The Sunday Mail has published one of the small-sample state polls occasionally conducted by the Advertiser stable, this one covering 515 respondents with a margin of error approaching 4.5 per cent. The poll suggests the government is suffering a garden-variety bout of third term malaise, with the Liberals leading 54-46 on two-party preferred. On the primary vote Labor scores just 31 per cent, with the Liberals on 45 per cent and the Greens on 14 per cent. Given how badly the Liberals were short-changed at the election last March, that only represents a 2.4 per cent two-party swing – which, given a uniform swing and re-election of the three independents, would put Labor and Liberal on 22 seats each. However, that doesn’t take into account that a redistribution will follow before the next election, which the commissioners will have to conduct it in such a way as to achieve “electoral fairness”. They will have their work cut out for them.
Given Labor’s relative competitiveness on the two-party vote, Mike Rann is remarkably far behind as preferred premier, with Liberal leader Isobel Redmond leading 58 per cent to 31 per cent. Appropriately enough, the poll also inquired as to whom they would prefer in the saddle when Rann eventually gets around to deciding that 17 years as Labor leader is enough. Far and away the preferred candidate is Jay Weatherill of a Left faction that was sidelined in last week’s cabinet reshuffle, which saw the Right’s John Rau replace Kevin Foley as Deputy Premier. Weatherill was rated Rann’s preferred successor by 33 per cent against just 9 per cent for John Rau and a brace of also-rans ranging from 2 per cent 6 per cent.