New South Wales election minus two days

Michael Daley’s debate stumbles and controversial take on immigration give the Liberals an opening, as campaign reportage gets flooded with the purported findings of party internal polling.

The final week of the New South Wales campaign has been marked by a turn in the media narrative, with a barrage of negative headlines for Michael Daley dispelling an earlier consensus that “momentum” rested with Labor. This morning’s reports mostly relate to stumbles over education policy during the Sky News leaders forum in Penrith last night, which ended with 50 of the assembled “undecided voters” (one of whom turns out to have been an Australian Conservatives election candidate) rating themselves more likely to vote Coalition, compared with 25 for Labor and 25 uncommitted.

However, the main headline spinner over the past few days has been the emergence of video of Daley addressing a forum in the Blue Mountains last September, in which he expressed concern about the impact of Asian immigration on the employment and housing markets. To identify where this is most likely to cause Labor trouble, the table below shows the top ten electorates for Chinese ancestry, as identified in the 2016 census. The only seat here that might be described as a Labor target is Oatley, although it has not much featured in discussion of seats that are likely to fall its way. However, Labor appears to have been thrown on the defensive in Kogarah, held by widely touted leadership prospect Chris Minns, and Strathfield, which Jodi McKay narrowly succeeded in gaining for Labor in 2015.

Chinese ancestry Margin
Kogarah 32.8% Labor 6.9%
Ryde 28.2% Liberal 11.5%
Epping 26.4% Liberal 16.2%
Strathfield 25.8% Labor 1.8%
Heffron 22.6% Labor 14.1%
Auburn 20.6% Labor 5.9%
Willoughby 20.2% Liberal 23.8%
Parramatta 19.3% Liberal 12.9%
Oatley 19.2% Liberal 6.6%
Baulkham Hills 18.3% Liberal 21.8%

Minns took to Chinese social media forum WeChat on Tuesday to distance himself from Daley’s comments, as the Liberals turned the screws by spruiking internal polling with his primary vote at 32.4%, dangerously down on the 45.4% he recorded in 2015. Multiple reports have said the poll showed a 7% swing away from Labor, although there is some confusion as to whether this is from the base of the 2015 election result, in which case the seat would go down to the wire, or if it reflects the immediate effect of the story breaking. The polling is said to have been conducted on Tuesday evening from a sample of 400, with a margin of error of 5%. The Liberals have followed this today by telling the Daily Telegraph that further polling shows it with a primary vote lead of 42.6% to 34.3% in Strathfield.

Not all the party polling chatter over the past 24 hours has been bad for Labor: a Liberal source acknowledged to the Daily Telegraph yesterday that the party still did not expect to win Kogarah; Nine News reported last night that the furore had had no impact in “marginal seats Mr Daley needs to win”; and Seven News reported the Coalition had “grown more worried about the seat of Goulburn following a steady decline in polling numbers”. Andrew Clennell of The Australian today offers that the Liberals could be looking at four losses on top of five for the Nationals, sufficient to cost the government its majority. However, the ship is said to have been steadied in Heathcote, which the Liberals have targeted with intensive campaigning after being spooked by the results of polling conducted last week.

Before the turn in the media mood had fully unfolded, I took part in a podcast with Ben Raue of The Tally Room on Monday, together with social researcher Rebecca Huntley, which you can hear below.

YouGov Galaxy: 50-50 in New South Wales

The Daily Telegraph has a statewide New South Wales poll from YouGov Galaxy that records a dead head on two-party preferred, from primary votes of Coalition 41%, Labor 38% and Greens 9%. The poll also records Shooters Fishers and Farmers on 3% and One Nation on 1%, which I presume accounts for the limited number of seats these parties are fielding candidates in, as was the case with YouGov Galaxy’s late campaign polling in Queensland last year. A preferred premier question has Gladys Berejiklian with a 38-36 lead over Michael Daley, which is rather slender for an incumbent. It also finds 47% saying the government’s stadium plans have made them less likely to vote Coalition, compared with only 16% for more likely. The report says the poll was conducted from a sample of 1016 “before The Daily Telegraph broke the story of Mr Daley’s doublespeak over ­Chinese immigration”, but it’s no more precise than that on the field work period.

Yet again, the is well in line with the existing reading of the state election poll tracker, on which Labor currently leads 50.6-49.4. The trend charts can be viewed over the fold, with the full display featured as part of the election guide.

Continue reading “YouGov Galaxy: 50-50 in New South Wales”

YouGov Galaxy: 50-50 in Goulburn; 51-49 to Liberal in Penrith

Two New South Wales state seats held by the Liberals on margins of between 6% and 7% are going down to the wire, according to new polls by YouGov Galaxy.

The Daily Telegraph has two more seat polls from YouGov Galaxy, with sample sizes of around 550, but I only have an image from the front page of the paper to go on at this stage. One is from Goulburn, which is being vacated with the retirement of Pru Goward, and where reports have widely suggested that Labor is in the hunt despite the solid 6.6% margin. The poll bears this out, recording a tie on two-party preferred. The other is from Penrith, which cabinet minister Stuart Ayres holds for the Liberals on a margin of 6.2%. The poll finds him with his nose in front, with a lead of 51-49. More to follow.

