New South Wales election: late counting

A regularly updated post following the progress of late counting for the New South Wales state election.

Click here for full NSW election results updated live.

Tuesday morning

Before dealing with the business at hand, you can hear more of my thoughts on the result in discussion with Ben Raue on his podast at his Tally Room website, and in an article for Crikey if you’re a subscriber.

Yesterday’s counting made Labor’s win look rather less emphatic, to the extent that Antony Green – going here off “inside information” – expects them to win no more than 46 seats, placing them one short of a majority. My projections still have Labor ahead in Terrigal and Holsworthy, but the Liberals have hit the lead on the raw count in the former case and remain ahead in the latter, and Antony’s sources evidently have reason to believe they will stay there. What follows is a summary of yesterday’s progress in doubtful seats, which I’ll define here a little more tightly than I do in my results summary, starting with the aforementioned two seats and then proceeding alphabetically.

Terrigal. The Liberals went from 556 behind on the two-party count to 87 ahead after three pre-poll centres broke their way by 5969-5154 and the first postals did so by 350-208. Whereas election day votes swung 13.8% to Labor, so far pre-polls have done so by 11.5% and postals by 10.8%; further, the number of formal election day votes was down from 30,625 to 27,560. My system continues to credit Labor with a lead based on the swing from the votes that are actually in, but if it’s indeed the case that the outstanding votes underperform that, the projected lead is unlikely to hold. On the other hand, Labor performed well above par on absents in 2019 (a Liberal TPP margin of 4.3% as compared with 12.3% across the electorate as a whole), likely to number about 3000, which I would have thought held out hope for them. The Woy Woy pre-poll is still to report – Labor did 3% better there on two-party preferred in 2019 than the pre-polls that have reported so far, but it’s actually located in neighbouring Gosford and the NSWEC’s pre-election estimate was that it would handle a fairly modest 1760 votes. The problem for Labor would appear to be that the number of postals has more than doubled from the last election — another 3000 of those continuing to break nearly 63-37 to the Liberals would boost them by 750.

Holsworthy. The Liberals lead here by 0.7% on the raw two-party count, but there are a lot of pre-poll numbers still to come, and the Liberal margin on those was only 1.4% in 2019 compared with 5.7% across the electorate as a whole. Labor should also get a bit of a boost from absents if their swing is like those of votes cast within the electorate. Again though, my system could be underestimating the advantage remaining to accrue to the Liberals on postals, the first batch of which broke 943-803 in their favour.

Kiama. Labor were looking good here at the close of election night, and they still hold a seemingly handy 752 lead on the two-party count. The reason my system now thinks it’s lineball is that Gareth Ward has scored an impressive 48.6% of the primary vote out of 2192 postals, compared with his overall progress score of 38.5%, and these are yet to report on two-candidate preferred. Antony Green’s sources go further than that, saying he has it in the bag.

Miranda. With only postals added yesterday, there are still a lot of holes in the count here: two election day booths haven’t reported at all, another two have primary vote numbers only, no pre-polls have reported two-party preferred, and only one out of five of them are in on the primary vote. My system’s efforts to fill the gaps credit the Liberals with a lead of 1.0% compared with a raw 0.2% on two-party preferred. As ever, part of the equation is that the first batch of postals broke 726-505 their way.

Oatley. The Liberals’ lead here inflated from 254 to 910 yesterday with the reporting of the large Mortdale pre-poll booth, which broke 4740-4084 their way for a slightly below par swing to Labor of 5.1%. The first batch of postals broke 1329-946 to Liberal and those to come will presumably widen the gap, leaving absents as Labor’s only chance — there should be about 3000 of them, and in 2019 they broke almost evenly in a seat where the Liberals recorded a 6.9% winning margin.

Pittwater. I’m still projecting a narrow independent lead here, but the Liberals have opened up a 377 lead on the two-candidate count after winning the Pittwater pre-poll 3924-3049. They are also smashing it on postals, a factor my system struggles with when they substantially increase in number, as they have done both at this election and in Victoria. Certainly Antony Green’s sources are telling him the Liberals are home and hosed here.

Ryde. Labor’s two-party lead fell here yesterday from 412 to 241, the size of the Liberal winning margin in the large Eastwood pre-poll outweighing their losing margin in the smaller Macquarie Park pre-poll. The swing to Labor in Eastwood was a weak 3.2%. The one outstanding pre-poll and the absents both produced results in line with the overall result in 2019, but Labor would have to be worried about the thought of more than 2000 postals yet to come — the first batch swung 12.2% their way, but still broke 1052-837 to Liberal.

Wollondilly. Climate 200-backed independent Judy Hannan holds a 3.2% margin on the two-candidate count, but she has some weak booths that have so far only reported on the primary vote, which is one reason I’m only projecting her to win by 1.2%. Once again, the large number of outstanding postals may mean my system is selling them short — those counted so far have broken 437-326 their way, with a good 3000 yet to come, and the Liberals did even better on absents in 2019 than they did on postals.

