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NSW Politics

Mar 1, 2014

Nielsen: 51-49 to Labor in NSW

Nielsen drops a bombshell with the first poll showing state Labor leading in New South Wales since Morris Iemma was Premier. UPDATE: However, the bi-monthly Newspoll turns in a very different result of 58-42 in favour of the Coalition.


You heard correct – the Sydney Morning Herald (I presume) has published a Nielsen poll of state voting intention in New South Wales which actually has Labor in front. This is, I am quite sure, the first poll to have Labor so placed in nearly six years. Labor’s lead of 51-49 comes from primary votes of 35% for Labor and 40% for the Coalition (UPDATE: And 12% for the Greens). These numbers courtesy of GhostWhoVotes; more no doubt to follow.

UPDATE: Despite all that, Barry O’Farrell maintains a healthy 50-30 lead over John Robertson as preferred premier, and has a positive net satisfaction rating (46% approve, 40% disapprove) while Robertson’s is negative (34% and 36%). The poll was conducted from Saturday to Wednesday from a sample of 1000.

UPDATE 2: Newspoll has different ideas, its bi-monthly reading for January-February producing a more normal looking result of 58-42 in favour of the Coalition. However, since this is derived from polling conducted over a two-month period, it can be surmised that this result fails to pick up backlash against the Coalition since the Independent Commission Against Corruption began investigating three Liberal MPs a fortnight ago, causing them to voluntarily withdraw from the party. The poll has the Coalition primary vote at 46% against 31% for Labor, with Barry O’Farrell holding a 49-19 lead over John Robertson as preferred premier.


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54 thoughts on “Nielsen: 51-49 to Labor in NSW

  1. spur212

    “You heard correct …”

    Even the normally unflappable William can’t believe this result 😛

  2. zoidlord

    Well it has been six years.

  3. bug1

    Good to see the coalition states learning from their mistakes, not sure Tas and SA can be saved from them, but lets hope for a protest vote in the other Lib held state for half senate election.

    (also vic results out)

  4. lefty e

    Barry can probably relax. Odds on this is Abbott stink settling over Sydney.

  5. Asha Leu

    What just happened?

  6. Kinkajou

    how bad is abbott if he can fark up the nsw labor black hole

  7. mexicanbeemer

    Have i drunk too much this evening! geez i have heard of beer glasses but didn’t know they translated to polls.

  8. Arrnea Stormbringer

    Gee, and I thought the ICAC/Obeid stink would have wafted over Labor for years to come, keeping them behind in the polls…

    Politics is becoming more volatile.

  9. imacca

    [#Nielsen Poll NSW State 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 49 (-14) ALP 51 (+14) #nswpol #auspol]

    Lol! Wrap your laughing gear around that and choke Tony. 🙂

  10. Arrnea Stormbringer

    By my figuring from the pendulum, a uniform swing like this would give Labor 44 seats to the Coalition’s 43, assuming the Greens hold their seat (Balmain, 3.5% vs ALP) and the five independents hold theirs (Wyong, 2.6% vs ALP | The Entrance, 12.5% vs ALP | Sydney, 13.7% vs LIB | Lake Macquarie, 14.9% vs LIB | Terrigal, 24.2% vs ALP).

    However, I’d reckon this swing to Labor without a huge gain in the Green primary vote would almost certainly allow Labor to retake Wyong and Balmain (giving them 46, one short of a majority) and /maybe/ The Entrance (giving them 47, the slimmest of majorities).

  11. zoidlord

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 3m

    #Nielsen Poll NSW State Greens Primary Vote: 12 (+2) #nswpol #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 2m

    #Nielsen Poll NSW Preferred Premier: O’Farrell 50 (-12) Robertson 30 (+5) #nswpol #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 1m

    #Nielsen Poll NSW O’Farrell LIB: Approve 46 (-8) Disapprove 40 (+5) #nswpol #auspol

    GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes 49s

    #Nielsen Poll NSW Robertson ALP: Approve 34 (+2) Disapprove 36 (-7) #nswpol #auspol

  12. GhostWhoVotes

    The poll was taken 22-26 February (1000 voters).

