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.

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.

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.

New South Wales election minus six days

As a low-key campaign reaches its conclusion, Labor is reportedly confident, though not necessarily of a majority in their own right.

After opening with a barrage of results from Newspoll, Resolve Strategic, Freshwater Strategy and Roy Morgan, the New South Wales state election has been marked by complete silence on the public polling front. Nor has the campaign had much to offer in the way of excitement, beyond the usual procession of quickly forgotten promises and social media controversies involving obscure candidates.

Which leaves us with:

Brad Norington of The Australian reports that Labor is “increasingly confident”, while recognising that they may gain only six of the nine seats required to get them all the way to a majority. Doing so would likely require Riverstone and Parramatta, which are rated merely as “doable”. Should they fall short, Ben Raue at The Tally Room lays out the scenarios for a hung parliament.

• Teal independent Pittwater candidate Jacqui Scruby has filed a complaint over Liberal Party signs alerting voters to the fact that they only need number one box, arguing they are made to appear as official rather than party political announcements. The signs do have a small Liberal logo on the bottom right, but it is alleged they are being positioned so as to obscure it. The complaint echoes that against Chinese language Liberal signs used in Melbourne at the 2019 election, which the Federal Court ruled found deceptive in their adoption of the Australian Electoral Commission’s white-and-purple colour scheme.

• The Liberals have registered two sets of how-to-vote cards for Balmain, Newtown and Summer Hill, one recommending a first preference for the Liberal candidate only, the other a preference to Greens ahead of Labor.

• The Coalition has been getting the worst of the routine election campaign parade of social media indiscretions from candidates in unwinnable seats. The latest case is Bill Burst in Maroubra, who took to Facebook to voice commonly heard right-wing opinions on climate change and the treatment of COVID.

• The Sydney Morning Herald has published breakdowns from its Resolve Strategic poll of three weeks ago by three age cohorts, showing Labor on 39%, the Coalition on 28% and the Greens on 17% among those aged 18 to 34; Labor on 41%, the Coalition on 26% and the Greens on 14% among those 35 to 54; and Labor on 34%, the Coalition on 41% and the Greens on 3% among those 55 and over.

• I had an article in Crikey this week on the growing problem the Liberals face from right-wing minor parties poaching votes from them, such voters overwhelmingly following the practice encouraged by Liberal election signs in allowing their votes to exhausted after the first preference.

New South Wales election minus eleven days

Coalition candidate troubles, plus seat polling from North Shore and Riverstone.

Recent highlights, such as they are, from a distinctly uneventful New South Wales state election campaign:

• Too late to affect their placement on the ballot paper, the Coalition have disendorsed two candidates in no chance seats this week over past indiscretions on Twitter: 20-year-old Ash Barnham in Cessnock, who has been dropped by the Nationals over comments two years ago denigrating women, gays and Jews, and Liberal candidate Matthew Squires in Wyong, who among other things described homosexuality as a “perversion”.

• A report in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, which I can’t find online, related a Climate 200 poll showing an effective dead heat between Liberal member Felicity Wilson and teal independent Helen Conway in North Shore, with the former leading 50.7-49.3 on two-candidate preferred. Wilson led 33.6% to 17.9% on the primary vote, with Labor on 16.6%, the Greens on 10.4% and 9.8% uncommitted. The poll had a sample of 600, with no field work dates identified in the report. Liberal sources quoted in The Australian today say the party is concerned about independents in North Shore, Wakehurst and Willoughby, but seemingly less so in Manly and Vaucluse.

• The Financial Review last week reported that Freshwater Strategy found Labor candidate Warren Kirby with a 54-46 lead over Liberal candidate Mohit Kumar in Riverstone, from primary votes of Labor 40%, Liberal 37%, Greens 7% and One Nation 7%. The accompanying report was distinctly light on further detail, but this appears to have been a supplement to the statewide poll published by the paper last week, which was conducted the Thursday to Saturday before last.

UPDATE: Adrian Beaumont’s latest piece in The Conversation draws attention to seat polls I had missed from Redbridge Group, showing Labor 54-46 ahead in Parramatta but the Liberals 51-49 ahead in Penrith (though the accompanying release acknowledges the Liberal vote is “a little under-reported” in the former).