Three's a crowd: Cowper candidates Luke Hartsuyker (Nationals), left, Paul Sekfy (ALP) and Dominic King (Greens).
Three's a crowd: Cowper candidates Luke Hartsuyker (Nationals), left, Paul Sekfy (ALP) and Dominic King (Greens).

Poll tips ALP for Cowper

YOUR vote will be so important on Saturday it could change the political complexion of NSW or save a major political party from oblivion.

A national poll predicts Cowper will fall to the ALP after 47 years of conservative representation.

The research, conducted by Telereach Pty Ltd on behalf of JWS Research Pty Ltd on August 14-15, shows the seat will be decided on preferences from the independent and minor parties, giving a swing of 5.2 per cent towards the Labor Party on a two-party preferred basis.

The poll predicts that while sitting Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker will harvest the largest percentage of primary votes, 38.7 per cent, compared to only 34.5 per cent of primaries for ALP candidate Paul Sekfy, the Greens’ Dominic King; Independent John Arkan and Christian Democrat Deborah Lions between them will gain 26.9 per cent of the primary vote, making their preferences the deciding factor.

While Ms Lions has directed her preferences to Mr Hartsuyker, both Mr King and Mr Arkan have left their preferences open making every individual voting decision crucial.

Compared to the national average, the poll shows Cowper voters are ‘greener’ than average as well as less enamoured of the two major parties.

It also shows more Cowper voters prefer Julia Gillard as PM (46 per cent) and fewer locals are in favour of Tony Abbott (36 per cent).

A striking feature of the poll is the predicted growth in the Greens vote, with the research showing 15.8 per cent of voters will choose Bellingen teacher Dominic King.

In the last Federal election in 2007, just over 11 per cent of voters went Green.

Local candidates are understandably wary of the poll predictions.

“I will believe it when I see it,” said ALP candidate Paul Sekfy, who first tried to wrest the seat from the Nationals in 1993.

“The way forward for Cowper is to change its representation to make it a swinging seat and it is only a swinging seat when it changes representation to having an ALP member.”

“Three out of five candidates in this electorate are campaigning for change. There’s a great big poll coming on Saturday and that’s the poll that counts,” said Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker.

Mr Hartsuyker said he had worked hard for his electorate over nine years and would be putting his case to be returned as the local member up until 6pm on Saturday.

Riding high on the national growth of the Green vote since the 2007 poll, Dominic King said during the campaign voters have warmed to the Greens stance on issues like the mining tax.

“I think people have gone past what the general perceived view of what the greens has been and are listening to what we have to say,” he said.

Mr King said the fact the Greens have not elected to channel preferences to either major party might have affected voter’s opinions.

“The reason we didn’t elect to distribute preferences to Labor is so that we’re seen as a separate group from Labor and as the third political force, and that is starting to resonate throughout the electorate,” he said.

A further factor will be the ‘donkey vote,’ which this year favours the ALP, because Mr Sekfy’s name is at the top of the list of candidates on the ballot paper and Mr Hartsuyker’s name is at the bottom.



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