New South Wales 2015: qual

 If the Liberal Party wins this state election they might owe as much of their success to Sydney traffic as they owe to Mike Baird's high approval rating.

According to the polls, there is trouble brewing for the coalition in northern seats like Tweed, Ballina and Lismore, with some swings of perhaps even 20 per cent on the cards, but in Sydney and environs swings seem to be smaller and unlikely to turn the government out.

While the public analysis has centred on a juxtaposition of asset sales, which appear to be fairly generally opposed, with the character of Mike Baird, which is fairly generally liked, it misses another more central juxtaposition. The assets are being leased to spend money on traffic infrastructure, mostly around Sydney. It is probably not Mike Baird's character that is countering privatisation, but the benefits that will accrue from reinvesting them.

Issue NSW 15 03 25 Thumb
What is the most important election issue?

The Leximancer map shows that amongst our virtual focus group drawn from 523 voters asset sales are an issue for mostly Labor voters, while Liberal voters are most concerned about the economy. What is front and centre for most voters, and in the middle of the map, indicating that it is associated equally with most of the voting blocs, are "transport", "infrastructure", "roads" and "housing".

Leader popularity (last Queensland election aside) is generally weakly correlated with whether a party will win an election or not. What is strongly correlated is how parties address the issues which matter to voters most. Having a leader who is liked helps you to sell your message, and opens up opportunities, but if the message is not relevant, the salesman will have limited effect.

When respondents are asked how they will vote and why another set of issues is overlaid on assets versus infrastructure, and that is the issue of corruption. It appears that Labor gets the worse of this, although both parties are blamed. It also plays into asset sales with a proportion of voters thinking that the assets are being sold for corrupt reasons. This is being pushed by Luke Foley at the moment in his targeting of a potential Chinese buyer. I think that is dangerous for him. Eddie Obeid is still a name on everyone's lips.

First Pref NSW 15 03 25 ThumbWhy will you vote for that particular party?

 When looking at the individual approval ratings, hopes are held high for Mike Baird. It's not often that you see the word "honest" associated with a politician. However, it seems in NSW that if people don't like you, they see you as being probably corrupt, and that shows up on this Leximancer map as well.

Baird Approval NSW 15 03 25 Thumb
How strongly do you approve or disapprove of Mike Baird?

Foley is an unknown, and it shows on his map, not that being unknown should be fatal (just ask Daniel Andrews). His opponents are concerned that he is run by the unions and for ALP corruption.

Foley Approval NSW 15 03 25 Thumb
How strongly do you approve or disapprove of Luke Foley?

In the end they strongly approve of Mike Baird, and here is why. On one side it is a plan for the future, and on the other privatisation. Having a plan for the future is a necessary condition for winning a conventional election campaign, so as long as there is no strong protest vote, Baird looks to be on the safe side. However likely preference flows mean he needs a strong first preference lead to be sure of winning. The election campaign is not over yet.

Preferred Premier NSW 15 03 25 Thumb
Who is your preferred premier?

 

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