  13. Psephos

    [and the five independents hold theirs (Wyong, 2.6% vs ALP | The Entrance, 12.5% vs ALP | Sydney, 13.7% vs LIB | Lake Macquarie, 14.9% vs LIB | Terrigal, 24.2% vs ALP).]

    You can’t seriously suppose that the “ICAC three” are going to recontest their seats, even if they’re cleared?

  14. geoffrey


    of course the reason peace negotiations was that the PLO refused the recognise Israel … yes not a good basis to meet at a negotiating table. its been a long path littered with untruths julie would agree with you … thank goodness some in israel have a mind of their own

  15. CTar1

    The ICAC investigation into Australian Water Holdings has not only got Obied and various other NSW Labour ministers but now is sucking in the associated Liberals.

    BO’F having to admit to three meetings he’d previously said never happened with Nick DiGormilo.

    Possibly NSW voters have decided we know who the Labor Party ‘baddies’ are but how many Libs/Nats are also involved i.e. ‘bad as each other’.

    Will Sinodinos get sucked in to this? I bet he’s anxious and it seems at the moment invisible.

    The ‘worm’ seems to be turning.

    (Also Nats in almost open rebellion about gas extraction in the Riverina).

    Poor BO’F – up until about 2 months ago his biggest problem was the 2nd airport. He must be wishing for the good old days.


    Labor had a decent leader it would be 60 – 40

  17. grubbidok

    Who’s John Robertson?

  18. docantk

    Labor is holding a community preselection in Balmain and former member Verity Firth is up against current Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne. Will be an interesting contest. Firth just lost the seat in the 2011 debacle by 206 votes (finishing 3rd behind the liberal and green) before her preferences elected Parker. I firmly believe Labor will re-take Balmain in the general election with either of these two as the candidate.

  19. Socrates

    It is the job of voters to sweep out corrupt governments. NSW voters were correct to sweep out Labor for that reason. If the Liberals have themselves become corrupt after just one incomplete term, then the voters are correct to do the same to them. Corruption ruins nations, as Greece and USA both demonstrate. The less security politicians have, the will be the sense of entitlement in office.

    This poll is despite still pretty mediocre numbers for Robertson. I can only hope Labor really has cleaned out its ranks before the next state election. It only takes one dodgy candidate to tarnish a team, as Craig Thomson and Scott Driscoll both demonstrated.


    grubbidok – He’s the bald guy who does Fred Kite impersonations.


  21. liyana

    Perhaps BOF isn’t right wing enough for some? Or perhaps people don’t like having their drinking times determined by government lockouts?

    Either way this result is very hard to believe.

    As for Parker in Balmain. He’s a very strong and well known candidate who has been around for years…I don’t know much about Byrne, but whatever happens in the ALP preelection, it will be close… Don’t forget that there are many ‘alternative’ types in the area…


    Liyana – I’m a balmain basketweaver, and I’ve heard almost nothing about Parker since he got elected. Byrne seems to have a lot more visibility. I don’t know much about internal party politics, but I suspect Byrne will be a tough competitor.

  23. Al Dente

    Remember the last NSW by-election in the Shire of Sydney attracted a history-making swing against the NSW government of something in the order of ~25ish percent.

    So this result is perhaps less surprising than it first appears.

    BO’F is not attracting personal opprobrium, but his government is getting some baggage:

    – 3 LNP MPs feel the tender touch of the ICAC.
    – The late-night venue restrictions are almost as popular as Newman’s bikie laws.
    – Drought is weighing heavily on rural voters’ minds.
    – The interstate carnage in manufacturing jobs is beginning to focus NSW voters’ minds on their own employment.
    – NSW government services are being slashed all over the place…the “efficiency dividend” that the NSW Treasurer has imposed is starting to bite. NSW voters are starting to notice that NSW government offices and services now have fewer frontline staff, longer queues and reduced operating hours in all sorts of health, transport and education service areas.

