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. Fess,

    Ch9 will have WB 🙂

    The TV promotions used a photo with Green pretending to adjust his cufflinks in a very “lets get down to business” way. Wish I could find it.

  2. Unfortunately with the SFF Party it is not just the gun laws that they want to weaken; all the marine sanctuaries are at risk as well; and how they will attempt to shift & modify the MDB Plan is anyone’s guess.

  3. @CorruptNSW Twitter:

    @NSWElectoralCom @smh @nswpolice @abcnews @hughriminton Is this how a liberal candidate for #Granville behaves illegally taking down @NSWLabor posters &threatening my daughter for filming him #nswpol #auspol #lnpfail #nswelections #nswvotes #NSWVotes2019

  4. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to tonight’s count and commentary – not sure what channel to watch though, so will probably channel surf for some time.

  5. Channel 7 though – i don’t think i will ba able to take much if any of their panel’s commentary.
    What a god awful batch. Who cooked that up?

  6. <p.Rocket Rocket says:
    Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 2:11 pm
    Berejiklian – “Strong and stable government”

    This seems to be a fixation with RW governments. Perhaps they mean their government is strongly smelling, like a stable.

  7. Finished my stint in the war room. Stories to tell in due course. Some further clarification on previous posts. Bathurst not in play, apparently. Divided views as to whether Seven Hills and Heathcote are in play. Ditto Monaro (which I still find hard to believe). Bega not even on the radar, which against I find hard to believe.

    Northern Rivers is a three way crap shoot: Nats could even win back Ballina. SFF looking good in Barwon and are a prospect still in Murray. All up, Labor seems to have 8 definite LNP seats to still make a play for, with another 3-4 in play for the minors. Plus the “don’t knows” like Seven Hills etc.

    Could go down to the wire, but the best guess is that the Government will be returned and we will know tonight.

    That said, this is an election like no other and is next to impossible to read (said a group of people with over 200 years of actual campaign experience between them). The vibe from the booth captains is that there seems to be a quiet and firm resolve amongst punters turning up to vote: folk rarely taking more than one HTV, often Labor’s: it’s like they have decided to vote against Gladys but really don’t want to talk about it – just get it done. As someone senior remarked, “it feels like 1996”. A definite odd feel about this one – not long to go now, of course.

  8. Hopeful about Bryce Wilson’s chances in Monaro.
    He’s a quality candidate and a quality bloke. ALP to his bootstraps.
    He was a handy cricketer, too. I had the pleasure of playing alongside him for several seasons in the Wagga comp.
    Don’t know whether Barilaro’s profile will be enough to save his skin in what’s shaping up to be a bad night for the Nats.

  9. “No Greens volunteers or posters at our polling station although there is a Green on small ballot paper”

    The only booth that the Greens seem to be dedicated to staffing reliably today in Balmain is Leichhardt Town Hall. Parker is too far ahead on primary votes and there is no reason for liberals to NOT exhaust their votes to make a difference, apparently.

  10. Went to vote in the Strathfield electorate. Only had two Lib volunteers handing out HTV and around 4-6 Labor Volunteers handing out HTV and spread out, couple were Asian. This was at the entrance I entered from. If they were worried about Strathfield it didn’t show. The Greens had no volunteer, just a box on the fence with HTV…unless ofcoz they were on a bathroom break. Its really was amazing how low key Strathfield was in terms of election material.

  11. “Returned as in returned with a majority? Or as a minority but able to win support from the crossbench?”

    See my best guess early this morning (Libs with 45-46 seats) and moderate’s prediction of 47-48. In other words, either a bare majority (moderate) or so close to a majority (me) that with one or two conservative independents there is an easy pathway for Gladys.

    It’s interesting in that if the libs lose one more seat to minors and Labor flips just 1 more seat than my earlier prediction (so a 44-41 result) then government is in play. If Labor flips two more (43-42) it will probably form government and if it flips 3 (42-43), there is no real pathway for Gladys. If the minors pick up a net 3 (so a cross bench of 10) and Labor picks up 6-8 then again, Labor probably wins. Honestly – there are many permatations.

  12. I don’t think Sportsbet has moved since last night (Coalition 1.38, Labor 3.00).

    They’re still advertising the odd so I presume they haven’t closed the books.

    If the Coalition were looking a certainty, you might think punters with a bit of information would be be laying money on the favourite.

  13. The libs/nats combined primary vote is struggling to hit over 40% if that the case no majority or minority government for the libs/nats

  14. If the traditional pollsters have underestimated the Labor vote again (like Victoria, Longman) you’ll see Federal Libs going out of high windows.

  15. Booleanbach – agree the SFF is an extraordinary saviour but these are extraordinary times. Barwon and Murray are the forgotten middle children of the MDP (as is the federal electorate of Farrer, which used to encompass most of both). Locals in some parts are struggling for survival and can’t see past immediate needs, especially those relying on donated bottled water…

