Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition in New South Wales

Slight movement in favour of the Coalition in the final New South Wales state election Newspoll, with Michael Daley’s late campaign troubles making their presence felt on personal ratings. Also featured: voluminous reading on the Electoral Commission’s plans for the count, and some late mail on where the parties believe things stand.

The final Newspoll of the New South Wales state election campaign, published in the Australian, has the Coalition leading 51-49 on two-party preferred, compared with 50-50 in the last such poll a fortnight ago. On the primary vote, the Coalition is up one to 41%, Labor is down one to 35% and the Greens are steady on 10%. On personal ratings, Gladys Berejiklian is down one on approval to 43% and up four on disapproval to 42%; Michael Daley has taken a rather big hit, being down five on approval to 32% and up nine on disapproval to 47%; and Berejiklian’s lead as preferred premier is 43-35, compared with 41-34 last time.

Breakdowns are provided for Sydney and the rest of New South Wales. In Sydney, the Coalition leads 52-48, which compares with 54.3-45.7 in 2015, from primary votes of Coalition 43%, Labor 36% and Greens 18. In keeping with expectations, a bigger swing is recorded in the rest of New South Wales, with two-party preferred at 50-50, compared with 54.4-45.6 to the Coalition last time, from primary votes of Coalition 39%, Labor 34% and Greens 9%. The poll was conducted Tuesday to Thursday from a bumper sample of 2518.

Administrative affairs:

• I’m afraid I won’t be able to make good on my earlier promise to run an election results facility. The New South Wales Electoral Commission is unusual in putting its media feed behind a security wall, and I haven’t been able to gain the permissions required to access it. To be honest, it probably wouldn’t have worked very well even if I had – optional preferential voting and enormous changes between the polling booths from the last election to this have added extra layers of complexity. None of these issues will apply at the federal election, which is actually quite a lot easier to do than a state election.

• I am currently in Sydney doing behind-the-scenes work on the Nine Network’s election night coverage. At this stage I have no idea what this will mean for what I will be able to provide in terms of live blogging tonight – it may mean I have inside dope to relate, or it may mean I will be too busy to do anything. At a bare minimum there will be a thread available where you are all invited to exchange information and generally discuss the results.

Some details about the Electoral Commission’s plans for the count:

• We will not be privy to as much counting of pre-poll results on election night as we have lately grown accustomed. All we are promised is incomplete progress counts of the primary vote from pre-poll voting centres, which will presumably posted quite late on the night. That means no pre-poll results on two-party preferred, which could well leave us hanging in more seats than usual at the end of the night. Some postals will be counted on the night – I can’t tell you if this will just be primary votes or if it will include two-party totals as well.

• The Legislative Council count on the night will be unusual, in that the only things that are specifically being tallied are above-the-line votes for the Coalition, Labor, the Greens, Shooters, the Christian Democrats, Animal Justice and One Nation. Beyond that, an “others” total will be published that will include above-the-line votes for everyone else, and below-the-line votes for all and sundry (including votes that will prove, on closer inspection, to be informal). Among other things, this means those of you hanging on the electoral prospects of David Leyonhjelm will go to bed disappointed.

• The Electoral Commission encountered technical difficulties last week with its pre-polling, with outages in the system with which it marks off those who have voted leading to “long delays and even temporary closures of some pre-poll booths”, as reported by The Guardian. The commission’s initial projection was that a little over 1 million votes would be counted at pre-poll voting centres – hard data on the number of votes cast does not appear to be available on its website, but it was reported that 670,998 such votes had been cast as of the close of business on Wednesday. I couldn’t tell you at this late hour if these means they were running below expectations.

• Trouble too with the commission’s iVote facility, which has been providing many prospective voters with error messages. The service allows the disabled, sick or those outside New South Wales to vote online or by phone. Nonetheless, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that 82% of the 227,521 who had registered had voted as of last night.

Horse race latest:

• The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that “both major parties have struggled with phone polling in Murray and Barwon”, the two seats Shooters Fishers and Farmers hopes to gain from the Nationals to complement Orange, wbich it won from the Nationals at a by-election in November 2016. However, “internal research” by Shooters Fishers and Farmers suggested it should retain Orange, and left it “confident” of winning Barwon.

