Poll shows Labor’s honeymoon not over

The Malinauskas Government has maintained a strong lead over the Liberal Opposition six months after the state election, new polling has found – with health, the economy and climate change still the top political issues in voters’ minds.

Sep 28, 2022, updated Sep 28, 2022
Premier Peter Malinauskas. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Premier Peter Malinauskas. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

A new statewide poll conducted by left-leaning think-tank The Australia Institute has Labor holding onto a 53 per cent two-party vote to the Liberals’ 47 per cent.

It follows Labor’s 5.6 per cent swing at the March state election, which saw the party swept into power after just one term in opposition.

The poll of 616 South Australians was conducted through online market research company Dynata’s panel between September 11 and 20, with results weighted by gender and age group based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

The two-party preferred result was calculated using the overall preference flow from minor parties at the March election.

“A little over six months on from the state election, our research shows that Labor still leads the Opposition on a two-party preferred basis, though by a slightly smaller margin than was recorded at the poll in March,” Australia Institute SA director Noah Shultz-Byard said.

The results show both Labor and the Liberals on a primary vote of 34 per cent, with the Greens on 13 per cent, SA Best on six per cent and One Nation on five per cent, despite no current lower house members.

A higher proportion of respondents indicated they would support Labor in the upper house – 35 per cent compared to 32 per cent for the Liberals – while the Greens were on 13 per cent, SA Best on seven per cent and One Nation on four per cent.

Almost three-quarters of respondents – 73 per cent – indicated they were satisfied with the way Premier Peter Malinauskas is doing his job, with the leader’s net approval rating increasing from +23 per cent in February to +61 per cent this month.

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Meanwhile, just over half of South Australians polled said they were satisfied with the performance of David Speirs as Opposition leader, with his net approval rating increasing to +32 per cent – up from then Premier Steven Marshall’s approval rating of +11 per cent in February and the +23 per cent recorded for then-Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas earlier in the year.

The poll also gauged respondents’ most important political issues, with health, the economy and climate change the three most commonly cited – as was the case before the March election.

One in three voters polled – 32 per cent – said health was the most important political issue right now, coming as the Malinauskas Government announced it would build a $3 billion new Women’s and Children’s Hospital at the site of the state heritage-listed Thebarton police barracks.

Labor campaigned heavily on health ahead of the March election, with its promise to address the ongoing issue of ambulance ramping playing a decisive role in its victory.

The economy was the second most important political issue for 27 per cent of polled South Australians, followed by climate change for 13 per cent of respondents.

“Health is still the number one political issue in the minds of South Australians, though both the economy and climate change have increased in importance for voters when compared to last year,” Shultz-Byard said.

“The post-election period sees voters in a more generous mood when it comes to the performance of both the major party leaders, but only time will tell how long this honeymoon period will last.”

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