New South Wales election minus two days

Michael Daley’s debate stumbles and controversial take on immigration give the Liberals an opening, as campaign reportage gets flooded with the purported findings of party internal polling.

The final week of the New South Wales campaign has been marked by a turn in the media narrative, with a barrage of negative headlines for Michael Daley dispelling an earlier consensus that “momentum” rested with Labor. This morning’s reports mostly relate to stumbles over education policy during the Sky News leaders forum in Penrith last night, which ended with 50 of the assembled “undecided voters” (one of whom turns out to have been an Australian Conservatives election candidate) rating themselves more likely to vote Coalition, compared with 25 for Labor and 25 uncommitted.

However, the main headline spinner over the past few days has been the emergence of video of Daley addressing a forum in the Blue Mountains last September, in which he expressed concern about the impact of Asian immigration on the employment and housing markets. To identify where this is most likely to cause Labor trouble, the table below shows the top ten electorates for Chinese ancestry, as identified in the 2016 census. The only seat here that might be described as a Labor target is Oatley, although it has not much featured in discussion of seats that are likely to fall its way. However, Labor appears to have been thrown on the defensive in Kogarah, held by widely touted leadership prospect Chris Minns, and Strathfield, which Jodi McKay narrowly succeeded in gaining for Labor in 2015.

Chinese ancestry Margin
Kogarah 32.8% Labor 6.9%
Ryde 28.2% Liberal 11.5%
Epping 26.4% Liberal 16.2%
Strathfield 25.8% Labor 1.8%
Heffron 22.6% Labor 14.1%
Auburn 20.6% Labor 5.9%
Willoughby 20.2% Liberal 23.8%
Parramatta 19.3% Liberal 12.9%
Oatley 19.2% Liberal 6.6%
Baulkham Hills 18.3% Liberal 21.8%

Minns took to Chinese social media forum WeChat on Tuesday to distance himself from Daley’s comments, as the Liberals turned the screws by spruiking internal polling with his primary vote at 32.4%, dangerously down on the 45.4% he recorded in 2015. Multiple reports have said the poll showed a 7% swing away from Labor, although there is some confusion as to whether this is from the base of the 2015 election result, in which case the seat would go down to the wire, or if it reflects the immediate effect of the story breaking. The polling is said to have been conducted on Tuesday evening from a sample of 400, with a margin of error of 5%. The Liberals have followed this today by telling the Daily Telegraph that further polling shows it with a primary vote lead of 42.6% to 34.3% in Strathfield.

Not all the party polling chatter over the past 24 hours has been bad for Labor: a Liberal source acknowledged to the Daily Telegraph yesterday that the party still did not expect to win Kogarah; Nine News reported last night that the furore had had no impact in “marginal seats Mr Daley needs to win”; and Seven News reported the Coalition had “grown more worried about the seat of Goulburn following a steady decline in polling numbers”. Andrew Clennell of The Australian today offers that the Liberals could be looking at four losses on top of five for the Nationals, sufficient to cost the government its majority. However, the ship is said to have been steadied in Heathcote, which the Liberals have targeted with intensive campaigning after being spooked by the results of polling conducted last week.

Before the turn in the media mood had fully unfolded, I took part in a podcast with Ben Raue of The Tally Room on Monday, together with social researcher Rebecca Huntley, which you can hear below.

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.

156 comments on “New South Wales election minus two days”

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  1. “The Greens would demand billions of dollars of taxpayer money be spent on renewable energy projects as part of their price for Labor taking power in NSW if a minority government becomes an option for Michael Daley after tomorrow’s election …

    The Greens have ruled out backing the Coalition.”

    So when Labor tells the Greens to go fuck themselves if they think that Labor will extend itself one inch beyond its own costed energy policies (and timetable), then the Greens will be back to that ole’ philosophical conundrum: ‘Is ‘good’ the true enemy of ‘perfect’ … Big call.

  2. “I will get off the fence , predicting the libs/nats combined primary vote will be under 40%

    I think history is going to repeat anna palaszczuk ,Daniel Andrews made blunders days before the election

    The media had opinion polls out on Election day 52-48 to the libs/nats

    and Labor won both of those election , like in QLD first term , Labor will get close a majority (short by2 seats) but end up in a in a minority”

    The problem with the published polls in QLD in 2015 election which they gave the LNP a 52 – 48 lead were they were using preference flows based on 2012 election result. The 2012 election was an aberration and were not a realistic measuring tool to measure the polling which is why it was incorrectly skewed to the LNP. It’s why you need to be careful comparing elections because the circumstances can be different.

    I only remembered polls had Andrews government level pegging or slightly ahead of the Liberals in 2018 election. I don’t remember them behind 52-48 to the Liberals during the election.

  3. There’s a lot of people paying a lot of attention to odds on Sportsbet, Ladbrokes, BetEasy etc. The most important thing to note is this: the bookies are in it to make money and when they set their odds, they ain’t guessing. The biggest influence on odds is where their ‘professional’ customers put their money. If some mug punter puts $1000 on a candidate, it will marginally impact on the odds whereas the investment of a relatively modest amount of money by a punter who has a record of usually getting it right has a far greater impact. That’s precisely why, for example, the odds for an Independent victory in Dubbo and Tamworth shortened dramatically in the space of a few days last week. It’s why, in contrast, the odds haven’t shifted much in Barwon despite – I am reliably informed – a massive amount of money being put on SFF. Put simply, it’s WHO you are, not HOW MUCH you lay down that influences the bookies. The suggestion in one post earlier today that people place bets on their mates to shorten the odds is, with respect, rubbish.

  4. If lots of money is placed on a candidate but not so much on any of their opponents, particularly a candidate with a larger payout, not reducing the odds increases the risk of the bookmaker loosing money. It is simple mathematics, for example: If someone bets $1,000 at 2:1, then the bookmaker risks loosing money, unless there is $2,000 of bets on other candidates to win. Candidates the bookmakers don`t expect to win can have quite substantial odds, so large amounts bet get massive payout totals and thus these candidates are most likely to get their odds reduced due to large bet amounts (whoever is betting).

  5. I’m not convinced the ABC’s election analyst, Antony Green, has got the correct assessment for the seat of Dubbo on tonight’s news when he claimed the National’s candidate will win. At close of counting last night the National’s candidate had a 2PP vote of 50.6 with 64.0% of votes counted ….. and at close of counting today the figures are 50.3 and 66.4%.

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