• The Sydney Morning Herald today cites a Liberal source saying there will be nothing in it in Penrith, East Hills and Goulburn, but that they will probably lose Coogee. A Labor source expresses confidence about both Coogee and East Hills. Two Nationals sources are cited offering varying perspectives on Barwon, Lismore, Murray and Tweed, with one sounding optimistic about Tweed and Lismore, but the other sounding pessimistic about Lismore. Ballina is rated “anyone’s guess”.

• Here’s my paywalled account of the situation in Crikey, the upshot of which is that Labor is more likely to outperform expectations than the Coalition. A number of the same points are made by Tim Colebatch in the Sydney Morning Herald (probably also paywalled).

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.

217 comments on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition in New South Wales”

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  1. Berejiklian: Satisfied 43, Dissatisfied 42
    Daley: Satisfied 32, Dissatisfied 47

    Better Premier: Berejikilian 43, Daley 35

    Sydney 2PP 52/48 to Coalition (Coalition 43, Labor 36, Greens 10)
    Rest of NSW 2PP 50/50 (Coalition 39, Labor 34, Greens 9, Others 18)

    March 19-21, 2518 sample

  2. The Sydney 2PP at the last election was 54.3/45.7 to Coalition and the Rest of NSW 2PP was 54.4/45.6 to the Coaltion

  3. How often is it that the Rest of NSW 2PP is better for Labor than the Sydney one? I know Woolongong and Newcastle are very safely Labor (apart from 2011) but still it’s a crazy result.

  4. Chaisa,

    Rural demographics are changing. Viz, Northern Rivers, Central Coast, Far South Coast, even big inland centres. It is such a fraction of the state’s total population that it will change quicker than suburban seats.

  5. Chaisa @ #6 Friday, March 22nd, 2019 – 8:47 pm

    How often is it that the Rest of NSW 2PP is better for Labor than the Sydney one? I know Woolongong and Newcastle are very safely Labor (apart from 2011) but still it’s a crazy result.

    The racist comment would hit harder in Sydney than in regional NSW, I would think.

  6. Polling for Victorian election was out. And Queensland election with Campbell Newman had him winning only for him to lose because preferences flowed better to labor. I’m thinking same will happen on Saturday.

  7. Oh, there it is, Newspoll is predicting a win for the Coalition in NSW.
    So, the only thing left to keep hope high is that they are misjudging the flow of preferences… which is possible in a volatile environment.
    … And now we can only wait for the counting of the votes, further speculation is futile….

  8. Hard to argue Daley had an appalling last week- what was Labor’s strategy for the last week? What was the message? There are so many angry voters in NSW, but Labor barely tapped into that this week…one that got away I suspect.

  9. The Australian reports finally at 10.30pm. They say its a 3.3% swing since the 2015 election, the Coalition’s best Newspoll in two years but if its uniform will lose six seats and slip into minority government. Berejiklian will need one independent from a 9 to 10 cross bench to form government.

  10. Preference flows will be crucial.

    My fear is that the greens flows will be weaker on account of the Asian immigration comments.

    That said, this is all within margin of error. This could be anything from a Coalition majority to a workable Labor minority.

    That said, I’d put the latter at a 30% probability.

  11. It’s interesting that the report in The Australian opines that Mr Barilaro is expected to hold Monaro. That would surprise me a little. The biggest population centre is Queanbeyan, and a lot of Queanbeyan residents now are people who work in and probably identify with Canberra just across the border, where the coalition is especially on the nose. And some of them who might be prepared at a pinch to vote for a Liberal would be even more put off by the fact that the local coalition candidate is a National. The margin in the seat is pretty small, and it will be one to watch.

  12. Note that more than 1 million people in NSW have voted prepoll, and it’s not clear from the story in The Australian how this might or might not have been factored into their figures.

  13. “My fear is that the greens flows will be weaker on account of the Asian immigration comments.”…
    Thinking that the Greens will put the Liberals before Labor in their preferences because of the Asian immigrants manufactured brouhaha is total nonsense.

