Newspoll: 56-44 to LNP in Queensland

The final quarterly Newspoll of Queensland state voting intention for the year, and most likely the last before the onset of the election campaign, suggests the Liberal National Party has taken a hit from its recent accumulation of bad press, but nonetheless remains in a commanding position. On the primary vote, Labor is up four points on the previous poll to 31 per cent, the LNP is down six to 44 per cent and the Greens are up two to 10 per cent. It doesn’t appear Katter’s Australian Party is rated separately, but “others” is steady on 15 per cent. Two-party preferred projections are particularly inexact under Queensland’s optional preferential voting system, but on the preference flows from the previous election the result is 56-44, compared with 61-39 last time. This has been reflected by a 12-point hit on Campbell Newman’s net approval, with his approval rating down six to 45 per cent and disapproval up six to 33 per cent. Anna Bligh is up one on approval to 39 per cent and down two on disapproval to 50 per cent. This is all from GhostWhoVotes, obviously. (UPDATE: Full tables here; I missed that Newman’s lead as preferred premier had narrowed from 48-34 to 43-39.)

Further pre-election news:

• Last week, Steven Wardill of the Courier Mail reported February 18 was the most likely date for the election, but granted there was “increasing speculation about an election after the council polls on March 31, given Labor has failed to gain much-needed ground on the LNP this year as had been hoped”. By contrast, Darrell Giles of the Sunday Mail yesterday reported “mid-March is now firming as the likely state election date”.

• ReachTEL has continued to pump out automated phone polls of individual electorates, which consistently show Labor in an even worse position than the major pollsters. They have been conducting monthly polling of Ashgrove, the seat Campbell Newman needs to win from Labor’s Kate Jones with a 7.3 per cent swing if he is to enter parliament and assume the premiership, with last week’s result coming in at 54.6-45.4 in Newman’s favour – about five points lower than where he was in September’s poll. Perhaps emboldened by an early effort pointing to a 27 per cent anti-Labor swing in Stretton, they have since been targeting fairly safe Labor seats for their other polling. Most recently, a poll of 369 respondents in Lytton pointed to a swing of 23 per cent from primary votes of 26 per cent for Labor, 48 per cent for the LNP, 9 per cent for the Greens and 13 per cent for Katter’s Australian Party, translating to 62-38 on ReachTEL’s imperfect two-party measure (“if you were forced to make a choice between the two following candidates who would you choose?”). Two polls conducted in the previous week took in 384 respondents in Ipswich, showing a 26 per cent swing and a win for LNP candidate Ian Berry over Labor incumbent Rachel Nolan by a margin of 9.4 per cent, and 371 respondents in Bundamba, showing a 20 per cent swing that would all but eradicate the 21.4 per cent margin of Labor member Jo-Ann Miller. A week earlier a poll of 366 respondents in Ferny Grove showed a 15 per cent swing, easily enough to account for Labor member Geoff Wilson’s 4.3 per cent margin. It should be tested that ReachTEL is a new outfit using a methodology which is yet to prove its worth, and all the swings indicated are well over the 13 per cent indicated by recent Newspoll and Galaxy polling.

Bianca Sullivan of the Wynnum Herald reports Labor last week endorsed Daniel Cheverton, a 28-year-old former policy adviser to Rachel Nolan who now works for an engineering company, as its candidate for Lytton, to be vacated by the retirement of former Deputy Premier Paul Lucas. Cheverton prevailed over Peter Cumming, Wynnun Manly ward councillor on Brisbane City Council and member of the Left, who made headlines a fortnight ago when he wrote to preselectors: “I am a realist and expect Labor to lose the state election.” Steven Beckett, deputy chief-of-staff to Anna Bligh, husband of Brisbane council opposition leader Shayne Sutton and a member of the AWU Right, had initially been named as a starter, but withdrew shortly after Michael McKenna of the Courier-Mail reported the demise of a proposed deal that would have given him the backing of Labor Unity in exchange for Treasurer Andrew Fraser being given a clear run to succeed Lucas.

• Neil Roberts, who holds the northern Brisbane seat of Nudgee on a margin of 14.3 per cent, has announced he will not contest the next election.

• Mark Harrison, the Labor candidate for Mundingburra, has accused the party of ignoring “unsavoury methods of bringing in and maintaining membership” in the very same Townsville branches which provided a focal point for the Shepherdson inquiry in 2000 and 2001. Michael McKenna of The Australian reports a party returning officer has raised concerns over the validity of signatures on postal ballot papers and the receipt of such papers by people who appeared not to realise they were party members.

Norman Beck of the Cairns Post reports livestock transport operator Liz Schmidt will run for the LNP in Dalrymple, where the party’s existing member Shane Knuth has defected to Katter’s Australian Party.

• The Fraser Coast Chronicle reports Labor’s candidate for Hervey Bay, Don Gayler, has withdrawn for personal reasons.

