The Tasmanian Government has fallen in the popularity stakes just six months after being re-elected in majority, with Labor leader Rebecca White surging past Premier Will Hodgman as preferred Premier.
The latest EMRS poll of 1000 Tasmanians was taken last week as State Parliament was sitting, and less than a week after the Federal leadership spill in Canberra.
It reveals support for the Liberal Government has fallen 11 points since May, leaving them with a small two-point lead over the Labor Party at 36 to 34 points.
The result takes the Liberals back to levels of support they were receiving in late 2017, before the state election campaign began.
Labor’s primary vote also increased by four points from the May survey, with Ms White leading as preferred Premier by 46 per cent to Mr Hodgman’s 38 per cent.
Ms White was also preferred Premier in August and December last year.
EMRS chief operations director Samuel Paske said the change in support for the Liberals was significant, but did not clearly translate to an increase in support for opposition parties.
“The fall in support for the Government from 47 per cent to 36 per cent is a significant movement in the last 3 months, returning their primary vote to that observed in late 2017 prior to the election campaign,” he said.
“Nonetheless, it should be noted that with support currently standing at 34 per cent for Labor, there was not a commensurate gain overall for the Opposition, nor for the Greens whose support at 16 per cent is up just two points since May.”
‘Honeymoon is over’: analyst
The poll revealed a dramatic rise in people planning to support options other then the three parties, up to 14 per cent from eight per cent in May.
It has a 3.1 per cent margin of error.
Professor Richard Eccleston from the University of Tasmania said the poll showed the honeymoon was over for the second term Hodgman Government.
“The Hodgman Government’s second term is going to be more challenging. The economy remains strong, but I think some voters are taking that for granted and I think the two big policy issues facing the government are clearly health and housing,” Mr Eccleston said.
He said the latest poll was good news for Ms White.
“If there were ever going to be any questions over Rebecca White’s continuing leadership of the Labor party, I think her polling of preferred leader there would certainly allay any concerns of the Labor party.”
But Professor Eccleston said the latest poll did not spell disaster for Premier Will Hogdman.
“It really is a reversion to some of the polling in 2017, which is I think to be expected,” he said.
He said the undecided vote seemed to have increased, which was unsurprising.
“It really is in the months leading up to an election that the last 10 to 20 per cent of undecided voters make a choice about who they would prefer to govern,” he said.