I use Newest as my default for the Questions tab on all Stack Exchange sites, and that works well for me on Internet Explorer. However, on the iOS Mobile App it does not work and I have to constantly change from Active to Newest - but that's another story.
On Meta GIS Stack Exchange we have a Q&A at the moment which has re-raised an ongoing perception that many edits of old Questions prevent new Questions getting due attention. I have never seen this as a problem, because I know that choosing Newest on the browser makes that stick to the Questions tab, and as a backup I simply use http://gis.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=newest to always access the Newest queue.
However as soon as I hit the main icon on the site (at top left, like I suspect most must) it takes me to http://gis.stackexchange.com/ and the Active queue, ignoring that I have chosen Newest everywhere else.
I think your request to have the default landing page be to the Newest queue is an important one because I think it would reduce tension in some Stack communities.
If this default is already a site specific setting I would be keen to be made aware of that.