Just days before a critical by-election in New South Wales, a new poll shows Premier Gladys Berejiklian is the preferred premier among 57 per cent of voters, with just 17 per cent choosing Labor leader Jodi McKay.
The Resolve Political Monitor poll published on Wednesday in the Sydney Morning Herald found that even Labor voters prefer Ms Berejiklian, with NSW Labor’s primary vote slumping to 28 per cent.
Despite a string of scandals that have left the Berejiklian government in minority, the poll found the opposition’s vote has dropped five percentage points since the 2019 state election.
Last week a fourth government MP – Kiama MP Gareth Ward – moved to the crossbench amid allegations of sexual violence, which he denies.
Saturday’s by-election in the Upper Hunter was sparked by Nationals MP Michael Johnsen’s resignation after he was accused of raping a sex worker in 2019. He’s denied the allegations and has not been charged with any crime.
COVID response rewards government
However, the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic appears to have swung voters toward the status quo with the coalition’s primary vote climbing two percentage points since 2019 to 44 per cent.
Resolve founder Jim Reed told the Herald the polling of 1228 voters between mid-April and May suggested the recent scandals hadn’t hurt the government.
“The Berejiklian government is being rewarded for a positive performance during COVID …. little else matters at the moment and … many voters are not seeing a choice in Labor anyway,” he said.
Polling conducted in the Upper Hunter last week found the Nationals would struggle to hold the previously safe seat, meaning preference flows will be critical.
The YouGov poll of 400 people found 25 per cent support for Nationals candidate Dave Layzell while Labor’s Jeff Drayton is sitting on 23 per cent.