Polling agencies move in mysterious ways, as demonstrated by their insistence on letting respondents choose out of the Nationals and Liberals in Queensland state election surveys. Given that there will be no three-cornered contests at the election, voters will in fact have to make do with one or the other depending on where the live. Nevertheless, tomorrow’s Galaxy Research figures in the Courier-Mail turn up an interesting result: support for the Liberals has fallen over two weeks from 28 per cent to 24 per cent and now 22 per cent, while the Nationals have travelled from 15 per cent to 16 per cent to 18 per cent.
Why ever could that be? One answer suggests itself if we discount the notion that "all publicity is good publicity" and do some quick word searches on the Factiva news archive, which make clear that the current Liberal leader has assumed a higher profile than his predecessor had in 2004. The following table indicates the number of references to party leaders in the first 11 days of the two campaigns, both of which started four Tuesdays before polling day.
|Peter Beattie||760 (58.1%)||837 (54.9%)|
|Lawrence Springborg||385 (29.4%)||387 (25.4%)|
|Bob Quinn/Bruce Flegg||163 (12.5%)||300 (19.7%)|
In fairness to Flegg, it should be noted that the Nationals also gained ground on the Liberals after the 2004 election was announced, presumably because respondents became aware of which candidates were running in their own seats. As for Labor, Galaxy has their support over the past two weeks progressing from 42 per cent to 45 per cent to 47 per cent, and the two-party split reversing from 49-51 to a point where it is "edging closer" to the 55.5-44.5 result from 2004.