AN opinion poll published in weekend papers revealed both a lot and just a little about the state election on March 23.
The UComms/ReachTel state-wide poll of 1019 voters showed that Labor, under the leadership of Michael Daley, holds a narrow 51-49 lead over the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis.
That result tells us this election is close, but we already knew that.
What is does not tell us, though, is just how those votes will be distributed seat-by-seat – and that’s what really matters.
The Berejiklian Government needs to lose just six of its seats to be forced into minority government territory while Labor must pick up nine seats to govern alone.
With many seats seemingly on a knife's edge with less than two weeks to go, no one can predict with any real certainty just what will happen once the votes are counted, but Labor must still take some comfort from the weekend's poll. After all, whenever these results are published, you would prefer to be in front than behind.
Perhaps the real lesson from the poll, however, is that voters in electorates with strong independent or minor party candidates must really focus now on how they want this election to play out.
In the normal course of events, as the electorate of Orange has found in recent years, having an independent or minor party MP as your representative will often mean you go to the bottom of the list when funding is distributed.
The current Coalition Government, more than most, has made no secret of the fact it wanted to look after Liberal and National electorates first and Bathurst has been a major beneficiary.
In a minority government situation, though, that is turned on its head and suddenly it's the independent and minor party MPs that have all the power.
Their powerful bargaining position usually means money will start flowing to their electorates as the government shores up the votes it needs on the floor of parliament.
It's a high risk, high reward gamble for voters.
If we do find ourselves with a minority government, the electorates that turn their backs on Labor and the Coalition on March 23 could find themselves entering four golden years of government investment.
If either Labor or the Coalition can scramble to a majority, however, you can guess which seats will start missing out again.