wrong way for Greens/Labor in Lismore William
    The Green vote has improved more than the Labor vote since last election in Lismore on these figures

  14. In the next twelve days, will there be even one NSW State Liberal MP asking Morrison to join them on the campaign trail?

    And will there be any Nationals asking McCormack, or Joyce for that matter?

  15. Thanks WB,

    I assume Ladbrokes are responding to the weight of money, which doesn’t necessarily have to align with the overall campaign.

    EDIT In relation to the movement in the overall result.

  16. shellbell

    Wasn’t he proclaimed to be the ‘secret weapon’ for East Hills in the Daily Telegraph last week.

    So secret that they have been hiding him from the State Election campaign!

  17. Shellbell, everything I’m hearing says the Greens are going to tank up that way, so their strength in the poll is a bit of a surprise. Since the sitting member is retiring and Labor needs a swing of all of 0.2%, they should probably have been favourites all along.

  18. TPP polling numbers must surely suffer because of votes in reality “exhausting” in optional preferential voting. Nevertheless if the TPP is ‘only’ 51-49 in favour of Labor, and the Coalition is getting hammered in the regions, that would seem to indicate there is much less swing in Sydney.

    I suppose part of the problem is regional voters being polled and saying they will vote SFF/Indie, and then being asked who they would preference of the majors – many if pushed would probably say “Coalition” rather than Labor, but then whether their vote would ever reach the Coalition or be ‘exhausted’ before then is the great unknown.

    I don’t imagine polling companies give people a third choice on that TPP question – as in “My vote will exhaust before it goes to eith the Coalition or Labor candidate”.

  19. WB

    We might be at cross-purposes.

    The poll is Lismore. My inquiry was re Ballina but maybe the same scenario applies.

  20. I am super annoyed with myself that I didn’t stop and talk to Asren Pugh the Labor candidate for Ballina whose van I saw parked in Bangalow when I drove through there a few weeks ago. At the time I had forgotten that the Greens had even won that seat in 2015. There are still plenty of anti-fracking signs on people’s fences and power-poles in that whole region, so I don’t think the issue has entirely disappeared from people’s minds.

    So when I saw Jana Stewart (Labor for Kooyong) talking to people, while I was driving through Kew Junction on Saturday I didn’t make the same mistake again (even if I had to run the gauntlet of many blue shirted Frydenberg people – their boss was not there though). In fact the number of Frydenberg people there to counter her previously-advertised ‘meet and greet’ does make you wonder if the Liberals are getting a bit concerned about losing that seat.

  21. Alp has an excellent chance in Penrith do not know about Parramatta there is a huge cross vote between state and federal figures. But alp will win most of the seats up to 3.2% if not all. I calculate there are another 20 seats that are competitive for the alp… and there are are 3 to 5 seats the nationals can lose to independents and sff…. eg alp has a chance in Goulburn Barwon and Bega and Bathurst

  22. Oh yeah, Ballina, sorry. The Nats-versus-Labor margin there was 3.0% and the Nationals aren’t losing a sitting member, so it’s the same scenario with a somewhat higher bar for Labor.

  23. The only reason Greens didn’t win Lismore last time was because of Labor prefs exhausting. Seems some Labor supporters were happier to see Nats back than anything else.
    Will see if it is the same for Lab voters this time. Lab seems very unlikely to get ahead on PV, Greens vote up more than Lab since last election in this poll. How happy would Lab be to see Nats back because of Lab votes or non-votes?
    If Labor do win, it will only be on the basis that Greens voters will give them more prefs than they could be bothered giving anyone else in the past.

  24. WB,
    From the header

    This can be gleaned from the fact that the Nationals primary vote is at 35%, compared with 42.5% in 2015, whereas Labor (28%, compared with 26.4%) and the Greens (27%, compared with 25.6%) are little changed. Quoll,

    I think the counts for the ALP and GRN have been transposed.

    If either ALP or GRN win Lismore (which seems likely according to this poll) they can thank the preferences of the other.

  25. Q,

    I already mentioned the Lab/Green transposition error
    Nats can only thank Lab voter pref exhaustion for saving them from being beaten by Greens last time

    Seems little chance Lab will get ahead of Greens on PV this time either, so far
    The whole CSG not an issue seems like some bullshit story that some have been telling themselves to convince themselves of something about the Greens vote, who don’t know or understand the electorates and various candidates

  26. Apologies for not absorbing that and giving you credit Quoll,
    I noticed the transposition after reading your 1:29, and then re-reading the heading.

    EDIT: I have no idea about the effect of CSG on Lismore, we shall soon see.

  27. Labor winning means for me the cancellation of the Sydenham to Bankstown Metro
    I really want to understand why Labor is so dead against it – it will be a fantastic development for this socially disadvantaged Labor heartland.
    It’s painful for me to watch because I know how amazing this project will be for this area.

    I am a Canterbury resident.

  28. Is NSW ALP featuring Morrison, Dutton and Abbott in its ads, like they did in Victoria?
    A picture of that group is worth a thousand (swear) words.

  29. “Who is Briggs?”

    Sorry. For some reason whenever I see Stuart Ayres face all I see is Jamie Briggs’ shit eating grin. I’m not sure why that is …

  30. Labor is against the downgrade of Bankstown railway to low capacity metro because they have listened to the local residents who rely on public transport.

    Spending billions of dollars to reduce the capacity of the Bankstown railway line is amazingly stupid.

  31. sorry ignore my previous comment – i misread your statement

    I don’t think its a downgrade – its definitely an upgrade with an upgrade of all stations, AND more important a 4 and 7 minute recurring service

    Watson Watch @ #34 Monday, March 11th, 2019 – 3:52 pm

    Labor is against the downgrade of Bankstown railway to low capacity metro because they have listened to the local residents who rely on public transport.

