Federal Election 2016: Poll suggests Nick Xenophon Team could take lower house seats in SA
New polling suggests the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) could snatch lower house seats from the Coalition at Saturday's election, as well as claiming several Senate spots.
Poll shows Nick Xenophon Team in third place behind Labor in SA
Liberal seats in its sights include Mayo, Grey, Barker
Election expert NXT also a chance with disaffected Labor voters
The Lonergan Research poll of 3,000 people, conducted this week and funded by NXT, shows NXT polling just behind Labor in the primary vote in South Australia.
The poll showed the Liberal Party at 36 per cent, Labor at 26 per cent, NXT at 24 per cent, the Greens 6 per cent, Family First 5 per cent and others 3 per cent.
However the party's leader, Nick Xenophon, isn't getting excited.
"My nature is I'm a cautious pessimist, I'll wait and see," he said. "The response has been strong. It's a big deal to take on the two major parties, to try to break that duopoly."
Where Xenophon is targeting
NXT is targeting several House of Representatives seats in South Australia, including the Liberal seats of Mayo, Grey and Barker, and the Labor seats of Port Adelaide and Kingston.
The seat of Grey covers almost 92 per cent of the state, an area larger than New South Wales.
The Liberals hold the electorate by a margin of 13 per cent, but a ReachTEL poll commissioned by Channel 7 earlier this month showed NXT leading in a two-party preferred vote.
On Wednesday Mr Xenophon visited the steel city of Whyalla in Grey, where the loss of jobs is a big election issue. Steelmaker Arrium's move into administration has put a cloud over thousands of jobs and the future of the city.
Local Liberal MP Rowen Ramsay has been the member for almost nine years.
"No-one wants to live with the idea that they may not have a job tomorrow, and I think one of the biggest impacts has been that loss of consumer confidence, particularly here in Whyalla," Mr Ramsay said.
He is confident the city is turning a corner.
"I think the commitment the Federal Government and State Government has made to making sure the steel works are a continuing asset for Australia means people can rest assured the steel works is going to continue."
But Nick Xenophon and his local candidate Andrea Broadfoot think more needs to be done.
"People want their families looked after, they want to know there are jobs, and these are all key for this electorate where we've had a lot of job losses," she said.
Mr Ramsey is hoping voters will back him for another term.
"I had a poll quite early on in my career that suggested I was going to lose this seat by quite a substantial margin, which proved not to be right," he said.
"We're really not sure how much influence he [Mr Xenophon] is going to exert over his team, however big that team might be. We know that some have had quite different opinions to Nick on a range of issues. His last foray into a team disintegrated within months in the South Australian parliament."
Nick Xenophon is confident the team will hold together.
"We've gone through an effectively 18-month job interview process with our candidates," he said.
"This is a very different approach to some of the other micro parties that have set up."
'Voters are profoundly disappointed'
Associate Professor Haydon Manning, of Flinders University, said NXT was attracting voters disaffected with the major parties.
"There are many Liberal voters who are profoundly disappointed with the Abbott experience and they're prone, I would argue, to cast around and find somewhere else to park their vote at this election," Mr Manning said.
Some voters were also wary of Labor, he said.
"The clear question there for many voters is can you trust Labor, given the experience of the Labor years? That's really the shackle that Shorten's held throughout the campaign and that's been a huge advantage to Xenophon and his team because they're able to pick up disaffected Labor voters."
However he said recent world events could have an affect on some voters.
"A week ago you would have thought, gee whiz that Xenophon Team have a real chance of taking a safe Liberal seat," he said.
"But Brexit throws a significant wobbly into the picture. The Prime Minister is clearly stressing don't risk the chaos of these minor and independent parties.
"But I have a feeling that the [NXT] vote will hold up."
Source: ABC News