One-third of Tasmania to snub major parties, poll says

Ethan James |

A poll shows support for Jeremy Rockliff (right) as preferred premier dropped one per cent.
A poll shows support for Jeremy Rockliff (right) as preferred premier dropped one per cent.

Minor parties and independents appear set for sizeable support at the Tasmanian election, with polling suggesting more than a third of voters will snub the Liberals and Labor.

The island state is heading to the polls on March 23, more than a year ahead of schedule after the minority Liberal government failed to resolve a stand-off with two crossbenchers. 

According to an EMRS poll taken in February, 36 per cent of voters will not support either major party. 

Independents had 14 per cent support, followed by the Greens (12 per cent), the Jacqui Lambie Network (nine per cet) and other (one per cent). 

Labor leader Rebecca White
Rebecca White’s preferred premier rating rose from 35 per cent to 38 in latest polling. (Rob Blakers/AAP PHOTOS)

Support for the Liberals remained steady at 39 per cent from the most recent poll in November, while Labor fell from 29 to 26. 

Tasmania’s lower house is being restored from 25 to 35 members at the election, opening the door for minor parties and independents.

Political pundits have tipped it will be difficult for the Liberals or Labor to govern in majority. 

Labor, which has been in opposition for a decade, has experienced a fall in popularity across two opinion polls since August.

“This is an indication voters are not convinced that Labor is a viable alternative government,” EMRS managing director Paul Jamrozik said on Wednesday. 

“It would (also) appear that the Liberal vote has been eroded in favour of independent candidates since the last election.”

Mr Jamrozik said it appeared minor parties and independents would hold significant influence in shaping the election’s outcome. 

Support for Liberal leader Jeremy Rockliff as preferred premier dropped by one per cent to 41, with Labor leader Rebecca White rising from 35 to 38. 

One quarter of voters were listed as “unsure or neither”. 

Mr Jamrozik noted the poll of 1000 people was taken before several key policies and candidates had been announced. 

He said health was the top concern for 28 per cent of people, followed by cost-of-living issues. 

“The March 23rd poll is the poll that counts of course,” Mr Rockliff said on Wednesday before the survey was released. 

Four incumbent independents are running at the election, including John Tucker and Lara Alexander whose decision to quit the Liberals plunged the government into minority.

David O’Byrne, who was elected as a Labor MP, is another, while former Speaker and one-time Liberal Sue Hickey is aiming for a return to politics.

The Jacqui Lambie Network is running candidates in four of the five electorates.