Onward and upward

Whatever else might be said about Australia’s opinion polling agencies, they cannot be faulted for having sent mixed messages during the current Queensland election campaign. If today’s Newspoll figures are to be believed, the trend towards Labor has turned exponential: their primary vote has gone from 45 per cent to 52 per cent in one week, and the two-party gap has widened from 54-46 to 58-42. The accompanying report in The Australian buttresses itself against the poll’s obvious inaccuracy, saying "long-term tracking by Newspoll shows Labor often squanders a strong lead developed mid-way through a campaign" – which is the first I have heard of such a phenomenon. The Coalition’s primary vote is at 36 per cent, leaving a surprisingly meagre 12 per cent to spare for minor parties and independents.

If you haven’t take an a look at the Poll Bludger election guide lately, the following entries have been expanded in the past week: Cook, Mulgrave, Thuringowa, Redlands, Mansfield, Noosa, Cleveland, Glass House, Ipswich West, Springwood, Burdekin, Hinchinbrook and Currumbin.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

9 comments on “Onward and upward”

  1. i’m really not thinking this election will go as well as predicted off some of these results. On the ground, here in qld, labor keeps copping flak over health and roads. However Beatties timing couldn’t be better, with the Valley Fiesta and Riverfire kicking off just before and after sept 9.

    Labor will probably hold places like indooropilly and lose some blue collar working class (but half country hick) electorate like kurwongbah.

    All up, labor to win with 5 seats.

  2. Having looked at the Australian article – a query about how good the sample is. the Green vote at 2% looks implausibly low. Is this a sample which understandstate minor parties and independents?

  3. I find this very hard to believe.
    The last thing Beattie needs, it’ll encourage the protest vote if people think a Labor victory is a fait accompli.
    I’m still predicting there will be some wild flucuations in results on election night: Labor loses a number of seats, a couple of surprise loses, but it wins back Chatsworth and maybe Redcliffe or Curumbin.
    Perhaps a final majority of 10?

  4. I find this very difficult to believe. The Courier-Mail (Furious Flail etc) website’s comments section is surprisingly pro-minor party, with supporters of the Greens and Family First both declaring their intentions to vote minor party for the first time. I don’t think that this trend would appear in the comments of an essentially rather conservative paper without some backup in the results on election day.

  5. Denis Atkins wrote the other day in the C-M that the protest vote might actually be a protest by conservative and swinging voters about how hopeless the opposition is. There might be something in that!

  6. Whilst the coalition, particularly the Liberals, did not have a good start to the campaign, and presumably would have suffered a setback as a result, the Newspoll figures look totally unrealistic, and are a reflection I believe of serious sampling error… not unusual for such polls in QLD, given the decentralisation and diversity within the state.

    From my observations of my own (admittedly small number) of relatives, friends and acquaintances, all are either planing to vote the same way as last time (either by first or secondary preferencing) or to change from ALP to coalition. I am yet to hear of anyone changing from coalition to ALP, so I am convinced there will be a ‘swing to the right’, the only question remaining being by how much.

    The last few days have not seen good news stories for the government. Premier Pete came accross abit snarly on the news last night, there was another bad headline in the Courier Mail this morning re water management, and the general news has had stories of shootings, a stabbing in the City Mall, and other events that presumably would not in a general sense influence people to vote for the Government.

  7. The sample could be a statistical blip. the Green vote at 2% look implausibly low and the independent vote is likely to be understated because of the sampling difficulties in Queensland.

    the other issue that annoys me intensely is the way polls are reported including by the pollsters who if they haveany understanding of statistics should know better

  8. That’s interesting Geoffrey. In my circle there are the usual suspects like my girlfriend who’ll vote ALP regardless whether or not the ALP was on the nose.

    Then there are those like my boss who also only votes ALP (we dig each other over his ALP leanings and my Liberal leanings – he almost killed his brother last Federal election for first time in bro’s life he voted Liberal). This time around he said he hopes there is a GREEN in his safe ALP electorate cause he wants to send a protest to Beattie. That raised my eyebrows – I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He then added that after ten years its good to change govts and that that should be the case with Johhny also – been in power too long also). Wow is all I could say. I would doubt he would be alone.

    Then I know others who also lean ALP but want to vote for the opposition but don’t see a viable alternative leader in the COALITION yet. I think they make up the 30% undecided that doesn’t seem to get mentioned when polls are published.

    I feel that out there, there is a leaning to the right and a swing away from Labor. Newspoll is way off the mark IMO. There is a strong urge to protest Beattie. Take in to account the large undecided and either you might have a rediculous ALP landslide (where the oppositon is wiped out to the detriment of good opposition in Parliament) or a conservative landslide. A narrow result may not be on the cards at all. the last week of campaigning will make the difference, not the first 3 weeks – who remembers them.

    My tip – the undecideds will decide (so Newspoll et al are irrelevant to me) closer to Sept 9. If Beattie gets more negative spin like his admittance of NO HEALTH CRISIS then he might be looking at defeat as the undecideds decide they have had enough and want to give the new guys a go (they couldn’t do any worse but better).

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