• Owen Jacques of the Sunshine Coast Daily reports Labor has endorsed candidates for a brace of LNP-held seats in and around the Sunshine Coast: aged and mental health nurse Christine Anthony in Caloundra, former Cooroora MP Ray Barber in Maroochydore, Bruce Garner (no further substantive details offered) in Kawana, 21-year-old university student Kurt Hopkins in Noosa and 19-year-old Maleny university student Ryan Moore in Glass House.

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.

34 comments on “Newspoll: 56-44 to LNP in Queensland”

  1. The primary vote would have to be nearer 50% for Labor to have any chance but the election doesn’t have to be until June 16 and there is plenty of time for the LNP to implode.

  2. The complication for Queensland election watchers is that there are local government elections throughout Queensland due in March. Labor could use these as a full on assault on the LNP between now and March followed by turning the heat up on the LNP from March to June. I don’t think these figures would look anywhere near as good for the LNP by then as they do now.

  3. Steve if I survived 5 years of Bligh then you will survive a few years of Newman,

    That poll is a little sobering as the QLD LNP has an ability to lose unloseable elections.

  4. @DavidWH/7,

    That’s because LNP has ego problems as well, thus it’s all a matter of timing.

    Each party has their own ego’s, it’s just a matter of if or when it happens.


    [Anna Bligh’s clawback may entice her to delay Queensland state poll
    by: Jamie Walker
    From: The Australian
    December 19, 2011 12:00AM

    ANNA Bligh has clawed back part of the commanding lead opened up by the conservatives in Queensland under the leadership of former Brisbane lord mayor Campbell Newman, in a Newspoll that may entice her to delay a state election tipped for February. ]

    More in the article


    [Beleaguered Bligh braces for battle
    From: The Australian
    December 19, 2011 12:00AM

    IT’S been one of those days for Anna Bligh: more questions about Queensland Health and its latest atrocity with a grants officer who was allegedly sticky fingered; opposition sniping at the pay deal she cut to keep visiting hospital specialists at work; and, to top it off, she is trying to clear her in-tray to go on leave.

    You would think the Queensland Premier couldn’t wait for this year to end. But, perverse as it may sound, with today’s Newspoll affirming that her ageing and indifferently performing Labor government is heading for a hiding at the state election expected early next year, Bligh is travelling better than she was 12 months ago.]

    More in the article

  7. The problems of the current Labor Government are many and well known. The problem for the LNP is that the more talented and experienced of it’s National Party MP have all been in revolt over the past year and are either retiring or have joined the Katter Party. As pretend Opposition Leader Seeney fades and the reality of a Brisbane based Liberal leader grows the pass/ag of the former Nationals will break out big time. Nobody does political foot-shooting like a Queensland National scorned so I’ll believe they ‘can do’ if I see it on election night. My expectations at this stage is that Katter will firm a lot more in the bush (from Caboolture North and Ipswich west throughout the state ) and this open divide will hurt Newman when it counts in the South East.

    I really doubt whether the LNP is fit or ready to govern and I think they will be sentenced to another three years in Opposition to sort out their own party come June 16. A political party that can enmass fail to show up to vote in the parliament and none of them have a reasonable excuse for not being there is still three years short of being eligible to govern in my view.

  8. One other point is that Labor ran such a dreadful and pathetic local government campaign last time that they gave wholesale wins to the LNP of wards they could never have dreamt of winning. If the Labor local election campaign can improve this time it will also apply great pressure to the Liberals when they least need it.

    State Secretary of the Labor Party Anthony Chisolm has yet to run a successful campain at local, state or Federal level all he has managed to to grant the LNP seats they never deserved. He is more experienced now and I think that 2012 might be his year to do well at all three levels in one year. The LNP has had the softest of opposition during campaigns for the past five years next year is the time to turn up the heat a bit.

  9. I think Labor has ‘nil’ chance in the Qld election. But the more people see of ‘Cam’ in the long leadup the less they’re going to like him.

    The battle between Katter, the Liberals and the Nationals/Country Party is likely to provide plenty of entertainment. They’ll win but the better Katter does the more destructive it will be to the ‘LNP’ concept in Qld.

  10. Labor sure has an uphill battle, but like Steve I think the bush will move to Katter. Newman is just not the right style for the bush in Qld.

    Do NOT write Kate Jones off either. Campbell Newman just may not make it into Parliament, even if the Bligh government is defeated. She still has a way to go but it is ticking up for her

  11. Not so much a narrowing as a slimming, with the gap to the LNP going from grand canyon to chasm.

    Does anyone know the sample size and timing of this poll? Obviously the swing is beyond MOE, but I am curious if the poll was conducted before or after the (latest) Qld Health debacle? If before, I could imagine the LNP lead might easily blow out again.

    Like William I cannot imagine that Labor will win, though Blight is giving it a fight now. However departments like Health continue to hand the opposition plenty of ammunition, and once they have shot off both feet, some of it is bound to wound Labor.

    I don’t really understand how splitting up the Health Department makes any difference? Surely a clean out of top management was needed, instead of another time consuming restructure.

  12. William Bowe,

    [Admirable optimism, but I’m in no doubt that Labor will get thumped. ]

    I can’t remember what your prediction was last time, (wrong I think) but Here’s mine for what it is worth.

