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Baird has time to get out of the dog house

AAP logoAAP 11/10/2016

The good news for Mike Baird is the next NSW election is not for another 29 months.

After the belting he has copped over the greyhounds fiasco, the man dubbed "Magic Mike" is going to need that time to crawl out of the political dog house.

This time last year the NSW premier was the most popular politician in the country.

He was untouchable, able to float politically toxic ideas such as increasing the GST to 15 per cent without fear of damaging his status.

With a number of bold infrastructure projects on the go, he held a vice-like grip on the agenda with the Labor opposition regularly left in the shadows.

However, the fallout from lockout laws, West Connex and council amalgamations had already started to take some of the gloss off the former merchant banker before his sudden decision in July to ban greyhound racing.

Disgusted by a report that found up to 68,000 "uncompetitive" greyhounds were slaughtered in the past 12 years, the "conviction politician" announced a racing ban from next July.

Then the polls really started to hit, he had misread the electorate and his approval rating slid from 61 per cent in December to 39 a fortnight ago.

So three months after banning greyhound racing, Mr Baird cut a chastened figure during a 52-minute grilling at a media conference in which he announced his backflip.

He said he "was wrong" and that he was "sorry" but the thorniest questions centred on his credibility.

If he was prepared to make such a dramatic about face on greyhounds, what about other controversial areas such as lockout laws.

Having risen to the state's top job only seven years after entering politics, questions have been asked about whether Baird could handle the long, difficult days of leadership.

He would know that NSW is traditionally a Labor stronghold with the ALP holding power for 52 of the past 75 years and that Liberal premiers, with the exception of Robert Askin, just don't normally last that long.

His backdown has emboldened Labor and its leader Luke Foley's chances of taking back the state in 2019.

Now we find out how well Baird can scrap.

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