It’s that time again, when politicians, journalists, commentators, political apparatchiks - everyone besides most actual voters - froth at the mouth over each daily stumble or ‘gotcha’ moment that could swing the March 23 NSW election.

That being said, there are many issues that concern the ‘mug-punter’ voter, and research suggests those same issues and campaign strategies interest broad sections of the voting public.

Party strengths and weaknesses

In the final days before voters head to the polls, swinging voters often make their choice based on the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the major parties.

The NSW Coalition will have a tough time pushing back against the brand damage caused by the shenanigans of their federal counterparts. They do, however, have a leader in Gladys Berejiklian who is considered competent, and a relatively cohesive team.

NSW Labor has nothing to lose in this election and can highlight every cost blow-out and train delay to make the Government look incompetent. They also have brand damage however from last time they were in government, along with a new leader struggling to raise his profile in Michael Daley.

Vision

Just before the 2016 election, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke lamented that in this modern age, there is no leader around the world you can point to and say “I’ll follow them”.

It’s this concept of ‘I’ll follow that’ that both major parties need to tap into if they hope to win the election.

Key to this is vision. A simple statement of four or five major benchmarks to be achieved – create jobs, keep power prices low, build better roads, healthcare for all and make our schools the best in Australia – and we need your support to get it done.

Of course policies outline how it will all be achieved, but voters want to see the type of banner a party is flying before they even consider a closer look, let alone hand over their vote.

Jobs

No, it’s not the economy, stupid, it’s how the economy affects me and my family. Will I have a job in six weeks, in six months? Will my child have a job once they finish their studies?

Over recent years polling has shown that while voters appreciate good economic management and like being told ‘the economy is strong’, there is often a disconnect with their own experience thanks to stagnant wages and cost-of-living pressures.

Each of the majors will need to clearly convey how their brand of economic management will keep the mortgage paid and the fridge full beyond the usual ‘jobs and growth’ mantra.

Power prices

This is a hot-button issue, as a lack of coherent national energy policy and a distortion of the market through massive subsidies to part-time energy sources, has led to skyrocketing power prices.

The Coalition’s Energy Minister copped it from the media in the final days of 2018 for spruiking a target of net zero emissions by 2050. Business and industry groups were quick to highlight the impact such a target would have on the economy.

Labor was notably silent on the issue, possibly because their energy policy calls for fifty percent of NSW power to come from renewables in just eleven years’ time.

Neither policy has played well with families from Western Sydney to Western NSW who just want their lights on and their power bills affordable.

Health, Education and Infrastructure

These three issues always play a role in any election.

Being able to go the doctor and have your kids receive a decent education is viewed as an inalienable right by voters. Expect to see a huge splash of cash on hospitals and classrooms over the next three months.

The Government will also be keen to promote its roll out of road and rail projects across the State while Labor will call out every mishap during the campaign.