In the March 25 state election in New South Wales, Labor won 45 out of 93 seats in the lower house (up nine since the Election 2019), the Coalition 36 (down 12), the Greens three (stable), the Independents nine (up six), and the Shooters Zero (down three).
These results are awaiting a recount in Ryde, which the Liberals provisionally won by just 50 votes against Labor (50.05-49.95).
Labor won nine more seats than the Coalition, but the large cross bench puts them two seats short of an outright majority (47 seats). But Labor will have no problem governing with the support of the Greens and left-wing independents.
Read more: NSW Labor unlikely to win a majority after flopping pre-poll votes
Labor was unlucky in the close seatswinning all their seats by a margin of at least 51.6–48.4 (Penrith was the nearest Labor seat), while the Liberals won two seats by a narrow margin: Ryde and Holsworthy (there a Liberal margin of 50.4 -49.6).
While independents had risen six, there were only two new independents, in Wakehurst and Wollondilly, where independents won against the liberals. The three Shooters elected in 2019 have all successfully competed again as independents, as has former Liberal ward Gareth in Kiama.
Statewide primary voices were 37.0% Labor (up 3.7% since 2019), 35.4% Coalition (down 6.2%), 9.7% Greens (up 0.1%), 1, 8% One Nation (up 0.7%), 1.5% Shooters (down 1.9%) and 14.6% for all Others (+3.6%). Other includes 8.7% for independents (+3.9%). The ABC’s estimate of statewide two-party votes is currently 53.9-46.1 for Labor, a 5.9% swing for Labor.
There are many seats where Labor and the Liberal or National candidates have not finished in the top two, and there is currently no two-party count between Labor and Coalition in those seats. The Election Commission will eventually give us an official count of two parties statewide, including these seats, but for now, the ABC estimate is what we have.
NSW is the only Australian jurisdiction to use optional preference voting, rather than the mandatory preference voting used federally. ABC election analyst Anthony Green says the Liberals won four seats they would have lost under mandatory preference: two for Labor and two for Independents. So optional preferential likely cost Labor a majority.
Labor won Camden, East Hills, Monaro, Parramatta, Penrith, Riverstone and South Coast from the Coalition. Most of these gains were the result of double-digit swings to Labour, but there were only 2% swings in East Hills and Penrith. On the pre-election pendulumLabor missed out on two seats they should have taken given the statewide swing: Upper Hunter and Goulburn.
How did the polls go?
The table below compares the polls from the last two weeks of the election campaign with the results. Each poll is listed with fieldwork data, sample size, primary vote estimates for Labour, Coalition, Greens and all others, and Labour’s bipartisan estimate.
The last row in the table is the actual election result, using the ABC’s two-party estimate. Bold numbers in the poll estimates are where they came within 1% of the election result.
Newspoll was the only pollster to give Labor an edge over the primary vote, with the other polls all showing a tie. Although Morgan came closest with two party votes, they underestimated the votes of the major parties and overestimated the Greens. Freshwater was very close to both Labor and the Greens, but exaggerated the Coalition.
I believe Newspoll was the best pollster as it was fairly close to the bipartisan benchmark and rightly gave Labor a lead over the Coalition.
Resolve’s latest poll had independents at 8%, close to the 8.7% result for independents. The determination was too high for independents prior to the closing of the nominations, but their latest polls were accurate on the independent vote because they use real candidate lists.
Resolve has been Labour’s top pollster overall, both federally and in state polls since Labor won government in the May 2022 federal election. However, their latest NSW and Victorian polls underestimated Labour, and other polls were better.
Animal Justice a chance to win last place in the upper house
NSW’s upper house has 42 members with 21 every four years, so members serve eight-year terms. All 21 are elected by statewide proportional representation with optional preferences, so a quota is 1/22 of the vote or 4.5%.
With almost all voices initially countedthe ABC has Labor at 8.12 quota, the Coalition at 6.63, the Greens at 2.00, One Nation at 1.27, Legalize Cannabis at 0.79, the Liberal Democrats at 0.75, the Shooters at 0.68, Animal Justice at 0 .47 and Elizabeth Farrelly 0.28.
Eight Labour, six Coalition, two Greens and one One Nation will be elected, and Legalize Cannabis, the Liberal Democrats or Shooters are very unlikely to pass preferences. The battle is between the Coalition and Animal Justice for the final seat.
Below the line (BTL) votes are not counted in the first count. The check count includes these votes, but is so far only 59% of the total number of votes from the first count. The major parties perform relatively poorly on BTL votes and the minor parties do well. The ABC includes BTL votes that are already in the number of checks in the totals.
By extrapolating the likely behavior of the remaining BTL votes, analyst Kevin Bonham expects the coalition to have 6,599 quota and Animal Justice 0.475 when the control count is complete, provided there are no major errors in the first count, so the coalition’s seventh candidate would have 0.124 quota for.
If this happens, the Coalition will probably win the last seat, but Animal Justice has a chance. A Coalition victory would hold the left to an 11-10 victory in the 21 seats for the election, and an overall tie of 21-21, while an Animal Justice victory would give the left an overall majority of 22-20.
NSW’s upper house is expected to be finalized next week, when the “button” is pushed to distribute preferences electronically.
UK local elections and other international politics
I prescribed The Poll Bludger on April 6 about the May 4 English local elections, which Labor is expected to win easily. The Turkish elections of 14 May and the New Zealand elections in October were also discussed.