800 Ballarat voters voice views on party leaders

BALLARAT voters have told us what they think of Australia’s political leaders in a glimpse of what could be to come in September’s federal election.

More than 800 readers took part in the online survey at thecourier.com.au asking who they wanted to represent the Ballarat region and what their opinions were of Australia’s major parties during the past three years. 

Key findings of the week-long snapshot poll include: 

• Voters in Ballarat are unimpressed with the leadership of both major parties but support MP Catherine King’s performance since 2010;

• However, a large proportion of voters who supported the ALP at the last federal election now plan to back the Liberal Party in Ballarat;

• Liberal candidate John Fitzgibbon needs to raise his profile in the electorate with a majority of participants unable to name him. 

Mr Fitzgibbon, the general manager of Radio Ballarat, would win the votes of 45.5 per cent of poll participants, which means Ms King would probably be re-elected with a significantly reduced margin. 

She attracted support from 36.4 per cent of participants, with 40 percent saying they approved of her performance since the 2010 election and 32.2 per cent saying they disapproved. 

A total of 47.2 per cent of participants could correctly name Mr Fitzgibbon as the Liberal candidate for Ballarat, with some naming City of Ballarat councillor Samantha McIntosh, Liberal Senator Michael Ronaldson and former candidate turned political staffer Mark Banwell as the Liberal challenger. 

If replicated on election day, Greens candidate Steph Hodgins-May would attract 11.9 per cent of the primary vote. 

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was the preferred choice for prime minister with 29.2 per cent of participant support, narrowly leading Julia Gillard at 29.0 per cent. 

Coalition communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull came in third as preferred leader at 19.6 per cent while former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd attracted 16.6 per cent support. 

Disapproval of Ms Gillard’s performance reached 53.8 per cent, with only 30.7 approving of her work. 

Mr Abbott received 49.3 per cent disapproval with just 25.7 per cent approving his performance as Coalition leader since 2010. 

The Gillard government’s disapproval reached 51.9 per cent, with only 29.1 per cent saying they approved. 

The poll provides a snapshot of voter opinions, not a scientific sample, and will be undertaken again in late May and two weeks before the federal election with results shared in The Courier.

This week Ms King joined the health funding stoush between the state and federal governments, saying Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu had show he was “completely incapable of running Victoria’s health system.” 

Mr Fitzgibbon announced he would resign from his role as Director of the North Ballarat Football Club and North Ballarat Junior Football Club citing campaign responsibilities. 

thomas.mcilroy@fairfaxmedia.com.au 

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