More late counting: New South Wales and Aston

A further update on late counting in New South Wales, where the situation is more or less resolved for the lower house but remains up in the air for the upper.

Click here for full display of New South Wales state election results.
Click here for full display of Aston by-election results.

Tuesday, March 18

Data entry for the Legislative Council count has been completed and the button will be pressed on the result tomorrow. The first preference vote totals on the NSWEC website are now final. The issue remains whether Animal Justice, on 0.4665 quotas, can outperform the Coalition, on 6.4885 quotas, to the extent that the last seat goes to their candidate rather than the Coalition’s seventh.

Sunday, March 16

I believe we have a final result from Aston: Labor 48,915 (53.6%), Liberal 42,402 (47.3%), a swing to Labor of 6.4%.

Saturday, March 15

Antony Green reports the Ryde recount has confirmed Liberal candidate Jordan Lane as the winner in Ryde, the recount increasing his margin from 50 to 54.

Thursday, March 13

A recount will be conducted in Ryde, starting on Saturday and continuing if need be on Monday.

Wednesday, March 12

Counting for the New South Wales was definitively resolved on Saturday, when it was determined that the Liberals won a squeaker in Ryde with 25,425 votes on the two-candidate preferred check count (50.05%) to Labor’s 25,375 (49.95%). Labor has apparently asked for a recount, but after two counts and a closely scrutinised data entry process, this would be a long shot even if the request were granted. That leaves the final seat count as indicated on my results page: Labor 45, Coalition 36, Greens three and independents nine. Unfortunately, the rest of my results are the initial counts rather than the check counts, as these are what appears in the media feed. The check count results can be found on the Electoral Commission website. However, the actual definitive results will be determined by the preference distributions, which will be conducted tomorrow and the next day.

Then there is the Legislative Council, where counting is still ongoing. The situation has fairly consistently appeared to be that Labor will win eight, the Coalition a minimum of six, the Greens two, One Nation, Legalise Cannabis, Liberal Democrats and Shooters Fishers and Farmers one each, leaving the final seat to go either to Animal Justice or the seventh Coalition candidate. The Coalition are currently on 6.66 quotas (30.28% of the vote) while Animal Justice are on 0.47 quotas (2.14% of the vote), with the Animal Justice relying on preference to close a gap of 0.19 quotas. Kevin Bonham has a model that allows for the fact that most of the outstanding votes are below-the-line, which tend to be relatively strong for Animal Justice, such that the gap is estimated at 0.14 quotas. If the Coalition prevails, the 42-member chamber will be evenly split between left and right, whereas an Animal Justice win would tip it to 22-20. The Electoral Commission says the button on the complete count will be pressed some time next week.

The final stages of the Aston count are of purely academic interest, but you can continue to follow the latest results through the above link.

Late counting: Aston and New South Wales

A post covering the concluding stages of counting for the Aston by-election and the state election in New South Wales.

Click here for full display of New South Wales state election results.
Click here for full display of Aston by-election results.

I’m continuing to update the results pages a couple of times a day, and thought a post might be in order for those wanting a focused discussion on the results. Obviously the result in Aston is not in doubt: postal votes continue to trickle in, and while they have swung less forcefully than election day and pre-poll votes, they have done nothing to dispel an impression of Labor accounting for a 2.8% Liberal margin with a swing of between 6% and 7%.

In New South Wales, the only seat that remains in doubt is Ryde, which would leave Labor a seat short of a majority with 46 seats out of 93 if they won, and put the Coalition on 36 in the seemingly more likely event that the Liberals retain their present lead. The Liberals hold a 232 vote lead on the raw two-candidate preferred count, but since the Electoral Commission is only counting primary votes on absents and enrolment/provisionals, it is not possible to say exactly where things stand. Absents have been weak for the Liberals and strong for the Greens, so I would estimate it at between 80 and 90 votes. Since the only outstanding votes are postals and these have been favouring the Liberals by 55-45, this seems more likely to widen than to narrow. Labor’s best chance is for anomalies to be discovered when the distribution of preferences is conducted next week. UPDATE: As Antony Green notes in comments, since all ballot papers are data entered in the check count, this seems especially unlikely, although “there can be questions over whether there has been an error in the batch entry of ballot papers”.

