Malcolm in the middle: Prime Minister not favoured in Orange electorate

OUT OF FAVOUR: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: SMH

OUT OF FAVOUR: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: SMH

THE political effects of the pivotal Orange byelection are being felt in Canberra as well as Macquarie Street.

A poll obtained by Fairfax Media has revealed Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop are more popular with voters than Malcolm Turnbull in the NSW seat of Orange.

The poll of 725 voters, conducted by ReachTEL for NSW Labor, comes ahead of a crunch byelection in the state seat on November 12.

Voters in the Orange electorate were asked who they considered was the better prime minister and were given three choices - Mr Turnbull, Mr Abbott and Ms Bishop.

Just 32.6 per cent of voters nominated Mr Turnbull as better prime minister; 33.7 per cent of voters nominated former prime minister Mr Abbott and 33.8 per cent of voters nominated deputy Liberal leader Ms Bishop.

The poll had a five per cent margin of error and there are about 55,000 voters in the state seat of Orange.

The results come in the wake of NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant’s quashing of speculation he would be forced to stand down should Nationals candidate Scott Barrett lose the seat.

The sitting state MP, Andrew Gee, resigned and won the federal seat of Calare on July 2, forcing the byelection.

Orange is historically a strongly conservative seat that is held by the National Party - Labor last held it in 1947 - but there are concerns in Coalition ranks it could fall amid a growing backlash over NSW Premier Mike Baird's decision to ban greyhound racing - a decision opposed by many Nationals MPs.

Mr Turnbull trailed across every age group and along gender lines, too.

Ms Bishop had the backing of 37.6 per cent of female voters, compared to 31.7 per cent for Mr Abbott and 30.4 per cent for Mr Turnbull. Among men, Mr Abbott led with 35.7 per cent, Mr Turnbull came second with 34.8 per cent and Ms Bishop was third, with 29.5 per cent support as better prime minister.

Ms Bishop was most popular as better prime minister with 39.3 per cent support among 18-34 year olds and 35.7 per cent support among 35-50 year olds; Mr Abbott was the most popular choice of 51-65 year olds with 38.1 per cent support and a thumping 43.1 per cent support among over 65s.

The findings are consistent with other national polls which found Mr Turnbull's rating as prime minister compared to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had fallen to 32 per cent.

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