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Andrews support strong, but Liberal leader floundering: poll

The poll found opinion was divided on how the state government overall had handled the pandemic in Victoria. Of the 858 Victorians surveyed, 49 per cent were satisfied and 40 per cent dissatisfied.

Labor voters were significantly more likely to be happy with the state government’s response (73 per cent were satisfied, compared with 29 per cent of Coalition voters and 56 per cent of Greens voters).

People living in the regions, women and those on JobKeeper or JobSeeker were also more likely to be satisfied, according to the poll, which was conducted from October 19-21.

However, Victorians were far more critical of how the state opposition had responded to the pandemic. Only 16 per cent were satisfied and 44 per cent were dissatisfied. Even among Coalition voters, only 25 per cent were satisfied and 30 per cent dissatisfied.

Mr Andrews’ personal approval has taken a hammering in recent weeks as the hotel quarantine inquiry has heard damning evidence and hospitality and retail have pushed for an earlier reopening.

In a Roy Morgan opinion poll earlier this month, Victorian voters gave the Premier a 59 per cent approval rating, down from 70 per cent in September.

Paul Strangio, an associate professor in politics at Monash University, said despite a downward trend in approval of the Premier, the Ipsos poll showed Mr Andrews continued to enjoy substantial support from the Victorian community.

“Victorians, it seems, are still looking to him to guide us out of the crisis.”

Dr Strangio said what was interesting about the poll was the insight it gave into the effects of the state opposition’s increasingly hardline attacks on the government’s handling of the pandemic.

“The dire polling for Michael O’Brien suggests that the Victorian community has reacted very negatively to perceived attempts to politicise the crisis and that Mr O’Brien might be paying the price of placating those in his party who have been intent on muscling up to the government over the pandemic,” Dr Strangio said.

“With Victoria on the cusp of the winding back of restrictions, it will be fascinating to see if the easing of the atmosphere of crisis will liberate Victorians to be more critical of Mr Andrews or whether he will be given credit for steering the state out of the second wave.”

Mike Trickett, one of the participants in the Ipsos survey, said he was a swinging voter who would now vote for Mr Andrews.

Mr Trickett, a 76-year-old retiree from Herne Hill in Geelong, believed the lockdown and measures such as compulsory mask wearing had brought the virus under control, although he said they possibly should have been implemented earlier.

Virginia Fricker is so appalled by Daniel Andrews performance she is considering voting Green for first time.

Virginia Fricker is so appalled by Daniel Andrews performance she is considering voting Green for first time.
Credit:Paul Jeffers

“I believe Dan Andrews is doing a very good job under a great deal of pressure from those who want to open up the state,” Mr Trickett said.

“I think Michael O’Brien has done himself no favours with his harping and carping in the background and offering absolutely no alternatives. That alone has turned me off him and his Liberal colleagues.”

Virginia Fricker, a 67-year-old retiree from Mount Martha, believed Mr O’Brien was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“He can’t come out and be critical because everyone will accuse him of being an anti-vaxxer and a tin-foil hat wearer but he doesn’t feel he can support the Labor government because he is a Liberal. He can’t say anything really.”

Ms Fricker has disapproved of Mr Andrews’ performance, even though she says she has always voted for the ALP in the lower house at state elections.

“I don’t like his forcefulness,” she said. “If you want people to follow rules you have to give them rules they understand and see are reasonable.”

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For a long time, the Premier yielded a stick with no carrot, she said.

“What was worse he was yielding a big stick while the government was messing up on hotel quarantine and contact tracing.”

Ms Fricker said she and her husband were seriously wondering if they could ever vote Labor again.

“This might have turned us into two Greens,” she said

The majority of those polled were happy with Professor Brett Sutton’s performance as Chief Health Officer, with 57 per cent approving and 20 per cent disapproving. And most supported compulsory mask wearing, the ban on travelling to the regions and a 25km limit on movement outside of the home – all of which were retained as part of Monday’s announcement.

Professor Sutton has recently come under scrutiny about when he first became aware private security was guarding quarantine hotels and why some emails were not initially made available to the hotel quarantine inquiry.

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The poll found that half of Victorians believed the state government’s hotel quarantine was to blame for the second wave of COVID-19, while 40 per cent blamed individuals for not taking the risk seriously and breaking regulations.

The hotel inquiry heard that genomic sequencing had shown more than 99 per cent of Victoria’s second wave could be linked to returned travellers required to stay in hotel quarantine.

Ipsos director Jessica Elgood said division was along party lines, with the majority of Coalition voters (70 per cent) blaming the hotel quarantine program and the majority of Labor voters (61 per cent) blaming individuals.

The Ipsos poll data was weighted to represent the state demographic profile. The maximum margin of sampling error that might apply was plus or minus 3.4 per cent.

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