Libs poised to win election

TASMANIA looks set to be led by a majority Liberal government after next Saturday, but new polling shows the fifth seat in many electorates is still up for grabs.

A ReachTEL poll of 1627 Tasmanians, commissioned by The Examiner, shows the Liberals' primary vote is strong at 47.1 per cent statewide, well ahead of Labor on 23.6 per cent and the Greens on 18.2 per cent.

In what is shaping up as one of the most interesting election battles, Premier Lara Giddings and Labor leadership rival David O'Byrne will struggle to both be re-elected with Labor's primary vote in Franklin at just 26.9 per cent.

Preferences from the Greens and Palmer United Party will be crucial in determining whether they both hang on or the Liberals claim a third spot in the electorate.

The polling, conducted on Thursday night, also reveals:

•A seat is within Palmer United Party's grasp with support up to 9.7 per cent in Braddon.

•The Greens are close to winning a second seat in Denison.

•Almost two-thirds of Tasmanians want a majority government.

•Liberal leader Will Hodgman is the most popular choice for premier, enjoying a 54.4 per cent personal approval rating.

Labor's numbers could be halved

LABOR'S numbers in State Parliament could be halved next Saturday as the Greens and Palmer United Party appear to be eating into the major party's support, the latest polling shows.

A ReachTEL poll of 1627 Tasmanians, commissioned by The Examiner, shows support for the Liberals is at 50 per cent or more in the three Northern electorates of Bass, Braddon and Lyons, putting them on track to win at least 13 seats to form majority government.

Labor is at risk of winning just five seats - one in each electorate - leaving Premier Lara Giddings and senior minister David O'Byrne, to fight it out in Franklin.

The figures will add to concerns among Labor powerbrokers who want Mr O'Byrne to take over as Labor leader to rebuild the party after the election, that he won't hold his seat.

Ms Giddings has told the ABC that she will let Labor members decide who leads the party after the election, signalling she intends to fight to remain at the top.

The Greens appear certain to hold four seats and have a chance of winning a second seat in Denison.

Claiming 27.6 per cent of the primary vote in the progressive electorate, the Greens have overtaken Labor and could claim the seat vacated by retiring Labor MHA Graeme Sturges.

In Braddon, Greens MHA Paul O'Halloran is in danger of losing his seat to Palmer United Party's lead candidate Kevin Morgan.

The new minor party has concentrated its efforts on building its brand in the North-West and it appears to be paying off with PUP's popularity increasing to almost 10 per cent in Braddon.

Labor's support is lowest in Bass at 20 per cent, which will put either first term MHA Brian Wightman or Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne out of a job.

Liberal candidates Barry Jarvis and Leonie McNair will be left to fight it out to replace them.

The polling, conducted on Thursday night, also showed more than half of Tasmanians rated the current government as poor or very poor.

However, almost a quarter were satisfied with its performance and 21 per cent thought it had done a very good or good job.

More than 63 per cent of respondents wanted a majority government while almost one in five was undecided on the issue. Liberal leader Will Hodgman was the preferred premier of more than 54 per cent.

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