    The coming election to be almost a carbon copy of the last one with Labor coming from behind to make up a heap of ground and sneak over the line again.

    Reasoning as follows. Queensland electors not willing to trust the LNP to be able to effectively run the State and the Katter Party wildcard to split the LNP forces & supporters and causing them to fight the election from two quarters.

    The Optional Preference voting system in Qld to make it even harder for the LNP to benefit from leakage from Katters mob.

  13. [The coming election to be almost a carbon copy of the last one with Labor coming from behind to make up a heap of ground and sneak over the line again.]

    That’s my gut feeling also!.

    Campbell is NO man, come to think of it, Abbott if you have noticed is following Newmans
    tactic of shoveling this cutting that bricklaying this and carrying that, creating the impression he’s capable of doing any menial task there is!. a come from nowhere MAN!.

  14. scorpio the problem for Labor is that a majority of people, at present at least, believe Labor is less capable of governing than the LNP. A pretty damning reflection on QLD Labor.

  15. [scorpio the problem for Labor is that a majority of people, at present at least, believe Labor is less capable of governing than the LNP. A pretty damning reflection on QLD Labor.]

    When it comes to putting the X on the ballot paper, they might change their minds, like they did LAST time.

  16. [It’s time for a change.]

    It depends to WHAT, it does not mean they will be any better, and there is the possibilty they may be worse!.

    It’s a GAMBLE when change for changes sake is applied.

  17. Labor has won every state election since 1989 (8 in total), and has been in power continuously since 1998, so the ‘it’s time’ factor is most likely the main thing on the LNP’s side at the moment.

    Unfortunately there’s not much that can be done against that powerful electoral weapon, apart from the opposition blowing itself up.

    Still though, 22 years of progressive government (give or take a Borbidge) in one of Australia’s most conservative states is a pretty good achievement.

  18. DavidWH,

    [scorpio the problem for Labor is that a majority of people, at present at least, believe Labor is less capable of governing than the LNP. ]

    You mean a majority of LNP people. It’s certainly not a majority of Labor supporters.

    A bit of wishful thinking on your part, I’m afraid. Reality is different.

  19. scorpio Labor people always believe Labor governs better and LNP people believe the LNP governs better. They aren’t the people who decide elections. While the polls remain strongly in favour of the LNP my statement holds.

  20. What also holds is that nobody on the Liberal side of politics in Brisbane or the National Party throughout Queensland has been prepared to step aside to let him have their seat in parliament. The Nations have been prepared to hold onto a sham leader and collect an extra $60000 of taxpayer funds rather than see Newman get into the parliament. As soon as the floods were over he decided it was all too hard and deserted Brisbane City Council for an LNP job of touring the country announcing his good intentions should he win Ashgrove. If his own party don’t want Premier Can do why would anyone else vote for such a person?

  21. Some people in QLD still remember the JBP days , but don’t you worry about that and pass the brown bag over here. We have a nutter running around NOW, with his ute signs on the back for the Queensland Party Mike Kelly , a ex- developer that didn’t want development (NIMBY) around his acreage property and is mixed up with the failed LNP Hajnal Black (nee Ban )who done a Sophie Mirabella job on a old guy and got caught “Looking after his interests ” and looks like will have to pay back $1.37 million to the trust ?

  22. Error margins? Sample size? Any sort of methodological issues worth a mention here at all Bill? Apparently not.

    Still we get these minor changes being confirmed as trends – and they can even suggest causality – the LNP has “taken a hit from its recent accumulation of bad press”. Is that what they told you these people? No it was just the numbers and “insight”. You might think the press is iomportant in this week’s numbers. They might not. It might be more about festive season angst.

    All this dross reminds me of the few seriously addicted punters I’ve met. They paw over form guides and commentary, they read the signs, look for omens, put together sure bets. Picking winners. None were rich.

    Now speaking of punters, I’d be after hoping you might share more than a superficial similarility with my punter mates and be up to lodging a small wager on a few of your predictions. Be more than happy to take a bet or two – my gut instinct and sense of smell against your “scientific” polls – as specific as you like. Federal would be better.

  23. Peter, the sample was about 1000 and the margin of error about 3 per cent, just the same as every other Newspoll. Maybe I should point this out every time, but I tend to think people who come here know the drill. You further think that I should write the same interminable dissertation on the theory, methodology and moral value of opinion polls three times a week, and here you are very obviously wrong. The same goes for you castigating me for stating the obvious about a shift over two polls which is well outside the margin of error, accompanied as it is by a significant hit to Newman’s personal ratings.

    You refer mockingly to my “predictions”. Name two of them. Yes, I predicted in a comment here that Labor will lose the Queensland election, and I’m willing to take you up here for as much money as you care to lose. “Federal would be better”, you say, which is convenient, because I haven’t made any predictions of any kind about the outcome of the federal election. Your evident conviction that my straight-bat reporting of opinion poll results amounts to “predictions” is yet more evidence of your dismal comprehension skills.

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