Newspoll: 60-40 to LNP in Queensland

Bit late off the mark with this one, but yesterday’s Australian carried a Newspoll survey of voting intention in Queensland which emphatically answered two key questions: will Anna Bligh’s flood-and-cyclone poll bounce endure (no), and will voters play along with the Campbell Newman experiment (yes). The poll finds that not only is Labor almost back down to its late 2010 primary vote nadir, but that the Newman-led LNP has sucked in huge numbers of votes from minor parties and independents. Labor’s 31 per cent compares with 29 per cent in the third quarter of 2010 and 26 per cent in the fourth, while the LNP’s 51 per cent is fully six points higher than at their previous peak in October-December. The Greens meanwhile have shed three points to 7 per cent, with “others” down four to 11 per cent.

The effect of this multiple transfusion to the LNP primary vote has been to push their two-party lead to a new high of 60-40, a better result than the October-December poll which had Labor’s primary vote five points lower than at present. In between came a remarkable result in the January-March poll which was not replicated elsewhere, showing Labor with a 52-48 lead from primary votes of 38 per cent for Labor and 37 per cent for the LNP. That poll probably set a few records for sharpest polling reversals, some of which would now have been broken again.

On personal ratings, Anna Bligh is still doing a lot better than her 24 per cent approval and 67 per cent disapproval in October-December, but has nonetheless shed nine points on approval to 40 per cent since January-March and gained seven on disapproval to 50 per cent. Campbell Newman’s debut performance is 50 per cent approval and 22 per cent disapproval, and he leads 49-35 as preferred premier. Bligh’s January-March lead of 53-26 over John-Paul Langbroek – the only lead she has recorded this term – now looks a remarkable example of fleeting glory.

First round of preselection news for the new season, some of it going back a few months:

Michael McKenna of The Australian reports the coming weekend will deliver a “super Saturday” of Labor preselections, which are likely to amount to a collective rebuff to Anna Bligh over privatisation. There were reports last month of a deal to ensure that four outgoing members – Lindy Nelson-Carr of the Left in Mundingburra, Desley Boyle of AWU/Labor Forum in Cairns, Stephen Robertson of the Left in Stretton and Robert Schwarten of the Right in Rockhampton – were replaced by factional colleagues. However, the force of the local rank-and-file vote is reportedly set to deliver not only Mundingburra to Mark Harrison of the Electrical Trades Union, but also Cairns to Richie Bates of the Rail Tram and Bus Union. They are respectively opposed by Paul Fletcher and Kirsten Lesina, both from the AWU/Labor Forum sub-faction of the Right. Information on Rockhampton is surprisingly thin on the ground, The Australian’s report saying only that “a brawl erupted yesterday between the retiring veteran minister Robert Schwarten and supporters over the two Labor Unity candidates running for his seat of Rockhampton” (UPDATE: Why Worry points to a Morning Bulletin article idenifying the candidates as Bill Byrne and Matthew Flanagan, the former being backed by Schwarten). It also informs us that Bligh’s favoured Left candidate in Sunnybank, who has variously been reported as Megan Jones and Megan Bishop, faces defeat at the hands of Adam Obeid, an AWU/Labor Forum faction member who has the backing of the incumbent, former Police Minister Judy Spence.

• The LNP has twice hit trouble in its efforts to preselect a candidate for Beaudesert. Scenic Rim mayor John Brent recently withdrew on the grounds that he is facing a Department of Local Government misconduct inquiry; he says he is “quite sure I will be cleared of any wrongdoing”, but wishes to ensure the party has a “clear run-up to the state election”. So highly rated was Brent that there were rumours he had been offered the deputy leadership, according to an AAP report. The LNP initially chose at its candidate Andrew Macarthur, a former general manager of Stanbroke Pastoral Company, but he withdrew in early April citing personal reasons. The current member for the seat is Aidan McLindon, who succeeded Kev Lingard as LNP member at the 2009 but has since quit to help for the Queensland Party.

• LNP preselection for the Gold Coast seat of Burleigh, which Labor’s Christine Smith has done remarkably well to hold since 2001, produced a field of 11 candidates. The nod yet again went to local business owner Michael Hart, who also ran in 2009 and for the Liberals in 2006. Police senior sergeant Mark Anderson had previously been rated the front-runner by Suzanne Lappeman of the Gold Coast Bulletin.

