Newspoll: 52-48 to Campbell Newman in Ashgrove

GhostWhoVotes reports Newspoll has slightly better, though still somewhat nerve-jangling, news for Campbell Newman: a poll of Ashgrove has him leading Kate Jones 52-48 from a primary vote of 49 per cent, with Jones on 44 per cent and the Greens on 5 per cent. Kate Jones has an approval rating of 65 per cent against 22 per cent disapproval, compared with 51 per cent and 37 per cent for Newman. Jones is rated the better MP for Ashgrove by 53 per cent, with only 41 per cent opting for Newman.

The following material was posted yesterday; rather than give the Ashgrove poll its own thread I have appended it to the existing one, which hadn’t had enough bang for its buck.

• Reader DavidWH relates in comments that the latest ReachTel automated phone poll targets Mount Coot-tha, the seat of Deputy Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser, and suggests his 5.2 per cent margin will be swept away by a swing of 9 per cent. Full results will presumably be available on the ReachTel website in reasonably short order. UPDATE: Nick Adams from ReachTel advises in comments that they won’t be, because the poll was conducted for Channel Seven who asked that it be kept exclusive. The poll had the LNP ahead 56.1-43.9 on 2009 election preferences. You can see the Seven report, including results on a question as to who respondents would like to lead the LNP if Campbell Newman doesn’t win Ashgrove, here.

Cosima Marriner of the Sun-Herald reported on Sunday that polling conducted by Mark Textor for the LNP last week had Campbell Newman with a 53-47 lead in Ashgrove. There are even stronger grounds than usual for skepticism regarding reported internal polling in relation to this contest, but Marriner further reports that Labor polling is “believed to show the gap is slightly smaller than that but Mr Newman is still in front”. Writing in The Australian, former federal Labor MP Gary Johns (now, I think it fair to say, a figure of the right) crunches the LNP party room numbers in the event that Campbell Newman falls short:

The number of “Liberals” and “Nationals” within the LNP are very close. There are 13 rural members who presumably would show allegiance to former leader Lawrence Springborg. It was, after all, Springborg who amalgamated the party, for which he deserves great credit. The 12 city and Sunshine Coast Liberals would presumably show allegiance to treasury spokesman Tim Nicholls. There are, however, six Gold Coast members, some of whom may show allegiance to former leader John-Paul Langbroek. Of the 12 seats the LNP requires to govern in its own right, the likeliest are five from north Queensland, five from Brisbane and two from the Gold Coast. A bare LNP majority would consist of 18 Nationals, 17 Liberals and eight Gold Coast members. Should the swing be greater than the minimum required, say up to 6 per cent, a further eight seats are likely, six of which are from Brisbane, one from the Gold Coast and one regional. The greater the swing, the more Liberal will become the LNP. Nevertheless, a new LNP partyroom of 51 members would represent 24 Brisbane (five Sunshine Coast) seats, 18 rural seats and nine Gold Coast seats. Katter’s Australian Party holds two seats (LNP absconders) and there are four rural independents. Newman, like Bligh, is a campaigner and a spender. It is unlikely that Springborg or Langbroek will lead. Springborg has not been seen in public for the duration and Langbroek was deposed as leader during the term. Each deserves to hold a senior portfolio. Which leaves Brisbane-based Liberal Nicholls as the likeliest leader should Newman fail in Ashgrove.

• Despite early reports to the contrary, the LNP will not reopen an investigation into a website for motoring enthusiasts administered by Mark Boothman, its candidate for the Gold Coast seat of Albert. Boothman blamed “hackers” for the presence on the defunct site of “adult content” including flash games in which players aim fire at animated images of women to remove their clothing, and links labelled “control your bitches” and “hot teens”. However, digging through internet archives by blogger Syd Walker and VexNews casts doubt on Boothman’s defence.

Darrell Giles of the Sunday Mail reviews Labor’s attempts to make capital out of issues the LNP is likely to face with women voters, to wit: Mark Boothman’s internet exploits; newspaper columns written by Cairns candidate Gavin King, one of which suggested women were partly to blame if raped while drunk; and the fact that only 16 of the party’s 89 candidates are women, which has been acknowledged as a weakness by Campbell Newman.

• The electorate office of Curtis Pitt, Labor’s member for Mulgrave and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, was graffitied yesterday night with the words “Communist Gay, Communist N…er-loving party”.

