Victorians have thrown their support behind the Andrews government since it was re-elected in November, delivering Labor a boost to its primary vote as Premier Daniel Andrews reaches 3000 days in office.
An exclusive survey, conducted by Resolve Strategic for The Age, found Labor’s primary vote had increased by 4 per centage points to 41, up from 37 per cent at the state election less than three months ago.
Premier Daniel Andrews toured the Victorian Heart Hospital in Clayton on Sunday.Credit:NewsWire
The data also shows support for the Coalition has dropped from 34 per cent to 30 per cent since the election, giving the Andrews government a commanding lead over the opposition ahead of a parliamentary sitting week.
The results coincide with Andrews’ 3000th day as premier, on Monday, which qualifies him for a bronze statue outside the premier’s office at 1 Treasury Place after he leaves office.
Andrews is the fifth Victorian premier to spend 3000 consecutive days in the job, and part of the group comprising Sir Henry Bolte (6288 days), Albert Dunstan (3834 days), Sir Rupert Hamer (3209 days) and John Cain jr (3044 days).
Asked about the milestone on Sunday while opening the new Victorian Heart Hospital in Clayton, Andrews said it was “a great gift and a great honour” to lead the state.
“The community’s trusted my judgments three times now, and we’re honoured to be elected and then re-elected twice. Not for ourselves, but for them, for Victorians, to get on and to get things done. That’s what drives me every single day,” he said.
“I think buildings like this, facilities like this, they’re the kind of monuments … that we should be all about building. Not so much statues.”
The premier has also improved his lead over the new opposition leader, with Andrews ahead of John Pesutto as preferred premier by 24 points. It is the biggest lead Andrews has had on any of his opponents since mid-2021, when he recorded a 26-point advantage over the then Liberal leader Michael O’Brien.
Almost one-quarter of voters said they couldn’t decide who would make a better premier.
As part of its research, Resolve Strategic also asks voters to explain why they support Labor or the Coalition. The latest survey found those who supported Labor believed the government had a vision for the state and Andrews had shown strong leadership.
“The opposition has no vision for an equitable, socially cohesive state,” one respondent said.
Those who backed the Coalition were critical of the state’s record-high debt and the Andrews government’s policies during the pandemic. One voter accused Andrews of “plunging generations in debt for his own personal political gain”.
Resolve Strategic director Jim Reed told The Age it wasn’t uncommon for new and re-elected governments to receive a jump in support following an election win, and described the latest survey as a third honeymoon.
Premier Daniel Andrews celebrates Labor’s win on election night last year.Credit:Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images
“That honeymoon period tends to be more shortlived than for new governments. But it’s quite normal for a new government, and ones that have been re-endorsed by voters, to improve their position after an election,” Reed said.
“That’s because the opposition is usually in shambles and also people don’t get a choice for another four years, so they are willing to give the government a chance.”
The survey was conducted in late January and mid-February, which coincided with a public spat between former opposition leader Matthew Guy and state Liberal president Greg Mirabella, who described Guy as more disliked than Andrews in a leaked post-election report published in The Age.
In response, Guy called on Mirabella to resign, saying the party “cannot move on with someone as factional and juvenile as its state president”.
John Pesutto after being named the new leader of the Victorian Liberal Party in December 2022Credit:Jason South
While cautioning against reading too much into political surveys so early in the election cycle, Monash University Associate Professor Paul Strangio said the results underscored the “massive scale of the challenge” facing Pesutto and his party.
“The recent election result reinforced the aura of failure that surrounds the Liberal Party in Victoria,” he said.
“This poll reflects that narrative of failure. Put simply, the Liberal Party is now viewed as a minority party in Victorian politics. And as long as the party is regarded in that dire light, it will conspire against a leader’s efforts to be seen as an alternative premier.”
The latest survey marks the return of the Resolve Political Monitor (RPM) since the November 26 state election.
In its final survey before polling day, which was published on November 22 and collected in the days prior, RPM predicted Labor was on track to win 36.2 per cent of the primary vote, and the Coalition, Greens and independents 35.8, 10.1 and 6 per cent respectively.
On election day, Labor recorded a primary vote of 36.6 per cent, the Coalition received 34.4 per cent, the Greens 11.5 per cent and the independents 5.6 per cent.
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