On Monday, The Australian published further detail from last week’s Newspoll survey regarding election issues. This showed the Coalition best to handle every issue going, the narrowest lead being for climate change (32-25) and the widest for the economy (59-18). What stands out for me is that the issues which have gained most since 2007 on the question of whether respondents considered them “very important” 2007 – the economy, up from 60 per cent to 71 per cent, and public transport and roads, up from 56 per cent 66 per cent – are the very ones on which the Coalition holds the most commanding leads (59-18 and 54-19 respectively). The same would probably have applied for “cost of living”, which 73 per cent rate very important with the Coalition favoured 50-24, but this was not part of the mix in the 2007 poll.


• The local branch of the Greens has opted to direct preferences to Labor in Coogee, while elsewhere the Greens will be directing preferences to independents Mike Jackson in Wallsend and Gillian Sneddon in Swansea. The Liberals will direct preferences to John Tate in Newcastle, Greg Piper in Lake Macquarie, Shayne Connell in Wallsend and Barry Johnston in Charlestown. Johnston will in turn direct preferences to Liberal candidate Andrew Cornwell. According to the Newcastle Herald, Johnston, Cornwell and Labor member Matthew Morris are “said to be evenly matched in polling”.

• Market researchers purporting to be from Marrickville Council have reportedly been asking respondents if they were aware that the local mayor, Greens candidate Fiona Byrne, had “led a boycott against Israel on council recently”, and inviting them to consider whether they thought foreign policy was properly the council’s concern. The council says it has not conducted any such polling.

• Antony Green on the possible impact of former Leichhardt mayor Marie Sheehan’s independent candidacy in Balmain: “The Liberals could lead on the first preferences and, if they do, a split-up of preferences between Labor, Greens and independents could lead to a surprise Liberal victory.”

• Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports that Labor strategists have “virtually written off Education Minister Verity Firth in Balmain, but still hold out hopes of saving Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt in Marrickville” – however, “On-the-ground Liberal sources suggest the opposite picture”. Salusinszky earlier reported that saving Tebbutt had become the number one priority of state Labor boss Sam Dastyari.

Amos Aikman of The Australian notes Kristina Keneally was putting more effort than you might have thought earlier this week into Wyong, held on a margin of 6.9 per cent: “Perhaps buoyed by unexpected wins in the nearby federal seats of Dobell and Robertson last year, the party is hoping for a successful Hail Mary pass.”

• Pre-poll voting commenced on Monday.

• Recent additions to the election guide have focused on the western and south-western suburbs: Riverstone, Granville, Macquarie Fields, East Hills, Toongabbie, Smithfield, Fairfield, Blacktown, Bankstown, Mount Druitt, Liverpool and Auburn.