    NSW voters are starting to realise that ‘austerity’ impacts on THEM and THEIR OWN FAMILY, moreso than on the ‘lazy, do-nothing dole bludgers’ phantoms of their fevered imaginations.

  24. NathanA

    Remember the electoral distribution in NSW has thrown three Labor vs Green seats. Summer Hill, Newtown and Balmain. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Greens lost Balmain and won Newtown, for instance.

  25. mikehilliard


    I’ve met Parker, seems like a nice bloke, about 7 feet tall. Had our primary for a school excursion through parliament house on which I was the parent helper.

    Anyhow if this poll is to be believed BOF can lay it at Abbott’s doorstep. 🙂

  26. sohar

    So this poll was taken before the Qantas job loss fiasco and the lack of government concern over it – might have even been lower if taken a couple of days later.

  27. Diogenes

    I just don’t get this poll at all. The impression I get is that BOF is the best current premier and he’s basically a Labor premier who even PBers seem to prefer to Robertson.

  28. shellbell

    Time for ALP to replace Robertson because whatever the merits of the poll he will be shredded in an election campaign.

  29. William Bowe

    My take on the poll is that Hartcher, Webber and Spence have lanced Labor’s boil by putting a bipartisan face on the corruption endemic to NSW state politics. Traditional Labor voters deem it safe to go home now, and the days of 60%+ Coalition 2PPs are firmly in the past. The Coalition will still win the next election comfortably – a 51-49 poll at the mid-point of the term is in no way inconsistent with that – and the margin will be bigger than it need be if Robertson stays as leader. But it will be a “normal” election result by historical standards, and polling from now on will reflect that.

  30. outside left

    William, your prediction is based on nothing more going wrong for this mob ? I predict that a lot more excreta is a gonna hit the fan in the next 12 months.

  31. docantk

    The closing of Manly hospital and downgrading of Mona Vale Hospital with the replacement being the privately run Northern Beaches Hospital has yet to gain much attention in voter land: but surely the public hospital unions will start to publicise the issue soon? Public hospital staff employed by a private company with conditions only guaranteed for 3 years. The saving grace for the Liberals is the affected area is a one-party state.

  32. spur212

    What William said

  33. shellbell

    William’s expectation gives ALP 15 + sits to win.

    What an opportunity for bright talented diverse youth to flood in!

    That would require a turning away of a recent preference for selection of 60 something men

  34. shellbell

    amazing autocorrect to turn “additional seats” to “sits”

  35. Simon Katich

    The Mordoch press played a high stakes game last Federal election. Their overt and extraordinary coverage – especially the Sydney papers – has them pegged as propagandists by the majority of voters (including a large swath of people who voted LNP at that election). In my view it wasnt just a one trick hand, it has also weakened their influence. I think this poll partly reflects this.

  36. outside left

    Shellbell, here on the south coast, Glen Kolomeitz has been selected for Kiama, and in two weeeks Fiona Phillips will be selected for South Coast. Both are exceptional candidates and will either win or go very close. Young, talented, unaligned and no baggage. Garth and Shelley are worried!

  37. outside left

    Should be ‘Gareth’

  38. dave

    I like to think abbott helped these polls results in a significant way as well.

    More abbott. Lots more!

  39. Darn

    Just tuning in and don’t know if anyone has mentioned the cricket yet. Does anyone have any confidence in Australia’s chances after the debacle last time?

  40. Arrnea Stormbringer

    @ Psephos 13

    If Labor retakes Wyong, Balmain and The Entrance (which I’ve already said is possible on the swing here), then the only independent seats left in play are Sydney (held by a very popular independent and protégé of the very popular Clover Moore), Lake Macquarie (I don’t think it’d go back to Labor – but I’m not sure how popular Piper is) and Terrigal (Labor’s support here is much too low to make it past the LNP who polled 61% of the first-preference vote last time).

  41. geoffrey

    robertson out now … no bald union bully looking types

  42. Psephos

    [The Mordoch press played a high stakes game last Federal election. Their overt and extraordinary coverage – especially the Sydney papers – has them pegged as propagandists by the majority of voters (including a large swath of people who voted LNP at that election). In my view it wasnt just a one trick hand, it has also weakened their influence. I think this poll partly reflects this.]