Monday morning

No counting was conducted yesterday, but today we can expect to see progress on the pre-poll voting centres that are yet to report, which is the majority of them; a smaller number of election day stragglers; and the postal votes received up to Friday in seats where they were not reported on the night, of which I count 36. The Electoral Commission has pulled the two-candidate count between independent Alex Greenwich and the Liberals in the seat of Sydney, having determined that Labor rather than the Liberals will finish second. A new count will be conducted, but I’m not clear when the results will be published – clearly it’s academic because Greenwich has easily been re-elected. I have cleared a blockage that was preventing my results system from calling Newcastle for Labor, for whom it is now calling a definite 45 seats.

Sunday morning

My ever cautious results system* is currently giving away 44 seats to Labor, placing it three short of a confirmed majority, but leading in another seven. So the likeliest outcome is that the incoming government will indeed hold a majority. I spent the evening as part of a six-member decision desk at the Nine Network calling seats the hard way, and by the close of business we had it down to nine in doubt: the Labor-versus-Coalition contests of Winston Hills, Goulburn, Holsworthy, Miranda and Oatley; Willoughby, Wollondilly and Pittwater, which are Liberal-held seats that might go independent; and Kiama, where ex-Liberal independent Gareth Ward effortlessly saw off his Liberal opponent as expected, but might fall foul of the swing to Labor. Immediately before it turned off booth matching and switched to raw results, the ABC was calling Winston Hills for the Liberals, but concurred with my system in not yet calling Ryde for Labor, Drummoyne for the Liberals or Balmain for the Greens.

The situation in the Legislative Council is always obscure on the night, with only a third of enrolled voters’ first preference votes counted, all of which are above-the-line votes. For what it’s worth though, Labor is currently clear of eight quotas, the Coalition six, the Greens two and One Nation one. Legalise Cannabis, the Liberal Democrats and Shooters Fishers and Farmers also look to be doing well enough to each win one of the four remaining seats, with the final seat perhaps going to the Coalition or Animal Justice. If that’s the case – and it must be stressed at this early stage that it may not be – that would result in the final seat deciding whether a broadly defined left has a majority with 22 seat out of 42, or if left and right are tied at 21 each.

* If you’re finding it of any value, donations are gratefully received through the “become a supporter” button at the top of this page and in the right-hand corner of the results page itself. Between the scale of an election for 93 seats and the confounding extra layer of complexity entailed by optional preferential voting, this involved a rather considerable expenditure of effort on my part, for which I am only rewarded to the extent that my kind donors see fit.

Not the New South Wales election thread (open thread)

A discussion thread for anything other than the New South Wales election count.

A new post for the site’s comments thread barflies to argue the toss about whatever, the previous open thread having almost dropped off the front page. Presumably we won’t be getting much in the way of new polling this week, owing to the black hole of the New South Wales state election. There will of course be the Aston by-election on Saturday, which has gone scandalously under-discussed on this blog for the same reason – a situation that will hopefully be addressed in due course.

Adrian Beaumont update: There was actually a Resolve Voice poll published on Saturday in The Age that had Voice support at 57-43, down from 58-42 in February.  This poll was taken before Anthony Albanese announced the question wording for the referendum.

Donation drive

On the eve of the Premier State’s big day, now would obviously be an opportune moment to lay on the site’s more-or-less bi-monthly appeal for donations – and while I’m about it, to promote the live results feature that will be in business tomorrow evening and beyond, which will follow the same format as the one for the Victorian election. For election wonks especially, this surpasses all its rivals in offering neatly displayed tables showing results and swings at booth level, together with projections, probability estimates and map displays of booth results updated live at the bottom of each seat page. I should also give one last plug for my state election guide, with its feature-packed pages for all 93 electorates plus overview page and guide to the Legislative Council.

Newspoll: 54.5-45.5 to Labor in NSW

Newspoll concludes the NSW election campaign with a poll suggesting Labor well placed to form government with a majority in its own right.

The Australian reports the election eve Newspoll finds Labor on track for a comfortable win in tomorrow’s New South Wales state election with a two-party lead of 54.5-45.5, out from 52-48 in its poll at the start of the campaign. The primary votes are Labor 38% (up two), Coalition 35% (down one) and Greens 11% (down one), beyond which there is only a combined result of 16% for independents and other parties. The poll also finds Chris Minns leading Dominic Perrottet 41-39 as preferred premier, which reverses Perrottet’s solid 43-33 last time and looks to be the first time a Labor leader has led on this measure in Newspoll since the Coalition came to power in 2011. Exact numbers on approval and disapproval are not yet provided, but we are told Perrottet’s net rating has dived from plus 9% to minus 3%, while Minns is up from plus 8% to plus 14%. The poll was conducted Saturday to Thursday from a sample of 1205.