  16. My (non-insider)Predictions:
    ALP Minority government.
    Limited and patchy swings in Sydney but enough to give ALP Coogee, Penrith and probably East Hills.
    In the country the ALP to gain Lismore (it could go Green, but makes little difference) and Goulburn (which now takes in parts of the old Burrinjuck so has more potential for the ALP than people realise). This is already -5 for LNP.
    Then there are 3 highly marginal NP seats of Tweed, Upper Hunter & Monaro. My guess is that they will lose Tweed and retain the other two, but on probabilities that’s at least another seat lost. So -6.
    Then there are the potential bolters: Bega, Bathurst, Kiama, South Coast, Coffs Harbour (pro ALP Ind), Heathcote, Holsworthy, Seven Hills. LNP will need a bit of luck not to lose at least one of these. So -7.
    Finally there are the Shooters, who will almost certainly back the ALP for govt (Just look at the anti- LNP venom on their twitter feed). I don’t think they have a show in Murray but Barwon looks likely. Now -8.
    None of the current crossbench will support the LNP. If they are just one seat down, then yes for stability, but more than that.. no chance.
    I also think Ind will gain Dubbo and Wollondilly but since both these Inds are conservative, they will support the LNP to form govt. ALP to retain all its seats with Strathfield the only one in any danger at all. Shooters in some danger of losing Orange if ALP preferences don’t stick in the more urbanised parts of the seat, especially after NZ this could be an issue.
    ALP 40, GRN 3, Ind 5, SFF 2, LNP 43. Of the 10 potential crossbenchers here only 2 (Dubbo and Wollondilly) will support LNP. So they have 45 seats to form govt and are likely to come up a couple short on my reckoning.

  17. Without retracting anything Ive posted this afternoon (in a nutshell likely win to the Government), this appears to be a possible pathway for Labor:

    1. Labor holds everything it has (noting the nerves in Strathfield);

    2. Labor wins Ballina off the Greens (it seems that the Greens MP is out of it and the Nationals hold an edge over Labor);

    3. Greens pick up Tweed;

    4. Shooters pick up Barwon (a good outside chance in Murray as well);

    5. Matthew Dickerson picks up Dubbo (our polling had the Nat at 44% Tuesday week ago, but since then Dickerson has gone all out after the Nats and if he can get the Nats down a few points on primaries then the preferences from Labor, SFF and Greens should get Dickerson across the line);

    6. Labor picks up all of:

    Coogee (likely)
    Upper Hunter (likely)
    Goulburn (likely)
    East Hills (close put Labor still favoured)
    Penrith (line ball)
    Monaro (something is odd there with what I was picking up in the war room)

    AND there is a Labor boilover in Any or all of Heathcote (genuinely close), Lismore and Seven Hills (Labor was at 44% on our internal poll completed 11 days ago – which was before there was another 5-6 days of positive campaigning but before the 5-6 days of crap this week).

  18. Greens to pick up Tweed is a big call – their primary vote last time was 13.3% and Labor’s was 35.9%. It’s similar to Lismore and Ballina but it’s not that similar. I’m thinking Labor will pick up Tweed.

  19. “Greens to pick up Tweed is a big call – their primary vote last time was 13.3% and Labor’s was 35.9%. It’s similar to Lismore and Ballina but it’s not that similar. I’m thinking Labor will pick up Tweed.”

    Sorry. I think you may be right. Mixed up those seats

  20. “The most objective data goes into a sealed box”

    Fair point. I meant – most objective data that Labor has until those sealed boxes are opened after 6pm tonight.

  21. In recent Years , Vic seems to produce the Most surprising events… ALP win in 1999, LIb win in 2010, ALP landslide in 2018!, although the Alp’s win in QLd in 2015??? runs them close! With no “objective’ data, I’m hoping for a big surprise in NSW.
    BTW, I think volunteers’ impressions at handing out HTV are the least reliable indicators! I speak from many years of disappointments.

  22. Obviously NSW will pay a massive price in corruption, privatisation and general incompetence, but from WA I hope the LNP does get reelected. If Labor sneaks in, or does some dumb deal to form a doomed to failure minority Govt it might help ScoMo.

  23. I think Labor can win Tweed, the Nat member has a strong team but federally this is ALP territory now. There is a major controversy over building a new hospital on prime agricultural land. It’s an issue a bit like the stadiums in Sydney. The ALP candidate is the husband of the sitting ALP federal member both ex cops. I rate the chances as above 70% for a ALP gain. The Nat’s or the greens could win, anything is possible.

  24. Just got back from voting in Strathfield – Jodie McKay was there handing out HTVs

    As I came out I said to her – and this is the truth – every person I passed coming out (they were on their way in) were clutching ALP HTVs. Admittedly they were mostly young and Asian extraction because this part of the seat is predominantly that – and culturally, most Asians are more interested in education for their kids, transport and hospitals than stadia.

    I hope my anecdotal experience is repeated across the electorate!

  25. The greens picked up Ballina last time because Labor was still on the nose, but now it is the Greens with bigger issues. North coast seats are most likely headed to the ALP in my estimation.

  26. Isn’t he a gentleman – nothing to do with being unwelcome in the NSW campaign?

    Prime Minister leaves Berejiklian to it
    NSW Election: PM casts his vote with the Liberal Premier nowhere in sight, while man’s death forces polling booth closure.(Oz headline)

  27. WWP – It will be interesting to see, if there is a Liberal State Govt and a Labor Govt in Canberra what the Feds do about public transport etc in Sydney. I suspect Albanese will have some very different ideas to Gladys and will be very clear about his priorities.

  28. WWP – It will be interesting to see, if there is a Liberal State Govt and a Labor Govt in Canberra what the Feds do about public transport etc in Sydney. I suspect Albanese will have some very different ideas to Gladys and will be very clear about his priorities.

    Based on my limited experience travelling while all Australian cities would benefit from a better broader public transport system, none of the cities need it as desperately as Sydney.

  29. “Very interesting early read on the likely outcome of the NSW election from our exclusive Nine Galaxy exit poll. Full details coming up in our election coverage kicking off at 5pm. #NSWVotes” – deborah knight (twitter)

    She could have at least added a “wow” for some extra drama.

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