The next NSW state election will be “very close” but Premier Dominic Perrottet isn’t giving up his fight to win a fourth term for the coalition government.
A Newspoll and Resolve poll released on Saturday by The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald, respectively, show NSW Labor is on track to claim government for the first time since 2011.
“It’s not for me to commentate on polls,” Mr Perrottet told reporters on Sunday when asked about the polls.
“What I will say is that the next election will be a very close election.”
The premier urged voters to look at the government’s track record in dealing with the aftermath of droughts, bushfires, floods and the pandemic. He denied the John Barilaro New York job saga had taken some of the shine off the coalition’s record.
Mr Perrottet acknowledged some decisions made during the coronavirus pandemic weren’t popular with people in areas such as western Sydney, who lived through some of the strictest lockdowns rules in Australia.
“It has been a difficult time … for every single person across our state, and we stood side by side with them during that period of time,” he said.
“Whilst we may have not got every decision right during the pandemic, I believe in the main that we did.”
The state election is locked in for March next year.
The Newspoll showed NSW Labor had 40 per cent of the primary vote against the government on 35 per cent and was ahead on a two-party preferred basis, at 54 per cent to 46 per cent.
The Resolve Strategic showed Labor on 43 per cent of the primary vote, compared to 30 per cent for the coalition.
But the Resolve also showed Labor Leader Chris Minns was running equal to Mr Perrottet on the preferred premier stakes – with both on 28 per cent.
“The polls are going to change a lot in the next few months … I’m sure the next election will be a cliffhanger,” Mr Minns said on Saturday.
The Barilaro affair has captured much of the political air in the past few months, causing headaches for the government.
Multiple reviews into the former deputy premier and Nationals leader’s appointment to a plum overseas trade role have found discrepancies in the job process. Mr Barilaro has already stepped away from the job.
But Labor has also been experiencing turbulence after their Bankstown MP Tania Mihailuk was removed from the opposition’s inner circle.
This happened after she used parliamentary privilege to accuse a local mayor and potential upper house candidate of corruption.
The Newspoll was conducted between September 19 and September 22 and the Resolve poll on September 18.