One Nation’s primary vote in Western Australia has surged by 10 per cent in the latest Newspoll, bolstering its chances of claiming seats at the March state election and deciding which party will win critical electorates.
The survey, published by The Australian newspaper, suggests Labor has slightly strengthened its two-party preferred lead over the Liberals to 54–46 per cent — up two percentage points from the last Newspoll published in November.
But the increase in support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, to 13 per cent of the primary vote, will make its preferences crucial as Premier Colin Barnett’s Government seeks re-election for a third term.
One Nation preferences against the Liberals helped bring down Richard Court’s Government in 2001.
Now, with the state’s economy in decline after the end of the mining boom and with unemployment among the highest in the country, One Nation appears to have again emerged as a significant player in WA politics.
On Wednesday, the Liberals and Labor refused to rule out striking any preference deals with One Nation.
But last month, One Nation’s state leader Colin Tincknell rejected any suggestion of a potential blanket deal with the Government or Opposition.
The Newspoll survey also asked One Nation voters how they would allocate their preferences.
They were divided 50-50 between Labor and the Liberals.
Ms Hanson visited WA last month to launch her party’s campaign, with a platform that includes opposing the privatisation of Western Power.
‘Nothing to fear’ from One Nation: Grylls
The survey found primary support for the Nationals dropped by 1 per cent to 5 per cent.
Speaking before the poll was released, Nationals Leader Brendon Grylls said his party had “nothing to fear from One Nation”, and described votes for the party as an “impulse buy”.
Meanwhile, the Liberals’ primary vote fell from 34 to 30 per cent, while Labor’s primary vote also dropped, from 41 to 38 per cent.
The Greens remained steady on 9 per cent. Mr Barnett’s satisfaction ratings remained the lowest ever recorded by a state leader at only 32 per cent, while 57 per cent of people surveyed were dissatisfied with him.
Mr McGowan continued his personal popularity with voters, with 46 per cent of respondents happy with the way he was doing his job and 34 per cent dissatisfied.