Exit poll points to Liberals losing Coogee, as climate change emerges as the top election issue

SYDNEY, March 23, 2019 - The Liberal Party is on track to lose the eastern suburbs seat of Coogee, with exit polling indicating a strong swing against sitting member Bruce Notley-Smith as at 2.30pm today.

Thirty-five percent of voters ranked climate change and environment policy as the number-one issue that determined their vote, ahead of the economy (25 percent) and heath (12 percent).

That figure was even higher among Liberal “deserters” – those who voted Liberal in 2015 but not this time. In this group, almost half (43 percent) said climate was the most important issue influencing their vote.

Coogee is the Liberal’s second-most marginal seat after East Hills. Exit polling commissioned by Greenpeace and the Nature Conservation Council had the Liberals’ primary vote at 31 percent, down more than 15 percent, and the Labor vote up 8.5 points to 41 percent. While this is an interim result, it points to a comfortable Labor victory.

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “Voters are deserting the NSW Liberals for eight years of inaction on climate and energy, just as they punished the Liberals in Victoria and the Wentworth by-election.

“People are fed up with excuses and delaying tactics by the Coalition, which has prevented action on climate change to protect big coal corporate profits.

“Ms Berejiklian has done little to respond to climate change even though New South Wales has been gripped by drought, scorched by bushfires and sweltered through record heat waves during her term as Premier.

“While other states have acted on climate and taken control of their energy futures, NSW has abdicated responsibility for these issues to their federal Coalition colleagues, with disastrous consequences.”

In a dire warning for Scott Morrison, and a slew of Coalition MPs in marginal seats across the country, one in two voters said the Federal Liberal Party’s position on climate change and the

environment made them less likely to vote for the NSW Liberal party.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Campaigner Alix Foster Vander Elst said: “It is becoming more and more obvious that inaction on climate change is a vote killer. Scott Morrison ignored that message in the Wentworth by-election and the Victorian election, but maybe third time around he will get it.

“This election has been shaped by climate and the federal election won’t be different – voters are not going to put up with inaction any more.

“Gladys Berejiklian put action on climate change on hold in the misguided belief that voters wouldn’t notice, but they have. When 79 percent of people are saying the issue influenced their voice, then it’s time to act.

“The Coalition can no longer ignore what the people consistently nominate as a priority. Australians want real solutions to address the climate crisis.”   

 

Methodology

Exit polling was conducted by Lonergan Research. Researchers held face-to-face interviews with 1481 respondents at 14 booths in the electorate of Coogee between 8am and 2pm on Saturday, March 23.

For information on the methodology of the poll, contact:
Chris Lonergan, Lonergan Research: 0421 583 333

Notes

[1] http://pastvtr.elections.nsw.gov.au/SGE2015/la/coogee/dop/dop/index.htm

For interviews contact:

Martin Zavan | Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner | 0424 295 422 | [email protected]

James Tremain | Nature Conservation Council | 0419 272 254