A moderate leader could help the Canberra Liberals recapture the centre ground in ACT politics, a political analyst says.
The assessment from Australian National University politics lecturer Jill Sheppard comes as internal Labor polling suggests less than a third of Canberrans wanted to see Alistair Coe as chief minister.
The future of the Canberra Liberals leadership remained up in the air on Wednesday, with Mr Coe still weighing up whether or not to recontest for the position.
Potential challengers for the role - such as Jeremy Hanson and Elizabeth Lee - are highly unlikely to declare their intention to run until the final votes have been tallied.
In the post-mortem of Saturday's election defeat, Liberal members, including former chief minister Gary Humpries, have called for radical reforms of the branch amid concerns its conservative powerbase is hurting the party's chances of ending their exile in opposition.
Labor heavily targeted Mr Coe's conservatism throughout the election campaign, painting him as at odds with mainstream Canberrans.
Dr Sheppard said that in order for the Canberra Liberals to recapture some of the middle ground of ACT politics from Labor, she expected they would need a more moderate leader.
Mr Hanson and Ms Lee are both from the Liberals' left flank.
Dr Sheppard said Mr Coe's leadership had been interesting, because he hadn't made his conservative values front and centre of debate.
"But given that everyone knows his views on same-sex marriage, on abortion, it's been a real hamstring on their ability to connect to Canberra voters," she said.
Internal Labor research seen by The Canberra Times provides some insight into how Mr Coe was perceived by voters in the months before the election.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr was ahead of Mr Coe as preferred chief minister 58 per cent to 29 per cent, according to a poll of almost 2700 Canberrans conducted in August. The remaining 13 per cent were unsure.
Meanwhile, ex-Canberra Liberals leader and Belco Party convenor Bill Stefaniak said the Liberals' electoral fortunes would have been boosted had they committed to deferring the next stage of light rail.
He said it would have freed up the money needed to pay for the Liberals' election promises, while also showing votes that the party "stood for something".
Despite Saturday's results, which has seen the Liberals lose at least two seats, Mr Stefaniak said his former party shouldn't lose hope.
"If Labor and the Greens stuff this next four years up, and there is every likelihood of that happening because they are running up huge debts, I wouldn't be surprised to see them rocketing back to win an absolute majority in 2024," he said.
Some have blamed the Liberals' performance in Ginninderra on Mr Stefaniak's party, believing it split the conservative vote in Canberra's west.
Mr Stefaniak said many Belco Party supporters hadn't filled out their full ballots, which would have denied the Liberals a significant number of preference votes.