UPDATE: The primary votes in Goulburn are Liberal 38%, Labor 37%, Shooters 8%, One Nation 6% and Greens 4%. In Penrith, it’s Liberal 42%, Labor 38%, One Nation 9% and Greens 6%. Sample sizes were 531 in Goulburn and 550 in Penrith. Respondents were resoundingly negative towards the government over sports stadiums, with 56% in Goulburn saying they would be less likely to vote Liberal as a result compared with 13% for more likely, while in Penrith the numbers were 48% and 20% respectively. However, Gladys Berejiklian led Michael Daley as preferred premier by 43-30 in Goulburn and 51-30 in Penrith.

New South Wales election minus one week

Still a tight tussle a week out from the New South Wales election, but reports speak of “momentum” running against the government.

The New South Wales state election is likely to struggled for news space over the next few days, with implications that are not easy to read. Recently noted:

Andrew Clennell of The Australian today reports that “momentum” is “said to be moving away from the Coalition in key marginals”. The remainder of the report largely reiterates conventional wisdom about the state of play, but says the strength of Shooters Fishers and Farmers may be a problem for Labor in its bid to gain Upper Hunter from the Nationals.

• The Sydney Morning Herald reports Balmain, which the Greens have held for two terms, is “strengthening for Labor”, with the Greens’ recent internal warfare making it difficult for them to recruit volunteers.

• The Liberals have been showing a lot of interest all of a sudden in Heathcote, located on the southern fringe of Sydney and held for the Liberals by 7.6%, which has been targeted by robocalling featuring messages from Gladys Berejiklian.

• The Australian had additional results from last weekend’s Newspoll on Wednesday regarding best party to handle various issues, which produced fairly typical of such exercises, although perhaps with narrower margins than is typical. Labor led 44-35 on health, 42-36 on education, 41-30 on environment and 37-34 on energy; the Coalition led 39-33 on law and order, 41-34 on infrastructure, 39-31 on the economy and 37-36 on transport.

Newspoll: 50-50 in New South Wales

With less than a fortnight to go, another poll finds nothing in it in New South Wales.

The Australian has a New South Wales state poll from Newspoll that records a dead heat on two-party preferred, unchanged from the previous poll in late January. On the primary vote, the Coalition is up a point to 40%, Labor is steady on 36% and the Greens are steady on 10%. Gladys Berejiklian’s lead as preferred premier has narrowed from 44-31 to 41-34, and both leaders’ personal ratings are improved: Berejiklian is up three on approval to 44% and down five on disapproval to 38%, while Michael Daley is up four to 37% and down two to 38%. The poll was conducted Friday to Monday from a sample of 1003.

Once again, the poll is entirely consistent with the existing reading of the state election poll tracker, on which Labor still has its nose in front on two-party preferred. The trend charts can be viewed over the fold, with the full display featured as part of the election guide.

Continue reading “Newspoll: 50-50 in New South Wales”

New South Wales election minus twelve days

More seat polls, more indications that the Nationals in particular have a battle on their hands.

NOTE: The main discussion thread is the post beneath this one, dealing with the 54-46 federal Newspoll result.

The Daily Telegraph has another two YouGov Galaxy seat polls today, from Lismore and Barwon, that conform with an emerging narrative of trouble for the Nationals. The report does not say when the polls were conducted, but the sample sizes were 588 in Lismore and 502 in Barwon.

• The headline from Lismore is that Labor leads 51-49, but this is based on a respondent-allocated preference flow that is much better for the Nationals than they enjoyed in 2015. This can be gleaned from the fact that the Nationals primary vote is at 35%, compared with 42.5% in 2015, whereas Labor (28%, compared with 26.4%) and the Greens (27%, compared with 25.6%) are little changed. Broadly speaking, this suggests a repeat of 2015, when the Greens narrowly outpolled Labor to take second place. This runs against the general sentiment, which says the Greens are unlikely to repeat their coup in winning Ballina and coming close in Lismore, as the issue of coal seam gas extraction has lost its currency.

The Nationals member, Thomas George, who is now retiring, finished 2.9% clear of the Greens at the final count in 2015, but a Nationals-versus-Labor preference count found this would only have been 0.2% if Labor had emerged second. The table below shows the relevant details from the Nationals-versus-Greens and Nationals-versus-Labor preference counts in 2015. If these preference flows are applied to the poll results, the Greens emerge with a 53.6-46.4 in a Nationals-versus-Greens count, while a Nationals-versus-Labor count blows the margin out to 56.6-43.4.

• In Barwon, where Kevin Humphries is retiring and the water management is biting as an issue, the Nationals are credited with a lead of just 51-49 over Shooters Fishers and Farmers. Nationals candidate Andrew Schier is on 40%, down from Humphries’ 49.1% in 2015, while Shooters candidate Roy Butler is on 30% – beyond that, we are told only that Labor and the Greens are down, from 24.0% and 6.2% respectively. In this case, the respondent-allocated two-party result looks about right.


