Newspoll: 51-49 to Coalition in New South Wales

Slight movement in favour of the Coalition in the final New South Wales state election Newspoll, with Michael Daley’s late campaign troubles making their presence felt on personal ratings. Also featured: voluminous reading on the Electoral Commission’s plans for the count, and some late mail on where the parties believe things stand.

The final Newspoll of the New South Wales state election campaign, published in the Australian, has the Coalition leading 51-49 on two-party preferred, compared with 50-50 in the last such poll a fortnight ago. On the primary vote, the Coalition is up one to 41%, Labor is down one to 35% and the Greens are steady on 10%. On personal ratings, Gladys Berejiklian is down one on approval to 43% and up four on disapproval to 42%; Michael Daley has taken a rather big hit, being down five on approval to 32% and up nine on disapproval to 47%; and Berejiklian’s lead as preferred premier is 43-35, compared with 41-34 last time.

Breakdowns are provided for Sydney and the rest of New South Wales. In Sydney, the Coalition leads 52-48, which compares with 54.3-45.7 in 2015, from primary votes of Coalition 43%, Labor 36% and Greens 18. In keeping with expectations, a bigger swing is recorded in the rest of New South Wales, with two-party preferred at 50-50, compared with 54.4-45.6 to the Coalition last time, from primary votes of Coalition 39%, Labor 34% and Greens 9%. The poll was conducted Tuesday to Thursday from a bumper sample of 2518.

Administrative affairs:

• I’m afraid I won’t be able to make good on my earlier promise to run an election results facility. The New South Wales Electoral Commission is unusual in putting its media feed behind a security wall, and I haven’t been able to gain the permissions required to access it. To be honest, it probably wouldn’t have worked very well even if I had – optional preferential voting and enormous changes between the polling booths from the last election to this have added extra layers of complexity. None of these issues will apply at the federal election, which is actually quite a lot easier to do than a state election.

• I am currently in Sydney doing behind-the-scenes work on the Nine Network’s election night coverage. At this stage I have no idea what this will mean for what I will be able to provide in terms of live blogging tonight – it may mean I have inside dope to relate, or it may mean I will be too busy to do anything. At a bare minimum there will be a thread available where you are all invited to exchange information and generally discuss the results.

Some details about the Electoral Commission’s plans for the count:

• We will not be privy to as much counting of pre-poll results on election night as we have lately grown accustomed. All we are promised is incomplete progress counts of the primary vote from pre-poll voting centres, which will presumably posted quite late on the night. That means no pre-poll results on two-party preferred, which could well leave us hanging in more seats than usual at the end of the night. Some postals will be counted on the night – I can’t tell you if this will just be primary votes or if it will include two-party totals as well.

• The Legislative Council count on the night will be unusual, in that the only things that are specifically being tallied are above-the-line votes for the Coalition, Labor, the Greens, Shooters, the Christian Democrats, Animal Justice and One Nation. Beyond that, an “others” total will be published that will include above-the-line votes for everyone else, and below-the-line votes for all and sundry (including votes that will prove, on closer inspection, to be informal). Among other things, this means those of you hanging on the electoral prospects of David Leyonhjelm will go to bed disappointed.

• The Electoral Commission encountered technical difficulties last week with its pre-polling, with outages in the system with which it marks off those who have voted leading to “long delays and even temporary closures of some pre-poll booths”, as reported by The Guardian. The commission’s initial projection was that a little over 1 million votes would be counted at pre-poll voting centres – hard data on the number of votes cast does not appear to be available on its website, but it was reported that 670,998 such votes had been cast as of the close of business on Wednesday. I couldn’t tell you at this late hour if these means they were running below expectations.

• Trouble too with the commission’s iVote facility, which has been providing many prospective voters with error messages. The service allows the disabled, sick or those outside New South Wales to vote online or by phone. Nonetheless, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that 82% of the 227,521 who had registered had voted as of last night.

Horse race latest:

• The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that “both major parties have struggled with phone polling in Murray and Barwon”, the two seats Shooters Fishers and Farmers hopes to gain from the Nationals to complement Orange, wbich it won from the Nationals at a by-election in November 2016. However, “internal research” by Shooters Fishers and Farmers suggested it should retain Orange, and left it “confident” of winning Barwon.

• The Sydney Morning Herald today cites a Liberal source saying there will be nothing in it in Penrith, East Hills and Goulburn, but that they will probably lose Coogee. A Labor source expresses confidence about both Coogee and East Hills. Two Nationals sources are cited offering varying perspectives on Barwon, Lismore, Murray and Tweed, with one sounding optimistic about Tweed and Lismore, but the other sounding pessimistic about Lismore. Ballina is rated “anyone’s guess”.

• Here’s my paywalled account of the situation in Crikey, the upshot of which is that Labor is more likely to outperform expectations than the Coalition. A number of the same points are made by Tim Colebatch in the Sydney Morning Herald (probably also paywalled).

Odds and ends

A review of the movements in New South Wales election betting odds over the past week, in which the Coalition have emerged clear favourites overall, despite a mixed picture in the individual seat markets.

UPDATE: Please note that this a dedicated New South Wales election thread – a general discussion thread is here.

With one day to go, I’ve done a bit of work updating my state election guide with a few new candidate details and campaign updates – and also with updated betting odds from Ladbrokes. There has been a bit of a divergence in the overall odds, where the Coalition are now clear favourites on $1.45 to $2.70 for Labor, and the seat odds, which seem to paint a more favourable collective picture for Labor. UPDATE: The Sydney Morning Herald has a chart showing the fluctuations in Sportsbet’s odds over the campaign, making clear the late surge to the Coalition.

The Asian immigration kerfuffle has been reflected in Labor lengthening in Kogarah (from $1.17 to $1.30, with the Liberals cut from $3.75 to $2.50) and Oatley (from $2.75 to $3.75, with the Liberals in from $1.36 to $1.22). However, there is no movement in Strathfield, despite reports of favourable polling for the Liberals, and Labor is now unbackable in Coogee, where they are in from $1.22 a week ago to $1.10. Labor are also in from $5 to $3.75 in South Coast – but, contrary to media chatter, the Liberals have shortened in Heathcote from $1.44 to $1.33, with Labor out from $2.88 to $3.10.

The Nationals’ odds have deteriorated in a number of seats over the past week, with Labor slashed from $17 to $4 in Coffs Harbour, and even given a sniff in Barwon, where they are in from $7 to $5, the market presumably considering it possible that they might skate home as votes split between the Nationals and Shooters. Shooters have shortened from $1.33 to $1.25 in Orange, and from $3.25 to $2.90 in Murray; independent Mathew Dickerson seems to be attracting attention in Dubbo, where he is now on $2.75, with the Nationals on $1.40; and independent by-election winner Joe McGirr is in from $1.50 to $1.27 in Wagga Wagga. Conversely, the Nationals’ odds have improved in Tweed (from $3 to $2.50, with Labor out from $1.36 to $1.50) and Upper Hunter ($2.88 to $2.10, with Labor out from $1.40 to $1.70).

The Greens’ odds have improved on the north coast (from $4.50 to $3.50 in Lismore, where Labor are clear favourites, and from $5.50 to $3.75 in Ballina, where the Nationals are given the edge), but deteriorated slightly in the inner city (from $1.36 to $1.44 in Balmain and $1.11 to $1.14 in Newtown).

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.