The state seat of Lismore looks increasingly like a three-way tussle with National Party support in the district plummeting, according to poll results announced today.
In 2015, sitting National Party member Thomas George held onto the seat with 42.5 per cent of the first-preference vote.
But after preferences were allocated, it was a narrow victory over the Greens’ Adam Guise with a little over 2,000 votes between them.
ABC pollster Antony Green had predicted that with CSG declining as a local issue, the Nationals might benefit in Lismore. But that seems not to be the case, according to the YouGov Galaxy poll.
The poll puts first-time National Party candidate Austin Curtin on just 35 per cent of the primary vote, a drop of seven per cent from 2015.
And it predicts that with the Greens holding 28 per cent of first preferences, and Labor on 27, a small change in numbers could see either party secure the seat.
Some 588 Lismore voters were contacted for the poll.
High profile opposition
Both Labor and the Greens have chosen high profile candidates.
Janelle Saffin held the corresponding federal seat of Page for Labor for two terms after coming to office during the Kevin ’07 landslide.
Greens candidate Sue Higginson is a local farmer and former CEO of the Environmental Defenders Office.
By comparison, Mr Curtin is a fresh face, who lacks the benefit of incumbency. The Nationals will still have strong memories of how that went down for Kris Beavis in Ballina in 2015.
To make matters worse for Mr Curtin, two ‘alternative’ conservative candidates are standing in the seat this time, potentially eroding those much-needed first preferences.
They are Paul Collits, representing Cory Bernadi’s Australian Conservatives, and popular Lismore Councillor Greg Bennett, who is standing as an independent.
Alison Waters of the Animal Justice Party is likely to direct her preferences to Ms Higginson.
David Taylor rounds out the how-to-vote card, standing on behalf of the Sustainable Australia Party. Whether he will direct preferences at all is unclear: the party’s website says, ‘we prefer that YOU decide where to direct your own preferences’.
So, all in all, it looks set to go down to the wire in Lismore.
One thing Mr Curtin can rely on is the donkey vote: he has drawn the top of the ballot paper.