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Xenophon's poll numbers surge despite attack

Politics

SA Best leader Nick Xenophon is well-placed to win the Liberal-held state seat of Hartley, with a new poll showing his support is surging.

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The Seven News-ReachTEL poll of 610 people in the eastern suburbs seat conducted this week shows Xenophon leading Liberal incumbent Vincent Tarzia by six points on a two-party preferred basis – 53 to 47.

Underpinning the strong result was an eight percentage point surge in Xenophon’s primary vote which hit 29.3, with the Liberals on 36.4 and Labor on 20.7.

Labor announced its candidate just days before the poll, with InDaily revealing exclusively this week that former Hartley MP Grace Portolesi would take another tilt at the seat. That move appears to have had a small effect on the poll, with Labor’s primary vote increasing by one percentage point.

Tellingly for Xenophon, the poll shows the majority of voters in the seat were not swayed negatively by claims from former party worker and now Advance SA candidate Jenny Low that Xenophon had been emotionally manipulative during their long-term personal relationship.

According to Seven, the poll showed that the allegations had no impact on the voting intentions of 58.2 per cent of voters, while a further 18 per cent were more likely to vote for Xenophon.

Xenophon is also the clear preference of Hartley voters for Premier. He was favoured by 43.7 per cent of respondents, with Liberal leader Steven Marshall on 31.3 and Premier Jay Weatherill in the rear on 25.

At the 2014 election, the Liberals polled 47.3 per cent of the primary vote, and Labor 39.9. If the ReachTEL poll is accurate, this means the Liberals have lost more than 10 per cent of their support, while Labor’s support has evaporated by nearly 20 percentage points.

The two-party preferred result at the election was 52.4 to 47.6 in Tarzia’s favour.

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