New South Wales election late counting (part two)

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.

Saturday morning

If I understand the situation correctly, yesterday saw only check counts conducted of votes that had already been reported on the initial count – the check count results will not be published in the media feed, which is the source of the data in my results system and those of other media outlets, and have not yet been published on the Electoral Commission system either. However, Antony Green reports checking unearthed a fairly substantial error at the Mittagong Public School booth in Wollondilly, discovery of which has boosted independent candidate Judy Hannan’s lead by 450 votes and dispelled any lingering doubt as to whether she will win.

Tomorrow, entirely new batches of postal, absent and enrolment/provisional votes will be counted and added to the media feed – the expected number of which and the order in which they will be conducted by seat are available here. As before, these will include two-candidate preferred results for the postal votes, but not for the absents and enrolment/provisionals.

Friday morning

A fresh post on the New South Wales election count, the earlier instalment of which can be found here. The Electoral Commission spent today tackling absents and enrolment/provisional reasons — for whatever reason, it only counts primary votes during the first of the two counts it conducts of these votes, so we will be flying blind on this front for the time being at least. The additions to the count yesterday were not huge (and there was no progress at all in Oatley or Pittwater) — the absent vote tallies noted below accounted for at most around a quarter of what’s likely to be their total, and absents have a way of varying from batch to batch depending on where they come from.

I haven’t been following the upper house count, but I’m told that here too things are improving for the Liberals, meaning a likely result of Labor eight, Coalition seven, Greens two and one apiece from One Nation, Legalise Cannabis, Liberal Democrats and Shooters Fishers and Farmers, resulting in a chamber in which the left and right have 21 seats apiece.

Holsworthy. No one’s holding out much hope for Labor here, with a 526 vote Liberal lead before yesterday’s additions and postals likely to widen it decisively. Labor would have clawed back about 50 votes on yesterday’s 766 formal absents, but they gained little advantage on the 263 enrolment/provisionals.

Ryde. Labor leads by 235 on the two-party count, which doesn’t include today’s 949 absents, on which I imagine they would have gained about two dozen, and 708 enrolment/provisionals, which broke pretty evenly. Labor’s gain on absents was rather weak in swing terms, which may be because they come from a relatively strong area for the Liberals. If not, the odds on the Liberals chasing Labor down on the many thousands of outstanding postals (2064 have been counted and the NSWEC has received nearly 9000 of them) will have shortened.

Terrigal. I would estimate that Labor gained about 40 on 839 absents and 90 on 670 enrolment/provisionals, but here too the swings to them were relatively weak, which reduces the chances of them wearing down a 237-vote Liberal lead that will surely increase on outstanding postals, of which the Electoral Commission has received 5288 and counted 615. If Labor has a hope, it’s that the remaining absents come from stronger areas and that postals sent closer to election day are more favourable to them than the earlier ones.

Wollondilly. Today’s additions were modest in number, but Judy Hannan did remarkably badly on the 305 absents, scoring only 37 (12.1%) to the Liberals’ 103 (33.8%) and failing to improve on her performance in 2019. I suspect these came from a weak and probably rural area for her, but they nonetheless fortify me in my decision to not call it for her yet despite her 1350 lead on the two-candidate count.

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.

Thursday morning

As Antony Green explains, much of the Electoral Commission’s efforts yesterday were spent preparing declaration envelopes for votes that will be counted from today, including the first absents, which have the potential to pull a few rabbits out of the hat for Labor. So far as the seats I’m continuing to follow are concerned, significant progress was made in only three, each involving the resolution of election day and pre-poll booths. As explained below, this clarified the situation in two of them to the extent that I won’t continue providing updates henceforth, and I’m probably showing an abundance of caution in the third.