• A report by Deborah Snow in the Sydney Morning Herald adds Myall Lakes, a Mid North Coast seat with a margin of 8.7%, as another addition to the seats along the state’s northern coast where Labor fancy themselves a chance of unseating the Nationals. Other examples were canvassed in this blog post, and in my article from Crikey (paywalled) on Friday.

• A dust-up played out last week in the seat of Port Stephens, which the Liberals harbour hopes of gaining from Labor, after Facebook suspended fake accounts that had been used to post comments critical of Labor member Kate Washington. The Liberals accuse Washington of misusing the electoral roll in her efforts to ascertain the Facebook posters’ identities, and have lodged a complaint to that effect with the Electoral Commission. They insist candidate Jaimie Abbott’s hands are clean in the matter, and that the blame lies with a volunteer on her campaign, Tasman Brown, who is also a staffer to upper house MP Catherine Cusack. Abbott’s own Facebook account was also been suspended, but this may have been collateral damage arising from Brown’s administrator privileges over the account.

• The Sydney Morning Herald continues to drip out results from its uComms/ReachTEL poll, today reporting that “the economic outlook, including falling house prices” had 35% saying they were more likely to vote Coalition, 40% less likely and 24% no difference.

uComms/ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor in New South Wales

A fairly robust second week of the New South Wales makes no impression on the latest poll result, which also finds public opinion leaning strongly to Labor over the stadiums issue.

NOTE: The main discussion thread has fallen down the page a little, to here. That will be rectified when, presumably, Newspoll comes through this evening.

Today’s Sun-Herald has the first statewide poll of the New South Wales election campaign, conducted on Thursday by uComms/ReachTEL from a sample of 1019. The results are remarkably similar to the last such poll in late November, weeks after Michael Daley assumed the Labor leadership: two-party preferred is unchanged at 51-49 in favour of Labor, while the primary votes, after exclusion of the undecided (4.7% this time, 3.1% in November) are Coalition 37.5% (down 0.2%), Labor 35.8% (up 0.6%), Greens 10.1% (up 0.2%), One Nation 5.9% (down 1.8%) and Shooters Fishers and Farmers 4.8% (up 1.4%). The two-party preferred result is presumably from respondent-allocated preferences, but the result from 2015 election flows would be the same.

Michael Daley retains his lead over Gladys Berejiklian, which is 53.3-46.7 in this poll, and was 54.2-45.8 in the November poll – surprising results both, although ReachTEL’s forced response preferred leader polls consistently produce unusual results. The poll also shows 52% opposed to the government’s expansive spending plans for Sydney sports stadiums, with 37% in support.

The new poll numbers make next to no difference to my state election poll tracker, the current reading of which is almost exactly the same as the uComms/ReachTEL result. You can view the trend charts over the fold, with a little more value added in the display on my election guide.

Continue reading “uComms/ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor in New South Wales”

New South Wales election minus two weeks

Ballot paper draws bring bad news for One Nation and the Liberal Democrats – but very good news for Shooters Fishers and Farmers, who are reportedly giving the Nationals quite a bit to think about.


• Nominations closed on Wednesday and the ballot paper draws were conducted yesterday. Only the Coalition, Labor and the Greens are contesting every lower house seat – the most prodigious of the micro-parties are Sustainable Australia (55 lower house candidates), Animal Justice (48) and Keep Sydney Open (42). One Nation are only contesting 12 seats in the lower house, and have drawn the last column out of 20 on the Legislative Council ticket. The Liberal Democrats have not sustained their usual good luck on this score, scoring the fifteenth column, to the right of Liberal/Nationals in the eleventh column, reducing their prospects of scoring votes from confused Coalition supporters. The lead One Nation and Liberal Democrats candidates are, respectively, Mark Latham and David Leyonhjelm. I will update my election guide over the weekend to include full candidate lists, and add a few more bios and candidate pics where appropriate.

• The big winner from the upper house draw is Shooters Fishers and Farmers, who have the first column – which, by the assessment of Andrew Clennell in The Australian, means they are “in good shape to win a third upper house seat”. The report also relates that internal polling – it does not say whose – has the party looking competitive in the Nationals-held seats of Barwon and Murray, with their primary vote in the high twenties and the Nationals in the low thirties. A report in the Daily Telegraph yesterday spoke of polling showing the Nationals primary vote on 35% in Barwon, down from 49.1% in 2015.

• My election guide now features betting odds for each electorate from Ladbrokes, with the curious exception of Blacktown, on which they aren’t taking bets for some reason (probably administrative oversight). Whereas Ladbrokes is offering $1.87 on both the Coalition and Labor to win the election (see the sidebar for the regularly updated odds), the seat markets favour the Coalition, with the Coalition favourites in 49, Labor in 38 and others six (i.e. all the incumbents and no more). Labor are favourites to gain the Coalition-held seats of Coogee, East Hills, Tweed and Upper Hunter.