Victorian Election Newsletter – Issue 3

21 November 2014:

The penultimate week of the Victorian election campaign saw both the Premier and Opposition Leader face-off in a “Peoples’ Forum” type debate on Wednesday night in the marginal seat of Frankston. The leaders answered questions from a cross-section of Victorian voters on familiar and more nuanced policy issues that have been raised in the campaign thus far, including the East-West Link, legalising marijuana, election costings, and political credibility when it comes to breaking election promises.

Commentators largely agreed there was no clear “winner” of the debate, with Opposition Leader Andrews favoured by 39 audience members, compared to 38 voting for Premier Napthine, while 23 remained undecided. Herald Sun Political Editor, James Campbell, wrote that he saw the Opposition Leader as “the better performer”, while The Age stated that “Dr Napthine began the debate more confidently, but Mr Andrews was stronger in the second half.”

The debate comes on the back of polling conducted last week in the must-win seats of Bentleigh and Buninyong. The Herald Sun/Galaxy poll found that the Coalition is improving its position in Bentleigh with a two-party preferred vote favouring the Government 52 to 48 per cent. In Buninyong, a key regional electorate which encompasses Ballarat East, Labor leads 54 to 46 per cent. The latest state wide Herald Sun/Galaxy published this morning shows Labor maintaining an election winning lead, with a 52 to 48 per cent advantage. If this trend continues across the State it is predicted the Opposition would win government with an eight seat majority.

This week, both parties continued a gruelling pace on the campaign trail, making commitments in key marginal seats within the regions and metropolitan Melbourne. On Tuesday, the Premier visited the newly redistributed electorates of Wendouree and Buninyong to announce $24 million in funding to expand, upgrade and enhance six community sports venues across the Ballarat region. Other key announcements from the Coalition this week can be read here.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews, also campaigned in the marginal seats, with a focus on Labor’s key messages in regional policy and education. Key developments can be read here.

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