New South Wales

Mar 23, 2011

Essential: NSW getting worse for Labor, is Robertson gone?

NSW voters are waiting for Labor with something a lot bigger than a baseball bat, according to Essential's final poll. The party is set for a truly shocking performance in Sydney, where it is on just 20% primary vote.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

NSW Labor has continued to slip further behind the Coalition in the final Essential Research poll before Saturday’s State election. On Essential’s three-week average, Labor has lost roughly one point a week on its primary vote through the campaign and has continued that form into the last week. It has now fallen to a primary vote of just 23%, with the Coalition on 55%. With the Greens on 11%, this means a Coalition two-party preferred lead of 66-34%, based on a sample of 971. The campaign by Kristina Keneally, while strong on the never-give-in stuff, appears to have further eroded Labor's already disastrous position. The only faintly positive outcome for Labor is that it continues to fare much better outside Sydney. It’s on 29% regionally, and "only" trails 42-58% on a 2PP basis, giving some faint hope to regional MPs like Monaro's Steve Whan, who have been running campaigns devoid of all reference to Labor. The 2010 federal election was notable for the party’s strong performance outside Sydney, with its sitting MPs picking up a swing to Labor. But the corollary of the stronger regional polling is Labor’s truly shocking performance in Sydney, where it is on just 20% primary vote. A statewide 66-34% result would, based on Antony Green’s election calculator, leave Labor on 14 seats, but a 71-29% result in Sydney electorates would turn the party into a cricket team, prevent putative post-election leader John Robertson from moving from the Legislative Council to the seat of Blacktown (in net terms, a good outcome for Labor) and leave Keneally teetering on the brink of defeat in Heffron. Labor is particularly struggling among 18-34 year olds, with a stronger Green vote of 14% leaving it on 21%. It shapes as a perhaps unique election: Labor could perform better among over 55s and in regional areas than it does elsewhere.

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6 thoughts on “Essential: NSW getting worse for Labor, is Robertson gone?

  1. dgh1


    Do you think this is credible? There is something awe-inspiring, if frightening from the point of view of having an accountable government if it were to come to pass, in contemplating such a result.

  2. David

    Polls polls and more polls, when will we be rid of them? Repetitive, nothing new, just more of the same. Haven’t had a punt on how many seats Labor end up with have you Bernardo? Crikey spends more time on the NSW election than the Daily Telegraph and the SMH combined.

  3. Jenny Haines

    As a Labor Party member more or less continuously since 1975, I would like to take this moment to thank the so called geniuses and tacticians of the party that have brought us to this point. Well done (NOT!) This would have to be one of the lowest ebbs in the party’s history and it takes a special kind of person to get us to this point. The Labor Party has been through ebbs and flows before but this one is going to take a long time to recover from and it is going to need a lot of hard work. Is there anyone left who is willing to do the hard work to rebuild the party or is this the end for the Labor Party in NSW? Maybe there is a long cycle in politics where parties just run out of puff in a changed world.
    I can’t believe that John Robertson will lose in Blacktown. There may be some problems there with him being imposed by Head Office from outside but I have been out to Blacktown recently to do agency work in nursing and John seems to me to be the only man in town politcally speaking.

  4. John james

    You could not live in Sydney, and be asking the questions posted above.
    One need only recall the collective ‘groan’ that went up in Sydney when, with straight face, Julia Gillard, Kristina Keneally and Anthony Albanese, announced the Epping-Parramatta Rail link during the recent federal Election campaign, yea, you know, the one when Julia also said…well, I do not want to rub salt in the collective wounds of long suffering Sydney-siders.
    Labor are a ‘busted-arse’ outfit, nationally, but especially in NSW.
    Can Robertson lose Blacktown?
    Can that wonderful Union guy, who shafted Morris Iemma, and cost the state 15 billion dollars, lose Blacktown, quintessential Western Sydney?
    Is the Pope Catholic?
    You bet your sorry Labor arse he can, and should.

  5. Had Enough

    The ALP will parachute in some heavy hitters to save Robertson. Perhaps Bob Hawke, Kevin Rudd. The rest maybe poison.

  6. marce

    Bad poll numbers in Sydney are not a ‘corollary’ of good regional numbers. One doesn’t actually follow necessarily as a consequence of the other.

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