State election: Survey reveals Labor as the favourite among Geraldton voters

Phoebe Pin & Liam BeattyGeraldton Guardian
Alannah MacTiernan, Mark McGowan and Lara Dalton.
Camera IconAlannah MacTiernan, Mark McGowan and Lara Dalton. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

Labor could be heading for a comfortable win in Geraldton on the back of Mark McGowan’s popularity, a street-talk survey has revealed ahead of tomorrow’s election.

It appears the town could be painted red, with the Geraldton Guardian canvassing more than 150 people after they left the early voting centre on Durlacher Street over the past week, and 53 per cent of people saying they voted for Labor candidate Lara Dalton.

Just over 25.5 per cent of voters had given their ballot to Nationals MP Ian Blayney, with 13.1 per cent of votes going to Liberal candidate for Geraldton Rob Dines.

About 8.5 per cent of people voted for a minor party candidate.

Sportsbet yesterday had Labor as the hot-priced favourite for Geraldton, paying $1.03 for Ms Dalton to win, compared to $10 for the Nationals and $18 for the Liberals.

The Nationals hold Geraldton by a slender 1.3 per cent, making it WA’s most marginal regional seat.

Several people spoken to at the early voting centre admitted to submitting donkey votes because they could not decide which candidate to support.

Most female voters wanted Ms Dalton to win, while the majority of men gave their vote to Mr Blayney.

While he had received the lowest number of votes of the three major party Lower House candidates from those canvassed, Mr Dines has won over some voters through Liberal leader Zak Kirkup’s campaign message emphasising the need to create as many blue seats as possible.

Several Liberal voters said it was important to “keep McGowan and Labor honest”. Others were business owners and said they backed Mr Dines because “Liberal has always been good for business”.

Many people who voted for Ms Dalton said they had done so because they admired Mr McGowan’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic and it made “sense to have a Labor member for Geraldton”. Mr McGowan haas won over several first-time Labor voters for the State Geraldton seat, with one voter saying “he has done a bloody good job”.

Another voter said she gave her vote to Ms Dalton because she thought Geraldton needed fresh leadership.

“I think we need a change and I think it should be a woman,” she said.

There were also several first-time Nationals voters at the polling booths, with one voter saying the party’s regional focus had won her over.

“It was a hard decision but Labor can be somewhat city-centric,” she said.

One voter said he wanted a Member for Geraldton who would fight to have Royalties for Regions restored.

Another said he was familiar with Mr Blayney’s work and thought he was “doing a good job”.

One voter said it was the lack of support for family daycare centres from the Labor Government during the pandemic which steered her towards the Nationals.

One woman said it was Mr McGowan’s hard border policy which swayed her vote.

“McGowan has been good but he has kept the borders closed for too long ... I haven’t seen my family in over a year,” she said. Of the people surveyed, 13 said they did not vote for a major party.

Others passionate about social and climate justice said they voted for the Greens. WA Labor has not held the seat since Shane Hill was Member for Geraldton between 2001 and 2008.

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