03 June 2016
by Paul Karp

Nick Xenophon team polls well in Jamie Briggs's South Australian seat of Mayo

Nick Xenophon

ReachTEL poll shows 23.5% of Mayo voters support independent’s team and with Greens and Labor preferences it could win the seat

The Nick Xenophon team is polling strongly in Jamie Briggs’s South Australian seat of Mayo, suggesting it may win the seat with Greens and Labor preferences.

A ReachTEL poll conducted on 16 May, but not released until Friday, found 23.5% of people in Mayo support the Nick Xenophon team (NXT)
.
Briggs, who holds the seat for the Liberal party, attracted the most support with 39.6%.

However, the NXT candidate, Rebekha Sharkie, could win the seat, with preferences from Labor (18.3%) and the Greens (10.7%).

The poll of 681 people also found the 4.4% of voters who were undecided were leaning towards NXT. It found 33.3% of undecideds favoured NXT, compared with 26.7% for Labor and 20% for the Liberals.

Briggs got 53.8% of the primary vote in the 2013 election and the Liberal party holds the seat of Mayo with a 12.5% buffer.

ReachTEL found a similar result in a poll of 762 voters on 22 May in Christopher Pyne’s seat of Sturt. There the Liberals polled 41.4% compared with 21.3% for NXT.

NXT is narrowly ahead of Labor (20.4%) and well ahead of the Greens (8.4%), suggesting a strong flow of preferences could boost it into a winning position.

However, unlike in Mayo, Sturt’s undecided voters favoured the Liberal party (39%) much more strongly than NXT and Labor (both 19.5%).

Of voters who were not planning to vote Labor or Liberal in Sturt, 64.3% planned to preference Labor compared with 35.7% for the Liberals. This suggests if Labor overtakes NXT in the count, Pyne may be returned by receiving a sizeable chunk of preferences.

Pyne got 54.4% of the primary vote at the 2013 election, and holds Sturt with a 10.1% margin.

The strong poll results for NXT show the vulnerability of apparently safe Liberal seats in South Australia as their primary vote falls below 50%.

In both seats about 69% of voters said they had decided how to vote; 31% said there there was a chance they would change their minds.

Voters in Mayo said they thought renewable energy such as wind and solar power were more likely to provide jobs of the future than coal: 79% to 21%. In Sturt the result was similar: 76% to 24% in favour of renewables.

Asked what would most benefit the economy in the long term, investment in renewables got 35.7% and research and development 30.4%. The least popular were cutting taxes for big businesses (5.3%) and trade agreements (6.2%).

In Sturt, 38.8% of respondents said a candidate opposing cuts to renewable energy made them more likely to win their vote, compared with 16% who said this made it less likely. However most, 45%, said it would make no difference to their vote.

GetUp executive director, Paul Oosting, said: “People in Mayo and Sturt care about investment in renewable energy. They will vote for the positive future that investment in renewables will create for South Australia. “These seats will be tight races. Now it’s up to candidates to show how they can deliver.

“The GetUp campaign in Mayo and Sturt is likely to include adverts attacking the Turnbull government’s renewable energy cuts, surveying candidates on their renewable positions and potentially even handing out how-to-vote cards on polling day.”