Sydney by-election too close to call
The by-election for Sydney remains too tight to predict with a poll released this week showing there remains not a hairbreadth between Liberal Party candidate Shayne Mallard and independent Alex Greenwich.
A ReachTEL poll, commissioned by Greenwich, found that of the 422 people surveyed just over 31 per cent would support the independent candidate who has also received the backing of outgoing MP Clover Moore.
Support for Mallard was almost just as strong with 30.6 per cent saying they would vote for him. Greens candidate Chris Harris polled 25 per cent, which is double the vote the party received at the last state election for the seat in March 2011.
The by-election is believed to be the first state or federal poll where the two frontrunners, Greenwich and Mallard, are openly gay men.
Those surveyed were not informed Labor would not be running a candidate with 12.5 per cent of respondents selecting ‘Other’ as their preferred choice.
Harris told SX the poll was “very encouraging” for his campaign which he described as the only one offering a truly independent voice from State Government and Sydney Town Hall.
“While we are the underdogs the poll demonstrates that the progressive vote in Sydney is well in excess of 50 per cent. It also shows a big swing to the Greens in the lower house in the absence of Clover Moore,” he said.
“The Greens and Clover share many values and this poll shows that voters understand that after eight years as a City Councillor I will go in to bat for them against the big end of town and fight for sustainable development, responsible environmental solutions and a fair go.”
The poll’s release came as Greenwich welcomed more high-profile supporters to his campaign, with Professor Kerryn Phelps and Surry Hills Baptist Church pastor Mike Hercock both backing the former Australian Marriage Equality national convener.
“We have seen first hand how effective Alex is in advocating for our community and delivering results,” Phelps said.
“He is a compassionate, tenacious advocate for justice, he has a clear understanding of the issues that affect communities and small businesses and works effectively with all sides of politics.”
ABC election analyst Antony Green said despite the small sample of this week’s poll it would seem Greenwich could be considered the slight favourite now.
“Before Labor made its announcement, Mallard was probably favourite to win the by-election,” Green said.
“With Labor having sacrificed its own support, a strong switch of Labor supporters to Greenwich means he has firmed to favouritism to win the Sydney by-election.”
Media reports suggest the Liberal Party has provided Mallard a campaign budget of $200,000, which is about double what Greenwich and Harris will be spending.
Mallard told SX he would not be commenting on the poll.