- Teal independents could replicate their federal success and capitalise on what new polling predicts is a drop in support for the Liberal Party.
- Climate 200 polling suggests similar candidates could win seats in November’s state election.
- The polling found independent candidates would receive strong support in Caulfield, Kew, Sandringham, Hawthorn and Brighton.
Teal independents could replicate their federal success and capitalise on what new polling predicts is a drop-off in support for the Liberal Party in wealthy electorates which the Coalition needs to compete at the November state election.
Polling commissioned by Climate 200, the funding vehicle that backed the successful campaigns of several independents focussed on climate and integrity at May’s federal election, suggests similar candidates could win a bag of state seats and potentially influence the outcome of an election that some pundits think could result in a Labor minority government.
Teals Sophie Scamps, Zoe Daniel, Monique Ryan, Allegra Spender and Kylea Tink all ousted Liberals at the federal election.Credit:Jessica Hromas, Penny Stephens, Luis Enrique Ascui, James Alcock, Getty Images
The survey shows progressive independent candidates would receive strong support in Caulfield, Kew, Sandringham, Hawthorn and Brighton, despite no Climate 200-backed challengers being announced in those seats.
Commenting on the results of polling, conducted by Redbridge and obtained by The Age, Climate 200 executive director Byron Fay described the federal teal wave as a “launchpad not a landing zone” and expressed enthusiasm about the Victorian election.
“These poll results suggest that a similar dynamic is now playing out at the state level,” he told The Age.
Although individual seat polling has sometimes been unreliable, a review of federal election polling conducted by prominent psephologist, Kevin Bonham, found Redbridge picked the winner in the five “teal” seats it polled during the campaign. “All had the right winner and were also outstanding on the implied 2PP [two-party preferred] margins,” Bonham’s review found.
Offshoots of the campaigns that lifted independent Monique Ryan into power have begun to gather support for tilts for Kew and Hawthorn, while supporters of Zoe Daniel are still mulling runs in Brighton, Sandringham and Caulfield. A source close to the Hawthorn and Kew campaigns, speaking to The Age on the condition of anonymity, said candidates for these seats would be finalised soon.
Brighton MP James Newbury questioned the validity of the polling, telling The Age “the results of this fake poll are not real.
“It is all part of Labor and Redbridge’s pre-election political games. It deserves to be ignored”.
Some Liberals told The Age they objected to the framing of questions being asked in the poll, which assume the state campaigns will find candidates of similar quality to Ryan and Daniel.
Climate 200 executive director Byron Fay at the National Press Club this month.Credit:Olive + Meave
Yaron Gottlieb, who worked with independent candidate Daniel in her seat of Goldstein, said that while no candidates had been endorsed, there were locals interested in standing as candidates in Sandringham and Brighton.
He said there was currently “zero groundswell” for a campaign in Caulfield, expected to be a close contest between Labor and Liberal deputy leader David Southwick.
Voters in the seats of Brighton, Caulfield and Sandringham were asked who they would support if given a choice of a “candidate like Zoe Daniel” or another party. Local Liberal MPs were named. In Hawthorn and Kew, the same question was asked about Ryan and local Liberal candidates were named.
Environment and climate change spokesman James Newbury.Credit:Joe Armao
The polling found:
- In Brighton (750 respondents), 39 per cent said they would vote Liberal (a drop of six per cent from the 2018 election result), 23 per cent said they would vote Labor, 23 per cent said they would vote for an independent and seven per cent said they would vote Greens. Redbridge calculated these results would lead to a 51-49 two-party preferred win to an independent.
- In Sandringham (744 respondents), 31 per cent said they would vote Liberal (a drop of 11 per cent), 27 per cent said they would vote for Labor, 25 per cent said they would vote for an independent and seven per cent said they would vote Green. Redbridge believes this would lead to a 54-46 win to an independent.
- In Caulfield (837 respondents), 37 per cent of people said they would vote Liberal (10 per cent drop), 23 per cent said they would vote Labor, 19 per cent said they would vote for an independent and 14 per cent said they would vote Greens. Redbridge said this would result in a 56-44 win to an independent.
- In Hawthorn (979 respondents), 37 per cent said they would vote Liberal (an eight per cent drop), 22 per cent said they would vote Labor, 22 per cent said they would vote for an independent and 12 per cent said they would vote Green. Redbridge said this would result in a 55-45 independent win.
- In Kew (918 respondents), 37 per cent said they would vote Liberal (a 12 per cent drop), 24 per cent said they would back an independent, 23 per cent said they would vote Labor and seven per cent said they would vote Green. Redbridge said this would result in a 55-45 independent win.
All the polled seats are held by the Liberal Party except Hawthorn, which is held by Labor. The poll indicates support for Labor has also dropped from 2018. Both major parties believe there has been a tightening in recent months between the Coalition and Labor.
A Liberal source connected to the Hawthorn campaign said the level of support for an independent represented about half of the primary vote for Ryan in May, and was a sign of moderate Liberal candidate John Pesutto’s suitability. However, teal candidates such as Ryan and Daniel were polling in the teens three months before the federal election.
The Coalition is desperate to retain inner-city seats and win back Hawthorn to claw back the 18 seats required to form government in the 88-seat parliament. The Coalition’s recently announced suite of climate change policies was designed to secure support in inner-urban electorates.
While not included in the polling, The Age has spoken to three sources who all confirmed independent candidates would also stand in the seat of South-West Coast and Benambra.
Once represented by former Victorian premier, Denis Napthine, South-West Coast is currently held by Liberal MP Roma Roma Britnell by a margin of 3.3 per cent and is within the boundaries of the federal seat of Wannon, where former trade minister Dan Tehan suffered a six per cent swing after a strong campaign from independent candidate Alex Dyson.
The seat of Benambra, in the northeast, is held by Bill Tilley but sits entirely within the federal electorate of Indi, which has been held by an independent for almost a decade.
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