Kiama. The first batch of postals, which had previously only been reported on the primary vote, were added yesterday on two-party, and broke in Gareth Ward’s favour by 1165-732. That puts him 1367 votes ahead, with only 3000 absents, a handful of provisionals and however many postals to come — with the latter sure to continue favouring him, that settles the matter.

Miranda. After slow progress in the count previously, yesterday saw all the pre-polls added on two-party and the stragglers on the election day vote cleaned up, collectively pushing the Liberal lead from 525 to a safe-and-sound 1841.

Wollondilly. The Bowral pre-poll, which had been strong for the Liberals, was added on two-party, negating advantages to independent Judy Hannan on the newly added election day votes and reducing her lead from 1602 to 1350. The Electoral Commission has received over 4000 postal votes and should get a few hundred more, of which it has counted only 962 – given those counted broke 57-43 to Liberal, they could hope to rein in a good 500 or so. There could also be as many as 3000 absents, and if all goes well for them they could maybe scrape back another 500 there as well, since they performed strongly on them in 2019. That would still leave them short, but not by enough that I am quite willing to shut the door just yet.

Wednesday morning

Yesterday’s counting continued to take care of outstanding election day booths and reduce the number of unreported pre-polls, with no postals added anywhere that I’ve been tracking. Labor’s chances of a majority hinge on strong performances in a few place on absent votes, which won’t start being added until Thursday. Below are updates on seven of the eight seats I identified as seriously in doubt yesterday, the exception being Oatley where there was no further progress.

Holsworthy. Yesterday’s counting bore out Antony Green’s indication that this would continue to drift towards the Liberals: all the pre-polls reported their two-candidate results, for a collective Liberal advantage of 7038-6889, and the one outstanding election day booth, Menai Primary, broke 619-582 in their favour as well. Even without the addition of further postals, which will almost certainly play to their advantage, that increased their lead from 340 to 526. Labor would need a very strong result on absents to remain in the hunt here.

Kiama. Again consistent with what Antony Green was hearing, Gareth Ward stormed into the lead here after winning the Nowra pre-poll 3333-2145, and he further gained 852-680 from the one outstanding election day two-candidate booth (Bomaderry Public). He now leads by 615 after trailing yesterday by 752.

Miranda. The results caught up with my projection here after the Illawong Public election day booth finally reported (though there are still three election day booths without two-party and one without primaries), breaking 1279-818 to the Liberals and pushing their lead out from 71 to 525.

Pittwater. The Narrabeen pre-poll pushed the Liberal lead out from 377 to 664, which the outstanding postals can only widen further. That just leaves the unknown quantity of absents, of which the Electoral Commission was expecting about 3000.

Ryde. The Epping pre-poll broke 873-866 to Liberal, reducing the Labor lead from 241 to 234.

Terrigal. The Woy Woy pre-poll broke 836-683 to Liberal, amounting to a below par swing to Labor of 7.2%. My system continues to project a Labor lead, but that’s probably based on an underestimate of the number of outstanding postals. Labor’s hope remains a strong performance on absents.

Wollondilly. The Camden pre-poll broke 1022-1016 to Liberal, putting independent Judy Hannan’s lead at 1602.

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.

New South Wales election live

Live commentary on the NSW election results. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont

Click here for full NSW election results updated live

Live Commentary

11:10 Labor is still leading in 51 of the 93 seats. They would need five leads to fall over to be short of a majority. It’s now 40 minutes after the 10:30pm close of counting, so presumably we’ll have to wait until Monday for more.

19% of enrolled has been counted in the upper house, and it looks as if Labor will win eight of 21 up at this election, the Coalition six, the Greens two, and one each for One Nation, Legalise Cannabis, the Liberal Democrats, the Shooters and Animal Justice. This would give the left-wing parties the 12-9 win they need to take control of the upper house, but the current count is probably skewed to the left.

