A dedicated thread for Queensland election speculation would seem in order. Despite previous false alarms, the state’s press corps remains convinced Bligh will visit the Governor sooner rather than later. Greg Roberts of The Australian suggests the catalyst will be a gloomy state budget in May (UPDATE: Mark Bahnisch of Larvatus Prodeo notes the budget is actually brought down in June). He also reports on sobering internal polling for the Liberal National Party:
The polling indicates that Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, an ex-Nationals farmer who led the coalition to two election defeats, is failing to connect with Brisbane voters … The western suburbs electorate of Indooroopilly, which was once a blue ribbon Liberal stronghold, is regarded as a must-win seat for the LNP. But the polling puts support for the LNP candidate Scott Emerson, The Australian’s former Queensland political reporter at 5 per cent behind the combined Greens-ALP vote. The Indooroopilly contest is complicated by the defection last year of Labor MP Ronan Lee to the Greens. Mr Lee is likely to swap preferences with Labor, even though Labor has yet to nominate a candidate after Mr Lee’s defection. The LNP is 5 per cent behind Labor in the bayside seat of Cleveland, which needs a swing of 1.5 per cent to the LNP for the Government to lose. In the inner-city seat of Clayfield, which returned to the LNP fold at the 2006 election, the polling suggests a lineball result, with shadow treasurer Tim Nicholls struggling to hold on. The only bright polling spot was in the northern suburbs seat of Aspley, where the LNP was one point ahead of Labor.
This squares with the perception of Paul Williams of Griffith University:
Brisbane’s progressive Liberals will not vote for a party headed by a National. Lawrence Springborg’s LNP might suffer a devastating loss … I’m told by a senior Labor figure that internal ALP polling shows a remarkable pattern: the so-called Beattie Liberals, those middle-class Brisbane voters who loyally voted for John Howard federally (and the state Liberals until the mid-1990s), are sticking with Labor and Premier Anna Bligh … Labor’s polling allegedly shows Brisbane’s progressive Liberals despite anger at major public infrastructure failings in health, water and roads still cannot bring themselves to vote for a conservative party headed by a National.
UPDATE: As has been noted in comments, Greg Roberts is wrong to indicate the LNP might have something to fear in Indooroopilly if they were 5 per cent behind the combined Greens-ALP vote. The take-up of the exhausted vote option in Queensland is high enough that preferences will not flow tightly between Labor and the Greens like they do in compulsory preferential systems, as is presupposed by talk of a combined Greens-ALP vote.