The standout issue for regional voters before this month's NSW election is government integrity, a survey of 2500 newspaper readers has found.
More than three quarters of respondents to the ACM survey said integrity in government was a very important issue which would influence the way they voted at the March 25 election.
Pre-poll voting starts on Saturday as Dominic Perrottet's Liberal-National government and Chris Minns' Labor opposition prepare to fight out a tight election in 10 days' time.
Labor needs to win another 11 seats to form majority government, but the polls give the Opposition a chance of reclaiming power for the first time since 2011.
The voter interest in anti-corruption measures follows a term of government in which the Coalition has been rocked by a series of scandals.
Former premier Gladys Berejiklian resigned in 2021 after the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced it was investigating whether she had breached public trust by not disclosing her romantic relationship with disgraced Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire.
ICAC's findings have been delayed and are not expected to be released before the election. Ms Berejiklian has denied any alleged wrongdoing.
In July 2022, ICAC found former cabinet minister John Sidoti engaged in "serious corrupt conduct" in trying to improperly influence Liberal councillors at a Sydney council in relation to his family's property interests.
In early February, a cross-parliamentary committee found former deputy premier and Monaro MP John Barilaro's appointment to a plum New York trade post was "flawed" and former trade minister Stuart Ayres was "inappropriate" in his dealings with Mr Barilaro before he was offered the job.
An earlier ICAC investigation had found no evidence of corrupt conduct by Mr Barilaro or Mr Ayres.
Ms Berejiklian and Mr Barilaro also spoke unapologetically about pork-barrelling taxpayers' money into marginal electorates while in office.
ICAC also found in 2020 that government water management practices in the Murray-Darling Basin "unduly" favoured the irrigation industry over environmental considerations.
ACM ran the online survey in its stable of NSW newspapers, including this masthead and others throughout the Hunter, New England, Illawarra, Riverina and the state's north, south and west, from February 22 to March 7.
The results show readers also were strongly in favour of incentives to encourage health professionals and teachers to regional areas and backed government support for small business, including regional newspapers.
On a sliding scale of nought to 100, government integrity was the most important vote-deciding issue with an average score of 87, followed by health on 85, cost of living and education both on 77 and roads on 72.
Other issues which were important to voters included regional development (68), housing availability (67), environment and climate change (67) and job creation and renewable energy (both on 65).
Of lesser importance to respondents across the regions were events and tourism (46), indigenous affairs (54) and public transport (57).
The support for greater government transparency and more anti-corruption measures in state politics mirrors strong voter backing for a national integrity commission in the lead-up to last year's federal election, though NSW already has an anti-corruption watchdog.
The ACM survey findings differ slightly from other recent NSW-wide polls which have identified the cost of living as voters' top priority at the election.
Those polls also included respondents in Sydney, where spiralling interest rates have dealt a particularly heavy blow to mortgage holders.
The ACM survey, which attracted 2512 respondents, also found strong support for betting reform across regional NSW.
Respondents assigned a score of 66.31 out of 100 when asked to rate whether they agreed with the statement that cashless poker machines and other changes were needed to address problem gambling.
Mr Perrottet has vowed to make every poker machine in NSW cashless in five years if he wins office while Mr Minns has promised a trial of the cashless technology.
Sixty-four per cent of survey respondents said renters and people buying their first home needed more government support.