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.
• 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).