Poll shows Labor in the race
Labor’s candidate could be a threat in the race for the Pilbara seat in the March 11 State election, with several polls showing he is gaining ground on incumbent Brendon Grylls.
Pundits had been talking up a two-horse race between Mr Grylls and Liberal candidate Mark Alchin, but MediaReach polling passed on to the Pilbara News by the National Party and an online poll by the News indicates Labor’s Kevin Michel is also in the race.
The News poll of 646 readers showed Mr Grylls was on track to gain 30 per cent of the primary vote, with Mr Michel sitting in second on 24 per cent.
One Nation candidate David Archibald and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers’ Fiona WhiteHartig also polled in double figures and could have a big say in who is elected when preference deals are taken into account. Mr Alchin sat in fifth spot with 8 per cent.
Since being tallied, the poll has attracted a further 504 votes and has the Nationals (27 per cent) ahead of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (24) and One Nation (17), though most of those extra votes have come since the poll was shared on online pages favourable to these three parties.
A separate MediaReach poll supplied by the Nationals had Mr Grylls attracting 33 per cent of the primary vote, with Mr Michel second (23 per cent) and Mr Alchin third (13 per cent). The poll of 513 voters had Mr Grylls retaining the seat with 49 per cent of the two-party preferred vote over Mr Michel.
The 513 voters represent about 5 per cent of registered Pilbara voters based on 2013 numbers.
Before Mr Grylls won the seat in 2013, Pilbara had been predominantly a Labor seat since 1939.
A straw poll by West Australian Regional Newspapers, publisher of the Pilbara News, early last week indicated about half of voters in regional WA were less likely to vote for the Liberal Party because of its preference deal with One Nation.
The deal means the Liberals will preference One Nation ahead of the Nationals in the Upper House in exchange for One Nation preferencing Liberals ahead of Labor in the Lower House.
Of the 482 respondents, 56 per cent indicated they were now less likely to vote Liberal.
About 30 per cent said the preference deal made no difference.
Since the poll was conducted, the WA Nationals have preferenced the Greens above the Liberal Party in the Mining and Pastoral and South West Upper House seats.
Mr Grylls won the Pilbara seat with an 11.5 per cent margin in 2013, and attracted 38.6 per cent of the primary vote to Labor’s 29.8.
WA Labor leader Mark McGowan and Pilbara candidate Kevin Michel.