Re­sult reveals mi­nor­ity sup­port for Baird’s merg­ers but it will have lit­tle bear­ing on read­ers’ fed­eral vote

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Adam Bell

THE bat­tle be­tween lo­cal coun­cils and the State Lib­eral Govern­ment over forced amal­ga­ma­tions is un­likely to have a ma­jor im­pact on how peo­ple vote in the up­com­ing Fed­eral Elec­tion.

A poll of 371 read­ers of NewsLo­cal’s 20 com­mu­nity news­pa­pers in Syd­ney and the Cen­tral Coast last week found 43 per cent were op­posed to the forced amal­ga­ma­tion of coun­cils and 38 per cent in favour. About one in five had no opin­ion.

But the op­po­si­tion seems un­likely to trans­late into a Fed­eral Elec­tion back­lash, as sug­gested by com­men­ta­tors such as broad­caster Alan Jones who claims the coun­cils pol­icy could “tor­pedo” Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull’s chances.

Sixty-seven per cent of those sur­veyed in­di­cated the is­sue would not influence how they voted on July 2. About 21 per cent said it would po­ten­tially influence their vote with just over 11 per cent un­sure.

Con­ducted face-to-face by NewsLo­cal re­porters in the field, the poll tested com­mu­nity at­ti­tudes to pro­pos- als to cut the num­ber of coun­cils and re­draw their bound­aries. The poll was con­ducted both in ar­eas af­fected by merg­ers such as Hornsby, the north shore and the Cen­tral Coast and in ar­eas where coun­cils were un­touched in­clud­ing Camp- bell­town and Pen­rith.

The re­sult comes days af­ter an­gry protests forced the newly formed In­ner West Coun­cil to shut down its first meet­ing. Other new coun­cils have held meet­ings with­out se­ri­ous dis­tur­bances.

The other ma­jor find­ing ce­mented Mal­colm Turn­bull as the pre­ferred prime min­is­ter with Syd­ney vot­ers.

Mr Turn­bull came out on top with 41 per cent sup­port, ahead of Bill Shorten on 22 per cent.

NewsLo­cal also in­cluded NSW Premier Mike Baird (touted as a pos­si­ble fu­ture fed­eral leader) and State Op­po­si­tion leader Luke Fo­ley in the pre­ferred PM mix.

Mr Baird scored an 18 per cent rat­ing, com­pared to Mr Fo­ley on 3.5 per cent.

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