Dennis Atkins of the Courier-Mail today compares Anna Bligh’s admission that Labor does not have enough evidence to refer Campbell Newman to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (“right now all I have is questions, I don’t have enough answers from Mr Newman or enough material”) to John Hewson’s calamitous defences of his GST on Mike Willesee’s program prior to the 1993 federal election. The LNP has been pleased enough with the way the Channel Nine news covered Bligh’s comments to have placed the report on their YouTube page. Atkins also exercised his long political memory yesterday by arguing Labor had crossed a line in drawing Newman’s wife Lisa into its assault on “Campbell’s web”, which he compared to NSW Labor’s attempt to make capital out of a drink-driving charge against Nick Greiner’s wife Kathryn during the campaign which saw it turfed from office in 1988. Koren Helbig of the Courier-Mail reports that Newman boasts he will not sue for defamation over Labor’s attacks because he is “not a sook”, but says he “failed to mention his lawyer had sent a legal letter to the ALP eight days earlier, alleging two of its ‘Campbell’s Web’ TV attack adverts contained defamatory accusations and demanding they be withdrawn”

• Meanwhile, Katter’s Australian Party appears to have scored an own goal with its advertisement attacking Campbell Newman over his past support for gay marriage, which has attracted more publicity than the rest of its campaign put together. The ad has been criticised by the party’s Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth and Mulgrave candidate Damian Byrnes, together with James Packer, whose $250,000 donation to the party has been branded “deeply unethical” by Andrew Wilkie in light of Packer’s casino interests.

• Speaking of ads, I’ve made the effort of going through the party’s YouTube pages to weed out policy announcements and the like and isolate what I have taken to be their television advertisements, based on their production values and length. It is notable that Labor’s positive ads are mostly selling local candidates (two in fairly “safe” seats) rather than policy messages, and that its negative campaign will have only the Ashgrove situation to rest on if “Campbell’s web” develops into a liability. The LNP meanwhile offers a highly potent suite of attack ads together with three which feature Campbell Newman making feel-good noises on policy issues, a luxury which tends not to be available to governments that have been in office for extended periods.

Positive Labor ads:

Kerry Shine for Toowoomba North
Tim Mulherin for Mackay
Bill Byrne for Rockhampton
Craig Wallace for Thuringowa
“Keep Our Kate”: Kate Jones for Ashgrove
Anna Bligh flood/cyclone response (floods images)
Anna Bligh flood/cyclone response (Cyclone Yasi images)

Negative Labor ads:

Campbell’s web #1 (15 seconds)
Campbell’s web #2 (30 seconds)
Campbell’s web #3 (15 seconds)
Campbell’s web #4 (30 seconds)
Campbell’s web #5 (15 seconds)
Campbell’s web #6 (30 seconds)
Ashgrove polls and LNP leadership

Positive LNP ads:

Mackay region (Mackay, Whitsunday, Mirani)
Cairns region (Cairns, Barron River, Mulgrave, Cook)
Newman on health, law and order and education
Newman on economy, budget and training
Newman responds to Labor attack ad; cost of living

Negative LNP ads:

General anti-Labor attack
Attack on Bligh
Anti-minor party ad
Attack on privatisations
“The tired 20-year-old Labor government”.

• I have updated by election guide which complete candidate lists, photos of major candidates and campaign updates. There is also plenty of Queensland election campaign goodness on the main Crikey site courtesy of Benjamin Law, Mark Bahnisch and Pandora Karavan and my always humble self. There’s also an election tipping contest featuring both heavy duty (predict every seat) and light and easy (party seat totals plus result in Ashgrove) versions. The prize on offer for each is no less than a year’s subscription to the Crikey daily email.

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.

38 comments on “Newspoll: 52-48 to Campbell Newman in Ashgrove”

  1. [The Mount Coot-tha numbers game:

    Key findings:

    • The ALP relies heavily on Green preferences to even be in the race with the LNP well clear in the primary vote.

    • LNP candidate Saxon Rice has a two-party preferred margin of 3.8%.

    • The electorate is evenly split on Mr Fraser’s performance as Treasurer with little difference between his overall good and poor rating.

    • Just under half of those polled (45.8%) give Campbell Newman an overall good rating as Leader of the LNP.]

    Latest Reachtel. There is a bit more to be revealed in time. 😉

  2. [Labor Deputy Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser is in real trouble in his seat of Mount Coot-tha, according to new ReachTEL poll results broadcast on Seven News tonight.

    LNP challenger Saxon Rice was sitting on 56.1 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote, while Mr Fraser was trailing with 43.9 per cent support, the network said.]

    Amazing performance when the LNP will run third in Mt Coot-tha.

  3. Good morning, Bludgers. G’day ruawake.

    The Courier Mail finally decides to tell the truth about who’s really responsible for the CSG problem. Of course politics has … er … nothing, really, to do with CM’s decision to print this – not during the last couple of years’ gathering brawl over mining companies invasion of farm land; not at the time Premier Bligh was copping the crap as the person responsible; not even when CSG blew up into a big issue; but when Katter looks like taking the mining seats.

