OUR SAY: Voters send clear messages to NSW Premier
THE Liberal/National Coalition might still hold a significant margin in the lower house of the New South Wales Parliament, but you certainly wouldn't describe it as comfortable.
The margin became a little thinner yesterday, when the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate in the Orange by-election, Philip Donato, was declared the winner by just 50 votes.
However, the loss of one of the Coalition's prime regional seats is of far more significance than a small number of votes.
The message from the by-election result, and the 34% swing against the Nationals, is that the result of the 2019 State Election is far from certain for the government.
It also shows how quickly voters' favour can sway, particularly in these volatile times for politicians, and will have raised the hopes and expectations of Labor leader Luke Foley.
The good news for Mike Baird and his team is that the election is still two and a half years away and, if they learn the lessons of the past six months, there is time to stop their slide in the polls.
Walking back the decision to ban greyhound racing wasn't enough to save Orange but will help the government's re-election hopes.
Turning around discontent over forced council amalgamations across the State will be far harder to achieve.