Barnaby Joyce affair erodes voter support in New England

SWEATING: While he's taken a hit, there is still support for Barnaby Joyce. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
SWEATING: While he's taken a hit, there is still support for Barnaby Joyce. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

BARNABY Joyce has lost a third of his voters though the recent affair scandal.

However, for 34.3 per cent of voters remained stead fast in their support for him, while a quarter (25.4 per cent) were more likely to vote for him. Just over 40 per cent said they would not vote for him.

According to a ReachTEL poll conducted by Fairfax Media, Mr Joyce’s margin has been eroded to a primary vote of 43 per cent – compared to 65 per cent at the December 2 by-election – according to the poll of 1206 local residents taken on Tuesday night.

Men were more likely to abandon the Deputy Prime Minister than women, while women were more likely to say the affair would not change their vote. Twice as many older voters viewed the affair positively, while a majority of 18-34 year olds said they were less likely to vote for Mr Joyce as a result.

Among those who signalled they would still give Mr Joyce their primary vote today, 46 per cent said the affair would make no difference to their decision, and 45 per cent said it actually made them more likely to back him.

Just under half, 45.3 per cent, of voters in the seat want Mr Joyce to remain as party leader and deputy PM.

But 26.7 per cent said Mr Joyce should move to the backbench, and another 20.5 per cent said he should quit Parliament altogether, with 7.5 per cent undecided.

The poll found it would make almost no difference to the Nationals primary vote if Mr Windsor stood for the seat or not. Based on stated preferences, the party would hold the seat 52-48 against Mr Windsor if an election were held today.

Should the media have reported it

A majority of New England voters - 55.1 per cent - have told a ReachTEL poll they agree or strongly agree the media was justified in publishing details about Mr Joyce's relationship with former staffer Vikki Campion.

About 41 per cent of Mr Joyce's constituents say the media was not justified in reporting the story - and most of those people feel strongly about that.

It's a topic on which just about everyone has a view: only 4 per cent of voters were unsure.

More than two thirds of the 1200 voters who responded to Tuesday night's poll agreed an MP's personal behaviour was relevant or "very relevant" to their suitability for national leadership.

One in five said personal activity was irrelevant, increasing to 36 per cent for Nationals voters.


This story How many voters have turned their back on Barnaby? first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.