UPDATE: Samantha Hutchison of the Financial Review reports marginal seat polling conducted for the Liberals by CT Group is consistent with Newspoll, but that sources have nonetheless “not given up hope and noted the swings in some seats were within a margin of error, suggesting the Coalition could defy the odds and hang on to power”.

New South Wales election minus one day

Campaign scuttlebutt and private polling snippets as the finishing post comes into view.

Newspoll will presumably be with us later today – for now, the news media relates the following:

• The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Coalition “has all but written off the prospect of forming a majority but sees a best-case scenario where it wins the new seat of Leppington in south-west Sydney, fends off the teals in the north and can cobble together enough support from independents to form minority government”. Labor sources are “bemused by the government’s campaign tactics in the final days, with Perrottet visiting reasonably safe Liberal seats such as South Coast, Camden, Ryde and Drummoyne”. Both parties consider the situation unclear due to “a large cohort of undecided voters, a degree of ‘softness’ among those who are leaning one way or another, and the unpredictability of optional preferential voting”.

• As reported on Sky News yesterday, the day before and on Tuesday, polling that was apparently conducted for the Minerals Council Australia shows the Liberals leading 51-49 ahead in Penrith and 59-41 in Winston Hills; Labor leading 52-48 in Leppington and 53-47 in Goulburn; a 50-50 contest between the Liberals and independent Michael Regan in Wakehurst; teal independent Helen Conway leading the Liberals 54-46 in North Shore; and Liberal-turned-independent Gareth Ward leading Labor 53-47 in Kiama (which probably should be higher going off the primary votes), with the Liberals a very distant third. Some issues with the polling should be noted: parties who weren’t running in the seats in question were offered as response options, and respondents were seemingly primed to respond negatively on Matt Kean’s performance by being asked if they “agree that (he) is responsible for pushing up energy prices”. The result in Kean’s own seat of Hornsby had him leading just 53-47, a swing of 14%. One Nation were consistently credited with strong results, peaking at 17% in Penrith and 15% in Hornsby, where they respectively polled 7.2% and 4.5% in 2019. The polls seemingly covered several other seats as well, so there may be more to come.

Stephen Rice of The Australian reports Liberal sources believe the party’s determination to bar Gareth Ward from parliament if he retains Kiama as an independent has boosted his local support, with one quoted citing resentment at being “told what to do or who they can vote for”.

New South Wales election minus three days

A summary of recent horse race commentary, plus some minor opinion poll findings.

UPDATE: The Financial Review today brings a Freshwater Strategy poll showing Labor leading 53-47 on two-party preferred, unchanged from the start of the campaign, from primary votes of Coalition 37% (steady), Labor 37% (down two), Greens 10% (steady) and independents 16% (up two) – I assume all respondents were given the independents option, as distinct from the ballot paper-based approach of Resolve Strategic. Dominic Perrottet’s lead over Chris Minns as preferred premier 45-40, in from 46-34 last time. The poll was conducted Sunday to Tuesday from a sample of 1100.

Some notable observations from news coverage over the past few days:

Troy Bramston of The Australian reports there is “deep fear within (Labor) party ranks that the contest is perilously close, and many expect only the narrowest of wins or a minority Chris Minns-led government when it should be a landslide”. While Chris Minns is rated highly, the article lays out a list of perceived organisational deficiencies at the heart of a low-impact Labor campaign. Several teal independents are rated a show, but the Nationals “could regain Barwon or Murray” from ex-Shooters independents, though seemingly not Orange.

Alexandra Smith of the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Monday that the Liberals were “increasingly confident that they will be able to stave off a teal wave, however Lane Cove, held by the Planning Minister Anthony Roberts, is seen as the most at-risk”. Labor is said to be at least hopeful of recovering Balmain from the Greens.

• The Daily Telegraph has an instructive heat map illustrating which electorates have been most visited by the leaders during the campaign. Parramatta, Riverstone and Penrith have seen the most action; the Liberals have put more effort into East Hills, and Labor more into neighbouring Oatley; the Liberals would seem to be concerned about Drummoyne; and neither side is taking Leppington for granted.

Further opinion poll findings:

• The latest Essential Research poll posed questions relating to state politics to its cohort of 708 New South Wales respondents, finding Dominic Perrottet with a 36-33 lead over Chris Minns as preferred premier. Forty-one per cent expected Labor to win, against 35% for the Coalition. Thirty-six per cent said Labor’s promise of no future privatisations made them more likely to vote for them, against 10% for more likely to vote Coalition; 31% said they were more likely to vote Labor due to its promise to scrap the public sector wages cap, against 13% for the Coalition; 16% said they were more likely to vote Coalition due to their promised savings fund for children, against 26% for Labor; and 16% said they were more likely to vote Labor due to the Coalition’s commitment to a cashless gambling card, against 31% for Labor (findings I find highly unintuitive in the latter two cases).