    I think we greatly over-estimate how much the public knows or cares about media bias. I recall there was a poll in Sydney showing that a majority of voters didn’t know who owned the Telegraph (or something like that – William may recall the details), which is pretty amazing considering how much the chattering classes go on about Murdoch.

  43. leftwingpinko

    “William may recall the details), which is pretty amazing considering how much the chattering classes go on about Murdoch”

    Oh how you mock the “chattering classes”…

    I wonder… who does the ALP and its associated hacks actually represent? Good luck to a major political party that wants to disown a large slab of its base.

  44. geoffrey

    Posted Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 12:03 am | PERMALINK
    “William may recall the details), which is pretty amazing considering how much the chattering classes go on about Murdoch”

    Oh how you mock the “chattering classes”…

    I wonder… who does the ALP and its associated hacks actually represent? Good luck to a major political party that wants to disown a large slab of its base.
    —not a bad result for an unrepresentative pack of hacks … and tell, who does LP now represent. i prefer to be a critique of labor on association there is no opposition (to labor) and way abbott is going that could be any day or year now

  45. Leroy Lynch


    [Back Badgerys – or lose, Barry O’Farrell told
    March 2, 2014
    Kirsty Needham
    State Politics Editor

    Premier Barry O’Farrell’s reluctance to back a second Sydney airport and refusal to commit a cent to airport infrastructure are out of step with strong voter support for construction to begin at Badgerys Creek.

    Mr O’Farrell is being lobbied by his western Sydney MPs to get behind a second airport. The Liberal member for Mulgoa, Tanya Davies, met him last week to convey a message from her electorate that they want the airport built, and the rail and road upgrades it would bring.

    ”He needed to be made aware of the feedback I was getting,” said Mrs Davies, whose seat includes the Badgerys Creek site. ”They said two things: they were in support, or wanted to see the infrastructure delivered.”

    This comes as an exclusive Fairfax-Nielsen poll shows 72 per cent of NSW voters want an airport at Badgerys Creek, while only 20 per cent oppose it. Support is even stronger among major party voters (74 per cent).

    The support is in stark contrast to a Newspoll taken 16 years ago that found 70 per cent of voters were either opposed or undecided.]

  46. Leroy Lynch


    [O’Farrell steadies support after summer of discontent
    The Australian
    March 03, 2014 12:00AM

    NSW’S opposition Labor Party has failed to dent the popularity of the state’s Coalition government, despite a summer dominated by controversy over alcohol-fuelled violence and the investigation of three Liberal MPs by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

    The latest Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, shows the Liberal-Nationals coalition remains in a dominant position, with a two-party-preferred vote of 58 per cent, largely unchanged from the previous poll, in September and October last year.


    The results fly in the face of a poll published in the Fairfax press at the weekend, which had Labor ahead 51 per cent to 49 per cent in the two-party-preferred stakes, despite Labor registering only 35 per cent of the primary vote.

    The poll on which that result was based was taken only last week, while the Newspoll survey was conducted over January and last month and reflects the more consistent view of the electorate.]

    Nielsen was the weekend poll, this one is cumulative (State questions are asked each time they do a fed newspoll, then added up after a couple of months), which may explain as least some of the difference.

  47. citizen

    The Newspoll results issued today must have been taken from quite a small sample. In Jan-Feb there were only two Federal Newspolls (10/2 and 25/2).


  48. sustainable future

    how can polls differ so widely. are they both rogues at the far ends of the spectrum/bell curve? Unfortunately, I think Newspoll is probably more correct. From Victoria at least, O’Farrell looks sane and moderate compared to other libs and the NSW ALP so tainted and up against a dominant far-right print and broadcast media to be unelectable for at least another 2 terms. Has anything happened in NSW (other than abbott) that would explain the Neilsen result? When the next polls correct this, expect the Neilsen to be reported as a great swing against the ALP and the Newspoll not reported as a swing to labor (“O’Farrell still dominant”, etc).


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