The first poll in the new House of Representative seat of Canberra has buoyed the ACT Greens, with the party edging the Liberals out of second spot in people’s voting intentions in the Senate.
The ReachTEL poll of 808 Canberra voters taken on the night of 27 August after the dramatic removal of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, also put the Greens in first place among voters 18-34 years of age.
Labor was well in front with 39.2 percent, followed by the Greens at 23.9 per cent and then the Liberals at 22.9 per cent.
Voters were asked: If a Federal election were to be held today, which of the following would receive your first preference vote in the Senate?
The Greens said the poll was a great start to the campaign to replace Liberal Senator Zed Seselja and to win the central seat of Canberra.
The party said it also showed that Senator Seselja’s public support of Peter Dutton and voting record against the views of the Canberra community were costing him support, even among Liberal voters.
“People in Canberra want to replace Zed Seselja in the Senate with a more progressive voice who will actually represent us,” said ACT Greens Senate candidate Dr Penny Kyburz.
“Most of our community is angry that Zed uses his position in the Senate to pursue his narrow conservative agenda, instead of representing the views of the vast majority of Canberrans.
“Zed’s public support for Peter Dutton looks like the final right-wing straw for many Liberal voters in Canberra.”
The Greens believe that having previously only targeted a Senate seat in the ACT, the Senate vote is a good guide to the potential Greens vote in the House.
In winnable House of Representative seats like Melbourne and Macnamara, the House vote for the Greens lifted to match the Senate vote, the party said.
Greens candidate for the seat of Canberra, Tim Hollo, said it was clear that many people in Canberra were looking for a better way of doing politics than what the major parties offer.
“Penny and I will be working hard to show that the Greens are the positive alternative for people looking for representatives who treat refugees with humanity, face up to climate change, and work with integrity in Parliament,” he said.
The Greens are expected to do well in the inner city Canberra electorate and whether that popularity can be extended to other areas of the ACT remains to be seen, particularly in Senator Seselja’s stronghold in the south.