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Nationals are growing, Joyce insists

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Rashida Yosufzai

Should the party for regional Australians worry about what's happened in the United States?

A big divide between rural and city voters in the US delivered Donald Trump the keys to the White House on an anti-free trade, anti-establishment platform.

At home, the party representing farmers and rural communities is a strong proponent of Australia's trade agreements with agriculture exports earning the nation several billion dollars a year.

But a recent Essential poll shows support for the Nationals has dropped in the past month - from three per cent of the primary vote to two per cent.

Conservative parties such as One Nation are leaning in.

Pauline Hanson has made a strong pitch for rural votes, recently spruiking her farming credentials to the annual congress of the National Farmers Federation and revealing plans to target rural voters in the next Queensland state election.

Even one of the Nationals' own, George Christensen, has warned what's happened in the US will only galvanise disaffected voters here.

"We're probably only a few years behind the US," the Nationals MP said.

"The same movement, the one of populism, fused with nationalism, fused with conservatism is going to come here."

But Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce insisted support is surging.

"Our party is growing, our vote's growing, our supporters are growing," he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

Mr Joyce said he his deputy Fiona Nash were building the party back up.

"I was having a yarn with Fiona ... and said, 'when we started, all they used to talk about was closing the National Party down, now we are in the ascendancy again and growing again'."

And the key to remaining popular? Stay humble.

"We don't want to be the party of high colour, we want to be the party of hard work," Mr Joyce said.

"We are delivering on a policy side and we are ... keeping our heads screwed on, on a personal side."

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