    BTW, the CM report is not accurate. Joh Bjelke Petersen was rolled as Premier at the end of 1987. Katter was, however, Minister for Mines and Energy in 1989 under the Ahern Government

    Bob Katter rallying against CSG mining laws he introduced as central plank to his Australian Party’s first election campaign

    [BOB Katter opened the gate to mining companies having access to farmers’ property – the same laws he is now rallying against.

    Mr Katter was mines minister in 1989 when the Bjelke-Petersen government passed laws giving miners access rights but now the maverick Federal MP is now rallying against the laws he introduced as the central plank to his Australian Party’s first election campaign …

    However, senior LNP MP Lawrence Springborg said Mr Katter should be traversing the state with a bottle of snake oil in his top pocket.

    “I bet he doesn’t tell them the current mining access laws were laws that he designed and shepherded through the Queensland Parliament when he was the minister,” he said…

    Mr Katter’s coal seam gas policy states there would be “no exploration or mining activity permitted on landholder’s property without the landholder’s consent”.

    However, Mr Katter specifically ruled out giving farmers veto right when he introduced the Mineral Resources Bill as minister.]

    More in the article.

    Mining rights for carbon forms (coal/ oil/ shale oil/ natural gas/ coal-seam gas over the Surat Basin have existed at least since the 1920s, and Darling Downs (inc Felton) at least since the early 1970s

    There was nothing secret about the leases/ tenements: Farmers were informed at the time (see CM article); leases were registered and any legal title search, such as undertaken when the property changed hands, would ‘discover’ this; so there’s no way property owners shouldn’t have known about them well in advance. They just believed it would never happen to them. When it did, they wanted to blame all the wrong people for what was a National Party decision taken by Bob Katter himslef.

  4. William the link to the Mt Cootha poll you used above refers to the November poll which is the same error I made last night. Brisbane Times referred to a new poll which shows the 2PP lead has increased to 56-44. However Reach Tel hasn’t posted that poll yet so there is a chance the BT report is not accurate. Sorry if I have let people astray.

  5. DavidWH & William,

    Sorry for the confusion – that poll was commissioned for Channel 7 and they have requested we don’t publish it on our website.

    The piece that went to air last night is available on their website:

    The 2PP results were 56.1 to 43.9 in favour of the LNP. Distributions were as per 2009 election results.


    Nick Adams

  6. Good analysis of the state of play in the LNP if Newman fails to win Ashgrove William. It does seem to be a contest between Springborg and Nicholls. If it does come down to that then it will give us some insight on how far the LNP has gone to reducing the old tensions between the Nationals and Liberals.

    Still the LNP is yet to win and Newman is yet to lose. Hey anything is possible and Newman may win and the LNP lose.

  7. I guess what we may be able to take from this latest poll is that the swing against Newman in Ashgrove does not appear to be consistent across all electorates.

  8. I’m sure Reachtel are chewing their fingernails on this election – it will be make or break for their reputation I imagine. If they get it mostly right I think they may be on a winner with their methodology for a little while at least (landlines? what are they? in 5 to 10 years).

    However, if they turn out to be wildly wrong they are going to struggle in future.

    Personally I think automated phone polling has a lot of potential weirdness – from the fact that I suspect people will have a much lower threshold for lying to an automated system (about demographic criteria etc), to who it is that will stick around on a cold call from a machine without hanging up immediately (like I know I would, if I had a landline, which I effectively don’t).

  9. William, why do you put the candidate photos in a different order to the candidate names? This forces you to label the candidate “top” and “bottom”. Useful as this information may be in certain circumstances, you wouldn’t have to give it if you put the photos in the right order.

  10. Psephos, since I’m only providing photos of two candidates (usually but not always ALP and LNP), clearly labelling of some sort is required in any case. When reducing it to two, incumbent party on top seems logical; when including everybody, ballot paper order seems logical. I don’t think it’s that confusing.

  11. [I predict Newman will bolt it in.]

    I’m thinking so too. Though Bligh made a good point that if Newman doesn’t get in then all his policy promises are worthless and basically electing a LNP govt with no policies.

    Might turn out like Vic were the indies got turfed to ensure a majority govt and Newman or at least the LNP gets in big time.

  12. [Toorak Toff
    Posted Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
    From afar, I predict Newman will bolt it in.]

    I think that is a reasonably safe bet too.

  13. ive been saying for months that Ashgrove will be tight, but the figures suggest a 53-47 Newman win, nothing has changed my mind on that. The Mount Coot-tha result if replicated would be an extraordinary show of disdain for the ALP and for Andrew Fraser, I would think that if Fraser comes close to losing his seat than Newman will win his in a canter.