And with that, it’s time for bed. William Bowe will take over.

10:29 Here’s my Conversation article on the NSW election results. With nearly 48% overall counted, the ABC’s 2PP estimate is 55.1-44.9 to Labor, a 7.1% swing since 2019.

9:36 I’ve been doing a Conversation article. In East Hills, Labor is getting a 9.7% swing on postal primaries counted so far and the Libs a negative 3.4% swing. That’s worse for the Libs and better for Labor than overall in that seat.

8:05pm PB results have Labor on 50 seats, Coalition 30, Greens 3, indies 10 with 19% overall counted. So Labor would need to lose four leads to be short of a majority.

7:46 PB results now giving Labor an overall majority with 8.6% overall counted. 47 Labor, 32 Coalition, 3 Greens, 9 indies. Seats with nothing counted are Liverpool and Manly. Liverpool is safe Labor, so Labor effectively on 48.

7:36 With 6.6% overall counted, ABC’s 2PP estimate up to a 54.7-45.3 margin for Labor. If that holds, Newspoll looking pretty good.

7:30 With 2.1% counted in Monaro, massive 16% swing to Labor where they flopped at byelections in February 2022.

7:22 2.9% overall counted, and PB results have Labor leading in 45 seats, the Coalition in 32, the Greens two and indies in nine. With five seats still to report any numbers, Labor will probably get a majority now.

7:18 With 2.1% overall counted, the ABC is estimating a Labor 2PP win by 54.2-45.8, a 6.2% swing to Labor since 2019.

7:12 1.4% overall counted; Labor ahead in 39 seats, Coalition 34, Greens two and indies eight. Looking harder for Labor to win an overall majority.

7:06 0.9% overall counted, and Labor now leads in 36 seats, the Coalition in 33, Greens in one and indies in seven.

7:02pm 1.1% counted in Riverstone, and Labor gaining that with a massive 19% swing. However, there are some swings to the Coalition.

6:53pm With 0.2% counted, the Poll Bludger results have Labor ahead in 26 seats, the Coalition in 18, the Greens one and independents two.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

William Bowe is working for Channel Nine tonight, so I will provide live commentary on the NSW election results.  I will need to take a break to write an article for The Conversation.

The final NSW Newspoll gave Labor a thumping 54.5-45.5 lead.  Previous polling had not appeared strong enough for Labor to win a lower house majority (47 of 93 seats), but if this poll is correct they would be a good chance of winning a majority in their own right.

From my article for The Conversation today: Votes cast on election day should be counted quickly, but large pre-poll booths are likely to take until late at night or next week.

ABC elections analyst Antony Green said that as of Friday, 28% of enrolled voters had voted early in-person and a further 10% had applied for a postal vote. All election day votes, some postals and some early votes will be counted by the 10:30pm close of counting on Saturday night. Counting will not resume until Monday.

There has been little attention on the upper house, which has 42 members with 21 up every four years, so members serve eight-year terms.  To take control of the upper house, left-wing parties need to win the 21 seats up at this election by 12-9.  I covered the upper house in a preview article for The Conversation last week.  It’s likely to take until at least next week to get a clear picture of the upper house result.

From William Bowe: The results system is up so you at least can see what the entry page looks like, although the seat pages won’t be accessible until 6pm – let’s hope it more or less works as it should, but given all the complications involved in adapting it to optional preferential voting, we’ll have to see how we go. I am holding off including a statewide two-party estimate on the entry page until I’m entirely confident it’s working as I should be. A point to remember about the seats summary on the entry page: if the system is not satisfied that it has the right two candidates for the two-party preferred count, or that it won’t make any difference to the result (requiring a manual update that I may not be all that timely with), the “assessment” will not go beyond identifying a candidate as “ahead” and the “probability” columns will not be populated.

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.