    Spending billions of dollars to reduce the capacity of the Bankstown railway line is amazingly stupid.

  32. And it’s not just the Bankstown line that will lose out, there are extra services planned for Inner West, Airport and Illawarra lines which depend on using the capacity freed up by the Metro conversion – those services are needed given the current ~4-5% patronage growth!

    Labor will have to deal with widespread political pain around the time of the 2023 election if they win and go ahead with the cancellation – unless they come up with an alternate plan quickly!

  33. Reducing the capacity of the Bankstown railway line by 33% to make minor increases in capacity on other line is the stupidest transport planning policy I have ever heard.

    If the downgrade goes ahead, one-third of the current passengers on the Bankstown line will need to find their way to either the inner west line or the East Hills line. The net impact is up to two hours extra travelling per day for one-third of the people who currently use the Bankstown line.

  34. Probably not worth getting into it, but FYI Metro will increase capacity, not decrease it.

    Day 1 capacity will be 50% higher than today, and longer term it can go much higher again (a further 250%).

    As it stands, the trains are crowded and there is no way to add more services.

    Like I said, there will be pain in 2023 if current patronage growth keeps up and there is no easy way to increase service level across T2, T3, T4 and T8 which is the likely scenario if Metro is cancelled.

  35. “I don’t think its a downgrade”

    The threatened metro is a reduction in capacity.
    Their glossy brochures claim that there will be 15,000 seats from Bankstown to the city in the three hour morning peak period.

    There are currently 25 eight car double deck trains from Bankstown to the city between 6am and 9am Monday to Friday. Each of these trains have 900 or slightly more seats.
    25 x 900 = 22500.
    The claimed 15000 on the metro is a 33% reduction in the current capacity.
    They claim that here will be a metro service every 10 minutes in day time off peak.
    There are currently 6 double deck trains in each direction during day time off peak.
    Therefore, off peak is same frequency as now but reduced capacity.

    The claimed upgrade to all stations refers to lifts at stations. The previous Labor government completed these at Bankstown, Lakemba, Belmore, and Campsie stations.
    Labor have committed to upgrade all of the stations on the Bankstown line and retain the high capacity trains.

    Gladys and her colleagues refuse to listen to people who are impacted by their plans.

  36. The metro is accompanied by increased density along it’s route…… the trains will have no drivers this sends alarm bells ringing about safety and destroys jobs. already there are not enough staff on rail way stations and the opal system is not intergrated with the transport system.
    Aso just past Bankstown station there are no lifts at Yagoona or Chester Hill stations

  37. NSW Treasurer Perrotet ‘under fire’ for failing to declare donation (in 2011?) from law firm he used to work for and now receives big government contracts.

    Ch 10 news leading item.

    Also a SFF advert during the news. (Living in Canberra, we get NSW regional TV coverage.)

  38. As I understand it, Labor will retain the lidcombe to Sydenham rail line as a dedicated, stand alone heavy rail link. It will terminate at Sydenham, but that station will be upgraded so that you’ll be able to walk off one service and onto another (ie. the metro). This will require a fair amount of re-engineering, especially how it may impact on Railway Parade, Sydenham but the upshot will be that lidcombe to Sydenham will operate as a shuttle service and because it is a stand alone rail line it will be able to operate services every 5 minutes during peak hour. As an added bonus, train services between Bankstown and Lidcombe will be retained.

    There are three reasons why Labor are not planning on going ahead with the metro extension to Bankstown. One the loss of rail services past Bankstown on that line. Two, the unsuitability of the rail line and stations beyond Sydenham for metro services. Whilst the government has spruiked ‘platform lift’ technology as a fix, that is likely to slow down the whole metro all the way to Rouse Hill. Lastly, cost. The upgrades to make the metro work past Bankstown are not worth the cost.

    BTW, labor’s plan will still see the freeing up of the city circle line for the expansion of other services.

  39. A brief report from the hustings.

    I spent an hour after work handing out for Labor at pre-poll (NSW).

    Very few voters at this stage, and mostly progressive I would say, given that they had big smiles for the three of us there handing out, and politely took one of each of our HTVs, and then brought them back for recycling. One out of area voter was an exception – a bit disapproving, and saying she needed no help, she knew exactly who she was voting for.

    The other two people handing out were there all day, and were the candidates themselves. Really lovely people, and we had an enormous amount in common.

    So, I handed out with alongside the Greens candidate and the Animal Justice Party candidate.

    It was great to be reminded that while the progressive side of politics does not agree on everything, but we are all working towards the same goals. It gives me hope a more progressive Australia is just around the corner.

    The Liberals did not bother – obviously running dead in what they have decided is a safe Labor seat, despite demographic change that favours them.

  40. Peg,

    I was going to post this anyway, but just saw your post above. I listened to 2BL (ABC local radio?) in the car on the way beck from the hustings, and Richard Glover had the SFF member for Barwon as part of his pollies forum.

    He was surprisingly well spoken, and did not mention guns at all, but rather the mismanagement of water supply / rivers in the country, the fact that local country hospitals are now just first aid stations, and that life expectancy over the last few years has gone down in the country, while it has risen in Sydney.

    I loathe guns in all their forms, and am a pacifist, but would rather the Barwon SFF party candidate to whoever the nationals are putting up.

    Colour me very surprised!

    On the other hand, we do not want US-style NRA politics in this country, in any shape or form.

  41. In the last 40 years the NSW Electorate has changed governments in these years by my reckoning 2011, 1995, 1988, 1976…you can bet your bottom $ the unemployment rate was never 3.9% in any of those years.

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