NSW voters are backing Premier Dominic Perrottet to lead the state after the March election despite Labor enjoying a slender lead in support over the incumbent Coalition government.
The Coalition and Labor both suffered a slight drop in popularity but the opposition remained three points ahead of the government however it could be Mr Perrottet’s popularity which delivers an election win.
Voters will head to the polls on March 25 with the Coalition hoping to continue its streak of election victories since it returned to government with a major win in 2011.
Polling conducted by Resolve Strategic for the Sydney Morning Herald saw Mr Perrottet extend his lead over Opposition Leader Chris Minns in the preferred premier vote.
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Despite Mr Perrottet beginning the year with an embarrassing admission he wore a Nazi costume to his 21st birthday the Liberal leader enjoyed a three point jump in the preferred premier vote.
Mr Perrottet was supported by 33 per cent of the voters while Mr Minns remained steady at 29 per cent. More than a third of participants remain undecided.
One voter told Sky News Australia he believed Mr Perrottet was “better premiership material” and that it was Mr Minns’ colleagues who would lead to his downfall.
“I think Chris Minns is very good but I think the rest of people standing behind him in the Labor Party are fairly ordinary,” he said.
“I think the people of NSW have got a fairly long memory of how corrupt they were when they were last in power so I think we’ll probably be sticking with the Liberals for all their faults and foibles but I think they’re a better bet.”
The survey found 80 per cent of participants were aware of Mr Perrottet’s recent admission he wore a Nazi costume but only 12 per cent said it would affect their vote.
Two NSW residents also told Sky News Australia reporter Kenny Heatley the embarrassing admission would not affect their vote.
“I don’t think that’s an issue quite frankly he was what, 20 at the time, at his 21st birthday I don’t think that’s an issue,” one said.
“He’s done a great job, I think there’s been a big kerfuffle about something he did when he was 21 or whenever it was,” another voter said.
The January survey is the second consecutive poll Mr Perrottet has recorded a rise in the preferred premier poll with his support at its highest levels since he took over from Gladys Berejiklian.
The primary vote category was a different story to the preferred premier as Labor (38 per cent) retained its lead over the Coalition (35 per cent) despite both parties dropping one point from the last survey.
The Coalition Government has not led Labor in the polling since the end of February 2022 and it will be concerned about the growing support for the Greens (11 per cent) and independents (10 per cent) with both recording a one point jump.
Independent candidates in NSW are threatening to draw voters away from Coalition MPs in historically blue ribbon seats in a similar fashion to what was seen at May’s Federal Election.
The traditionally safe Liberal seats of Manly, Pittwater, Lane Cove and North Shore on Sydney’s lower north shore all have independents challenging incumbent Liberals.
The differences between the way the federal and NSW election operate such as optional preferencing and spending caps will mean independents will face a tougher battle when it comes to dislodging safe liberal MPs.
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