  14. @Alpo

    The fear may be that Green voters will exhaust more of their votes thereby hurting Labor against Liberals.

    AFAIK Greens are preferencing Labor in more seats than in 2015. ALP has done well on preferences from micro parties as well. Hard to tell if it will be enough to make a difference though.

  15. Yes, the ideological purists aren’t known for their pragmatism, an increase in greens preference exhaustion is now certainly a risk, whatever the how to vote cards say.

  16. I still think Green voters will improve their flow of preferences to ALP over 2015. Climate seems like a bigger issue compared to 2015 and Gladys had a number of policies/rhetoric over issues that may turn Green voters off her like lock outs, festival restrictions and general attitude towards younger voters.

    Might be grasping at straws here but I also wonder what type of people respond to opinion polling and whether they may be more likely to be politically oriented and therefore likely to be influenced by news reporting.

    It would be great if polling results were released for different age groups.

  17. Also if it is based off 2015 flows, with such a high “others” number, surely it’s unlikely to be accurate.

    For example, Keep Sydney Open is a left-leaning “other” which will have a much higher preference flow to Labor than the “others” from 2015. And they are likely to poll reasonably in certain Sydney seats.

  18. I would love to see Newspoll misjudge preferences or primaries because it may mean they have misjudged Federally too.

  19. A bit of pre-election cheer 🙂

    All things dull and ugly,
    All creatures short and squat,
    All things rude and nasty,
    The Lord God made the lot.
    Each little snake that poisons,
    Each little wasp that stings,
    He made their brutish venom.
    He made their horrid wings.
    All things sick and cancerous,
    All evil great and small,
    All things foul and dangerous,
    The Lord God made them all.
    Each nasty little hornet,
    Each beastly little squid
    Who made the spikey urchin?
    Who made the sharks? He did!
    All things scabbed and ulcerous,
    All pox both great and small,
    Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    -Monty Python

  20. Whilst st first glance this looks bad for labor and a winner for the government, drill a bit further and I’m not so sure. It definitely reflects a trend back to the government but even with the week from hell Daley not that far behind compared to opposition leaders generally in preferred premier stakes. Significantly the Premier is liked as much as she isn’t. The primary vote for the coalition in the regions looks lineball for retaining several seats and Sydney looks like just enough. TPP difficult in an OPV environment and not sure how Newspoll adjusts for this. Throw in many prepolls by the start of the week and a back to normal campaign today and anything is possible.

  21. A 4-5% swing in the regions means there will be some significant swings in 30 or so non-metro seats tomorrow.

    In 1999, the Kennett Govt lost 13 seats on a swing of 3.7% — all concentrated on a large shift in rural and regional Victoria.

    A swing of 3.3% in NSW, when regionally focused, will deliver unexpected results.

  22. The best hope for Labor on this poll is that the regional swing of 4.4% masks flatlining or even a decrease in support in the Hunter / Central Coast after the ICAC induced surge in 2015, this being offset by higher swings in the true country seats.

  23. The libs/ nats combined primary vote ends up at 39 % , the will be change of government , it will be known around 8pm tonight

  24. Unitary State — I’d believe that when I see it. Gladys may get a narrow majority but defending every seat against a 4% swing in the bush and 2% swing in Sydney is fanciful imo.

  25. We should find out today the narrative not only for NSW but also with much anticipation, the narrative for the upcoming Federal election.
    Politicians like to make a claim to be the catalyst that bring us all together, however today will probably narrate a tribalism that continues to display the great divide(s).
    Australians wrap themselves in the foreign colours of our flag and think of so many different things. Today will display that reality.

  26. @calumnious fox

    Considering they will likely hold east hills easily and are in the box seat to pick up Granville, I don’t think it is so fanciful

  27. What possible reason could you have for thinking the Liberals are in the box seat to pick up Granville? Labor is sitting on a 2.1% margin, will receive a sophomore swing and polling shows a small 2% swing TO Labor in Sydney? (Edit: And, Labor are top of the ballot with the donkey vote and Liberals literally last.) Am I feeding a troll here?

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