• The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday had further results from its Resolve Strategic poll found 43% in favour of the proposed children’s future fund and 30% opposed, while 50% backed Labor’s promised Energy Security Corporation with 14% opposed. Labor led 35% to 29% as best party to handle cost of living, while the Coalition led 38% to 33% on the economy and 36% to 32% on infrastructure. Labor as usual had strong leads on health (39% to 29%), education (40% to 31%) and climate change (30% to 18%).

• A Roy Morgan SMS poll of 844 respondents credited Labor with a 53.5-46.5 lead, from primary votes of Labor 34%, Coalition 34% and Greens 13%, with Chris Minns leading Dominic Perrottet 52-48 as preferred premier. The poll was conducted over a week ago, from March 10 to 14.

Federal polls: Resolve, Essential and more (open thread)

Multiple new polls defy emerging talk of an end to the Albanese government’s honeymoon.

Two new federal opinion poll results today:

• The long-awaited set of voting intention numbers from Resolve Strategic finds Labor down a point on last month to 39%, the Coalition down one to 30%, the Greens up three to 13% and One Nation steady on 5%. The Coalition gets a particularly bad set of numbers from Queensland, where they are down 11 points to 24% with Labor steady on 39%. No two-party preferred is provided, but I make it at close to 60-40 in favour of Labor. Anthony Albanese is down one on approval to 55% and up one on disapproval to 31%, while Peter Dutton is up three to 32% and down one to 44%. Albanese’s lead as preferred prime minister is in from 55-23 to 51-22. The poll was conducted Sunday to Thursday from a sample of 1600.

• The fortnightly voting intention numbers from Essential Research, which include a 5% undecided component, have Labor up two to 34%, the Coalition down one to 31%, the Greens up two to 14% and One Nation down two to 5%. Labor’s lead on the pollster’s 2PP+ measure widens from 49-44 to 52-43, the balance being undecided. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Monday from a sample of 1124.

As was the case with the Resolve Strategic poll with numbers published on Saturday, the Essential Research poll featured further results on AUKUS, finding 40% agreement with contention that the submarine agreement would “make Australia more secure” (down four from November) versus 21% for less secure (up five) and 40% saying it would have no impact (up one). Respondents were also less inclined to rate that China was a threat needing to be confronted than in November, down six to 20%, and correspondingly more favourable to the alternative view that it was a “complex relationship to be managed”, up six to 67%, with an unchanged 13% considering it “a positive opportunity to be realised”. Twenty-six per cent considered the purchase worth the expense, 27% felt the submarines were necessary but the expense too great, and 28% believed the submarines were unnecessary.

An occasional series of questions on leaders’ attributes, the first such since February last year, found Anthony Albanese’s biggest strength to be that he was in control of his team (59%), while 54% felt he changed his opinions too much and 49% rated him out of touch with ordinary people. Peter Dutton scored weak results across the board, his strongest being that 47% felt him in control of his team, and his weakest being 61% for out of touch and 34% or 35% for visionary, understanding of women’s issues and more honest than other politicians.

In other poll news, JWS Research finds 42% favouring a yes vote in an Indigenous voice referendum, down one since August, with 28% for no, down five; and the latest Roy Morgan voting intention results, conducted from March 6 to 12, have Labor leading 56.5-43.5 from primary votes of Labor 37%, Coalition 34% and Greens 12.5%.

Resolve Strategic: Coalition 38, Labor 38, Greens 8 in NSW

The first major NSW state poll since the start of the campaign finds a strong gain for the Coalition at the expense of the Greens and independents.

The Sydney Morning Herald breaks the New South Wales election campaign poll drought with a result from Resolve Strategic that suggests the momentum of the campaign has been in favour of the Coalition. Whereas the previous poll of February 22 to 26 was unique among the polls at the start of the campaign in crediting Labor with a strong primary vote, this one has them both at 38%, with the Coalition up six and Labor steady. Making way for the improving Coalition are the Greens, down three to 8%, and independents, down five to 8%, with others up one to 8%. UPDATE: Gorks in comments makes a point I should have picked up on: that “Resolve does this every election where final poll shows massive primary vote changes because they show the ballot paper in survey questions”. No two-party preferred is provided, but I would roughly calculate this at a bit over 52-48 in favour of Labor.

Dominic Perrottet also records a solid improvement in his personal ratings, his combined very good and good result up seven from the previous poll to 52%, while his poor plus very poor rating is down eight to 32%. Chris Minns is up three on very good plus good to 46% and down two on poor plus very poor to 26%, with 28% remaining undecided. Perrottet’s lead as preferred premier increases from 38-34 to 40-34. The poll was conducted Tuesday to Sunday from a sample of 1000.