Experts

Labor stretches its lead in Newspoll as experts say Federal chaos is hurting local Liberals

THE Turnbull Government’s problems are having a massive effect on the State Liberals’ chances of re-election and may be dragging down their vote by as much as 5 per cent, polling analyst Kevin Bonham says.

His comments come after the latest Newspoll stretched federal Labor’s lead to 54-46 in two-party preferred terms after a recent run of 53-47 results.

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The poll result came after citizenship dramas and internal division over the $122 million same-sex marriage postal survey.

Recent polling in Tasmania revealed the possibility of a hung parliament after the scheduled March 2018 election.

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UTAS political scientist Richard Eccleston said momentum across Australia was with Labor.

“Clearly there is a relationship between state and federal votes for the major parties and the first indicator of a mood swing comes in state elections,” Prof Eccleston said.

“Since 2014 nearly all elections have gone to Labor with the unexpected result in Victoria and the unsurprising swing against the Barnett Government in WA.

“The 2016 Federal Election result was part of the pattern which began after the 2014 Budget and problems of the Abbott government.”

Dr Bonham said history showed that when state governments had a federal government of the same party, their re-election chances were 50-50.

“When the other party is in power federally, they nearly always retain with the percentage rising to 85 per cent,” he said.

He said it was unlikely the Liberals would want Mr Turnbull, who spoke at the State Council meeting in Launceston on Saturday, to be front and centre close to the election, which is still scheduled for March 2018.

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“They will want to be forging their own direction and stressing their own credentials,” Dr Bonham said.

He said the federal drag was probably about 5 per cent as “rough guesstimate”.

But Prof Eccleston said that the dire state of the Federal Government may also present an opportunity for the Hodgman Government.

“With the chaos that seems to be engulfing the Turnbull Government with chaos in the Senate and its wafer-thin majority perhaps there is an opportunity to emphasise the importance of majority Government and the stability it brings,” Prof Eccleston said.

“One of the big issues come March will be the hung parliament issue so perhaps there is a silver lining there for the Libs.”

The Newspoll showed Mr Turnbull was still preferred Prime Minister over Bill Shorten 43-33.

But the Coalition primary vote had dropped to 35 per cent compared with Labor’s 38 per cent.

Locally a ReachTEL poll in late July showed the state Liberals on 40.8 per cent to Labor’s 31.2 per cent.

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