Just days before a critical New South Wales by-election, a new poll shows Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian is the preferred prime minister among 57 percent of voters, with just 17 percent choosing Labor leader Jodi McKay .
The Resolve Political Monitor poll published Wednesday in the Sydney Morning Herald found that even Labor voters prefer Berejiklian, with the NSW Labor Party primary vote falling to 28 percent.
Despite a string of scandals that have left the Berezhiklian government in a minority, the poll found that the opposition vote had fallen by five percentage points since the 2019 state election.
Last week, a fourth government MP – Kiama MP Gareth Ward – went to the bench amid allegations of sexual violence, which he denies.
Saturday’s by-election in the Upper Hunter was triggered by the resignation of National MP Michael Johnsen after being accused of raping a sex worker in 2019. He has denied the allegations and has not been charged with no crime.
However, the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic appears to have tipped voters towards the status quo, with the main coalition vote climbing two percentage points since 2019 to 44%.
Resolve founder Jim Reed told the Herald that the poll of 1,228 voters between mid-April and May suggested the recent scandals had done no harm to the government.
“The Berejiklian government is being rewarded for a positive performance during COVID … whatever for now and … many voters don’t see a choice in the Labor Party anyway,” he said.
A poll in the Upper Hunter last week found that nationals would struggle to occupy the previously safe seat, meaning preference flows will be critical.
The YouGov poll of 400 people found 25 percent support for national candidate Dave Layzell while Labor’s Jeff Drayton sits on 23 percent.