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