A new poll has found that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has maintained a substantial lead over his political rival as preferred premier.

A statewide poll of almost 1,500 people revealed that 42 per cent of Victorians think that the Premier is best fit to lead the state. Meanwhile, opposition leader Michael O’Brien received the backing of only 23 per cent of Victorians.

The news comes despite Andrews’ prolonged absence from the top job after fracturing his spine in a fall on the Mornington Peninsula.

28 per cent of the state said that they would prefer neither man in the job, while another 6 per cent were undecided.

And while Labor still leads in the all-important two-part-preferred poll, their lead over the Liberal party has slimmed since September 2020, dropping from 54 per cent to 52 per cent as the party Victorians would vote for if an election were held today.

Long-running COVID-19 restrictions and intermittent lockdowns are thought to have hurt Labor’s standing, especially across its western suburbs heartland, with only 36 per cent of across Melbourne’s west keen to vote the Andrews government back in.

Mr Andrews is expected to return to work next Monday following his four months away from office.

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