The Poll Bludger has received outstanding intelligence from Queensland observer Peter Krumins which has prompted what will no doubt be the first of many second thoughts about my predictions for the Queensland election outcome. Krumins has also submitted his observations to Peter Brent at Mumble, where they may be read in full.
Firstly, I recognise now that I was unduly influenced by the Mackerras pendulum in choosing Charters Towers as one to fall to the Nationals. Krumins notes that this was always a tough seat for the Nationals to hold during the 1990s – a 3.7 per cent margin in 1998, and just 0.4 per cent in 1992. Furthermore, Labor’s result relative to other seats in the neighbourhood was dampened by a smaller field of candidates. So scratch that one and bump Labor back up to 66 seats.
Secondly, I have dropped my prediction that the National Party’s Christian Rowan will win Gympie from independent Elisa Roberts. With a field of seven candidates, five of what-may-be-called-the-right and only two of what-may-be-called-the-left (Labor and the Greens), Labor’s Rae Gate can expect to easily rise above the pack in terms of the primary vote. Whether she gets overhauled on preferences most likely depends on who ends up in second place. Roberts would probably gather enough preferences from supporters of other candidates to overhaul Gate; Rowan would probably not, in which case Labor would secure a once-unthinkable victory.
A guide to helping us towards a conclusion here, although not a very reliable one, comes from the good people at the Gympie Times, who have evidently not been reading the Poll Bludger too carefully. Today they published a self-conducted poll of 100 respondents and it mirrored the efforts of the AEC Group/Townsville Bulletin in recording a 41 per cent undecided rating, though it should be noted here that the Gympie Times doesn’t do this for a living. This was announced with the front page headline, "Poll shock: 40% voters undecided". Those of you who committed yesterday’s blog entry to memory (see paragraph four) will no doubt find this terribly amusing. Out of the remainder, support was at 22 per cent (which out of a sample of 100 is … let me grab my calculator here … 22!) for Labor, 17 per cent for Roberts, 13 per cent for the Nationals, 3 per cent for the Greens, and 2 per cent each for One Nation and independent candidate Wayne Sachs. Not much to go on, but some help at least in edging me towards a conclusion that this is a finely-poised race between Roberts and Gate, with Rowan unlikely to be in the hunt.
While the Poll Bludger leans towards a Roberts victory for the time being, there is at least the possibility of Sunday morning newspaper headlines along the lines of "Poll shock: Beattie’s increased majority".