  14. Mod Lib and aaronkirk, if you would like to back Newman in Ashgrove I am happy to cover your bets. Maybe William would be willing to hold and pay?

  15. This is a gamechanger election. The ALP will be swept aside. I have no doubt that there are many in Ashgrove that like the ALP member and feel sorry for her…but the very publication of a poll showing her ahead, and the prospect that such an eventuality might mean a Premier Bligh on Sunday week, will cause enough of them to slide across the line to the LNP.

    I could be wrong, I don’t have a feel for Qld politics…however, I should warn you that I was one of those thinking the Liberal party would just get over the line and win the Vic election when polls were showing a clear victory for the ALP.

    Its the vibe…

  16. I should warn you that I was one of those thinking the Liberal party would just get over the line and win the Vic election when polls were showing a clear victory for the ALP.

    OMG you were ignoring the polls and pandering to your own bias without any evidence!

    However, I don’t think there’s any doubt that the LNP should win Queensland handsomely.

    Ashgrove may throw up a wrinkle, but it will be irrelevant in the broader picture.

    I don’t really understand what you mean by “gamechanger” – the pendulum swings one way, and it swings back. Both parties have been “swept aside” before, and will be again. The game, fundamentally, remains the same as far as I can tell.

  17. Ashgrove is next door to Mt Coot-tha – similar localities and demographics. (Mt Coot-tha has more inner city hence Green voters; but also takes in a bit more blueblood Liberal leaning territory).

    If Reachtel is right and the Deputy Premier faces an 11% swing, then Newman will be okay. Kate Jones might have a point or two up her sleeve over Andrew Fraser, if only because as a busy Treasurer taking the blame for privatisation or debt, his name recognition as a longstanding member will be neutralised. But as Mumbles has shown, the sitting member bonus might help sophomores, but when the governing party is on the nose after a long innings, it dissipates and can even be a negative.

  18. If these polls are correct in showing the LNP ahead in Mt Coot-tha & Ashgrove then I would be inclined to think that the LNP are close to forming government.

    For the past decade or so the LNP have struggled to win these sorts of seats in Brisbane and they are usually Liberal turf therefore the ALP have done well to hold them for as long as they have.

  19. The situation with Newman is now set in stone and win or lose the Ashgrove contest QLD’ers will learn whether Newman has real issues to face or whether he has been the victim of a dirty smear campaign. There are now three I believe matters the CMC is looking into and the CMC is a powerful and thorough body. If Newman has issues to face then the CMC will ensure he faces the consequences.

    In relation to Labor I believe there has been a shift in sentiment in the past 48 hours and people need to look no further than the comments in the CM on today’s matter raised by Bligh. There are hundreds of comments which are strongly against Bligh by a very large margin. How can you believe someone who only 48 hours ago admitted they had no material to back up their claims only to table documents today purportedly supporting the claims?

    They seem to have gone two steps too far this week firstly by circulating flyers directly attacking Newman’s wife and then by today’s action which comes across as a desperate stunt. Tomorrow is another day and the Flood Commission report is due to be released.

  20. I’m posting from an IPhone so haven’t worked out how to copy paste links on this thing. However if you go to the CM web site and check out the story where Bligh broke today’s story all the comments are linked at the bottom of the article.

  21. beemer: as a callow student I lived in mt coot-tha seat in 89, when Labor took it and have held it ever since. It’s hard to say it’s natural LNP territory given the modern parties; if anything the Greens had it as their strongest terrain. I can’t see evidence of Labor holding back a very high Liberal tide in Brisbane. All they have is the decapitation strategy in Ashgrove. Bligh today told the local Fairfax crew that losing was the most likely outcome; you don’t often hear leaders admit 10 days out they will probably lose office.

  22. Thanks Graeme I might have due to the description of the seat have mistaken it for an LNP seat although I was aware that the ALP have held it since the late 80s

  23. Myk yes I understand the News Ltd bias although the CM has been giving the LNP a torrid time for a while. However that’s not what I was referring to. The comments regarding Newman were splitting fairly evenly up until the last couple of days and there are signs the campaign against Newman is losing some steam.

  24. Say if Newman does win Ashgrove. Could he then hold onto it?

    It won’t be very fun for him to sit on one of the most marginal seats in parliament in the lead up to the 2014/15 election. If there’s any swing away from the LNP, he’d join that small little group of Premiers that lost their seats.

    Unless of course he plans to jump from Ashgrove to a safe seat before then.

  25. I cant log in on the other thread. Anyone else having this problem?

    Just another day in the life of the incompetent’s running crikey IT.

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