Crikey today provided an assessment from Melbourne-based election watcher Charles Richardson, whose reading of the Queensland situation is broadly in line with the Poll Bludger’s except that he takes an ever dimmer view of the Liberal Party’s prospects. Only Clayfield and Barron River are nominated as potential Liberal gains, so no Noosa, Kawana or Indooroopilly. Richardson may know something the Poll Bludger doesn’t with regard to Barron River, but the Liberal candidate ran a distant third in 2001 and most observers would be surprised if this fell before the others. More importantly, Richardson does not share what may be a lazy assumption of the Poll Bludger’s that the Liberals can’t possibly lose any of their existing three seats, and rightly notes that anything could happen in light of Joan Sheldon’s departure from Caloundra.
He does not however consider Surfers Paradise worth a mention, which brings me to the excellent series of electorate-level polls conducted throughout the campaign by the Gold Coast Bulletin. Earlier posts related results for Gaven (click here) and Broadwater (click here) and the Poll Bludger has today been able to hunt down the other three. The Surfers Paradise results are even worse for incumbent independent Lex Bell than I had realised, having him a distant third (on 17 per cent) behind Liberal John-Paul Langbroek (38 per cent) and Labor’s David Parrish (35 per cent). In Burleigh, Labor’s Christine Smith, elected on a margin of 1.8 per cent, was sitting pretty on 41 per cent against 25 per cent for the Nationals’ Max Duncan, with Greens and One Nation on 7 and 3 per cent respectively. And in long-forgotten Currumbin, Merri Rose led her Liberal challenger 41 to 30 per cent. By the way, these high primary vote figures were not achieved by distributing the undecided vote – this was recorded in the results at an impressively low 6, 21 and 16 per cent respectively, in stark contrast to the efforts of other regional newspapers during the campaign.
How-to-vote cards will count for less than ever at this election, but the small number of exceptions the major parties have made to their just-one-vote strategy are potentially of interest. The Coalition are recommending a second preference to independents Liz Cunningham (incumbent) in Gladstone and David Moyle (challenger) in Thuringowa, both of which make sound tactical sense in terms of thwarting Labor. Labor are recommending second preferences only to Nicklin MP Peter Wellington and, curiously, independent candidate Ruth Spencer in Warrego.