The Victorian Labor Party is poised for victory, a new Essential Research state poll suggests, with a two-party preferred lead over the Coalition of 53%-47%, despite the Coalition holding a big lead on perceptions of economic management.

The poll, conducted over three weeks from November 7, with a sample size of just under 800, has the government on 40%, Labor on 39% and the Greens on 13% — all up a point from October. Others, including the beleaguered Palmer United Party, are down to 8%. The 53%-47% outcome is a shift in favour of Labor from October, when it was 52%-48%. The Greens’ 13% represents nearly a 2 point increase since the 2010 election.

Labor’s strong polling is despite the Coalition holding a handy lead on a number of policy issues in terms of voter trust. Premier Denis Napthine’s government holds a big lead over Labor on economic management (43% trusting the Coalition, to 24% trusting Labor), roads and freeways (difference of 13 points), planning for the future (10 points), police and public safety (8 points) and Victoria’s future energy needs (5 points). But the telling difference is on the two issues that, after economic management, are most commonly identified as important in voters’ decisions about which way to vote. On health and hospitals, Daniel Andrews’ Labor leads the Coalition by 11 points, and education and schools, Labor leads the Coalition by 14 points.

Peter Fray

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