Barnaby Joyce could be first Deputy PM to lose seat: polls
NEWLY-minted Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce could become the first Deputy Prime Minister to be turfed from office at an election, as polling shows he is facing an uphill battle against returning Independent Tony Windsor for the seat of New England.
Newspoll figures in The Australian suggest Mr Windsor would take the seat 52% to 48% after preferences.
The duelling politicians are running almost at a dead heat on the primary vote, with Nationals to garner 46% to Mr Windsor's 44%
If the controversial Shenhua Watermark Mine is approved in nearby Liverpool Plains, the Nationals' support would fall to 42% of the primary vote, allowing Mr Windsor to romp into the seat with 47% before preferences.
After preferences this would become 56%
The Newspoll showed Mr Joyce's primary vote had fallen from 54% to 46% since the 2013 election when Mr Windsor was not contesting.
Mr Windsor held the seat between 2001 and 2013. His primary polling sits at 44%.
In the 2010 election -- when he last ran -- he won a primary vote of 62%.
The Australian reports the pressure of the battle for the northern New South Wales seat risks hampering Mr Joyce's ability to help colleagues hold on to or win other seats for the Nationals.
Mr Windsor has previously warned he would run an intense grassroots campaign against the Nationals leader for New England.
On Sunday, Mr Windsor announced via his Facebook page that he had raised $39,373 in campaign funds in 48 hours, all from "small online donations".
Mr Joyce became leader of the Nationals after Wide Bay MP Warren Truss last month announced he would not contest this year's election.
Mr Joyce was elected to the leadership position unopposed.