Victorian Premier Dan Andrews is not only likely to secure a third term – he’s also widened the gap on his rivals, according to a new poll.
Six lockdowns, a rolling branch-stacking controversy, and an ugly brawl over pandemic powers has failed to take the shine off the Daniel Andrews government, with the Victorian Premier well on track to secure a third term in power.
Fresh Newspoll data shows the primary vote of the ruling Victorian Labor Party has increased since the 2018 ‘Danslide election’ from 42.9 per cent to 44 per cent, even after repeated stay-at-home restrictions that stretched across 262 days and made Melbourne the most locked-down city in the world.
The Victorian Coalition, once again led by Matthew Guy after two leadership changes since 2018, has also narrowly boosted its margin.
It still remains a distant second with just 36 per cent of the primary vote.
Meanwhile, support for the Greens lifted from 10.7 per cent to 11 per cent, while a drop in support for ‘Others’ from 11.2 per cent to 9 per cent makes up the difference.
Mr Andrews’ ALP leads the Coalition 58 per cent to 42 per cent on a two-party preferred basis about 12 months out from the next vote.
The polling – published by The Australian on Saturday – shows Mr Andrews’ personal popularity with voters remains strong with 56 per cent of people pleased with his personal performance.
Mr Andrews also leads Mr Guy as the state’s preferred Premier by 54 per cent to 33 per cent having been a familiar presence during a gruelling couple of years managing the pandemic.
The polling November 11 to 17 showed 60 per cent of people thought Mr Andrews had handled the Covid-19 crisis well.
Women aged under 34 were most likely to approve of his pandemic performance while men over 65 were most likely to disapprove.
The polling comes after a tumultuous week for Mr Andrews, who has copped criticism for proposed legislation that would give the government a legal basis for lockdowns, curfews, mask-wearing, and vaccine mandates.
The laws kicked off a new round of anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne, including a disturbing incident of makeshift gallows being wheeled out in front of Parliament House.
The bill, however, was sent into disarray at the last minute after former Labor Minister Adem Somyurek revealed he would block the legislation.
Mr Somyurek of course was sacked from cabinet in 2020 and booted from the ALP amid allegations he was involved in factional branch-stacking.
Mr Andrews also lashed out at Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week, telling him that Victorians did not need a lecture on the pandemic from someone who had stuffed up the vaccine rollout.