• Townsville Regional councillor John McVeigh has won LNP preselection for Toowoomba South, to be vacated at the election by one-time Nationals leader Mike Horan. McVeigh prevailed in a field of five which included “Toowoomba Regional councillor Mike Williams, Wagners laboratory manager Darryl Low, David Janetzki from Heritage Building Society and Easterfest CEO Isaac Moody”.

• The LNP member for Lockyer, Ian Rickuss, has seen off a preselection challenge from Lockyer Valley Councillor David Neuendorf. Condamine MP Ray Hopper also prevailed against a challenge from a candidate whose identity a party spokesperson did not see fit to reveal.

Christopher O’Leary of Springfield News reports the Labor member for Bundamba, Jo-Ann Miller, easily overcame preselection challenges from “electorate officer Kerry Silver and home accessories manufacturer Ian McIlmurray”.

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.

14 comments on “Newspoll: 60-40 to LNP in Queensland”

  1. If the numbers stay like that closer to the election then the Borg will spring out of the woodwork and launch a LNP leadership challenge for his fourth chance to fulfil his aspirations to become Qld Premier.

    He hates what cant do has done and he won’t be able to stop himself.

  2. I have to wonder if any of this is due to Bligh’s promise to not call an early election, and then turning around and making every noise that she intended to break that promise once newman gained the leadership.

  3. TML- no, she’s been on the nose for a long time – the floods and their aftermath just granted her a temporary stay of execution.

  4. [TML- no, she’s been on the nose for a long time – the floods and their aftermath just granted her a temporary stay of execution.]

    That still does not justify replacing her with a heap of rabble and a opportunist who jumped ship before the debt for Brisbane becomes known.

  5. The Rockhampton plebiscite is interesting for a couple of reasons. It is a battle between two members of the labor unity faction. One of them has been publicly supported by the retiring member Robert Schwarten, but the faction’s bosses in Brisbane have decided to back the other candidate.

    In all likelihood the Schwarten backed candidate will win in excess of 70% of the rank file vote, but will be defeated by the other candidate who will be supported by the faction at electoral college.

  6. I know Bligh has been on the nose for a long time, but given the very sharp turnarounds both ways there may be at least something to it. People may indeed have just remembered why they hate her government so much, but something like that kind of helps.

  7. I realise that this is to some extent a return to past form, but even so, it is a remarkable turnaround in one poll. How much talk of early elections was there by Bligh herself?

  8. I would argue that the early election talk has had no affect.

    The flood effect was always to be fleeting, the return to similar pre-flood numbers, merely takes us make to electoral cycle, long term governments will always struggle.

  9. David Hinchliffe former leader for Labor in the council was on Queensland 7:30 report tonight. He has virtually written off the next election for Labor and brought a perspective that none of media commentators have suggested as he blamed Peter Beattie and Paul Lucas for not scrutinising Campbell Newman when Lord Mayor. He said that any proposal that Newman asked for Beattie delivered and Budget Blowouts that happened under Newman were bailed out by Beattie no questions asked. He also said that Labor have dug their own graves with the just vote one campaign in 2001 that will come back to haunt them with the green vote skyrocketing and the Labor vote fracturing, no surprises there.

    This is not the first time that a political leader has been accused cozing up to much with the other side. John Howard met up with Labor dominated premiers for the annual meeting and praised the work that was done with all the leaders in the room. Then NSW Liberal state Leader John Brodgen slammed Howard suggesting that Howard was not doing enough to help his fellow state Liberal colleagues. He was probably right Howard benifited from Wall to Wall Labor state governments by urgeing voters not to have Labor State and Federally.

    I think Hinchliffe makes some valid points, he clearly seems to be someone who has his finger on the pulse. While someone like former Labor Mayor Jim Soorley is bitter with Peter Beattie and clearly has an axe to grind. Hinchliffe is taking a much more analytical approach but maybe has a hint of dissatisfaction with Beattie and Lucas. Hinchcliffe also suggests State Labor found it strategically better if the Liberals were in council. Hincliffe might be letting his guard down on that point he clearly seems dissatisfied that Labor council didn’t get enough help from State Labor when Newman was mayor. By saying that I agree with him that Newman has’nt got enough scrutiny from his politcal opponets but also from the Media. Newman right now has been the media darling weather that lasts up to polling day remains to be seen.

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