ReachTEL: 51.5-48.5 to Labor in Ashgrove

ReachTEL has deftly targeted Campbell Newman’s electorate of Ashgrove with one of its automated phone polls: this one from a substantial sample of 661, with a margin of error of slightly below 4%. Daniel Hurst of Fairfax reports the poll has Labor 51.5-48.5 ahead if preferences are distributed as per the last election, compared with Newman’s 55.7-44.3 win at the state election. The primary votes are 41.1% for Labor (compared with 36.6% at the election), 42.8% for Campbell Newman (51.8%), 9.7% for the Greens (9.2%) and 4.0% for Katter’s Australian Party (1.7%). (UPDATE: Full results here).


• Newman’s performance received a 47.7% poor or very poor rating against 42.3% for good or very good.

• 45.3% supported “the Newman government pledge to reduce the size of the Queensland public services to help reduce the state’s debt”, against 46.0% opposed.

• 27.9% rated the state government’s financial position strong or very strong, against 34.0% poor or very poor and 38.1% average.

I wouldn’t normally give such a poll its own post at this point of the electoral cycle, but besides the intrinsic interest of the figures, the Newman government and its federal implications seems a worthy topic for a dedicated thread. Labor will clearly seek to make capital out of Newman’s aggressive style during the federal election campaign, and the poll indicates that they will have something to work with – although it should be recalled that Labor went into the 1996 election hoping to win seats off the back of Jeff Kennett’s budget-slashing, for all the good it ended up doing them. I would also caution that the immediate aftermath of the breast screening flare-up was probably an inopportune time for a poll to have been conducted from Newman’s perspective.

ReachTEL’s electorate-level polling has a patchy track record, but it seemed to do well in its very extensive coverage of Ashgrove before the state election. It apparently tracked the internal party polling closely in showing a steady narrowing in Newman’s lead up to the second last week, when Labor clawed its way to a statistic dead heat, followed by a blowout in Newman’s favour in the final week. The latter point may be telling, as it appeared many in Ashgrove fell in behind Newman because it had become incontrovertibly clear the LNP would win the election. The ReachTEL poll could well suggest that a lot of this apparent support remains very soft.

The Ashgrove gamble having served its purpose, I would suggest that Newman now cop a hit to his pride and stake a claim on the first safe LNP seat that becomes available.

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.

29 comments on “ReachTEL: 51.5-48.5 to Labor in Ashgrove”

  1. [Labor will clearly seek to make capital out of Newman’s aggressive style, and the poll indicates that they will have something to work with – although it should be recalled that Labor went into the 1996 election hoping to win seats off the back of Jeff Kennett’s budget-slashing, for all the good it ended up doing for them.]

    A sobering point, but didn’t Victoria have an over-arching economic situation that was real to people and gave them a sense that Kennett was doing something positive, even when history and reality tells us how stupid he was generally.

    I don’t know Queensland real well but I don’t think they have any overarching justification for Newman’s economic vandalism and general stupidity.

  2. [WWP
    What I find astounding is that 42.3% rate The Little Dictator as good or better.]

    Me too, but I’m a long way, away, he is still on his honeymoon, to waste it so early takes a special kind of stupid.

  3. WeWantPaul – That 1996 election result is a bit deceptive for in rural Victoria there were big anti-Kennett swings by due to the seats not changing the media and Jeff dismissed it as a protest vote.

    And you are right in the early 1990s the state of Victoria was a basketcase.

    I am yet to work out how Queensland can claim to be in difficulty financially when the state is home to massive resources, in truth some of the decisions are set to make small savings and seem more about dismantling the previous Government than budget consideration.

  4. Vic in 1996 Mex Bem post 4
    As you rightly said there was surprise swing aganist Kennet in the country…which he promptly ignored…cuts to country schools/cut to trains /other cuts all resented in the rural areas…produced the swing which in 1999 saw him lose a swag of rural /regional city seats
    Then there were the first signs of swings in middle-class seats like Kew and Ivanhoe…these two were predicting the damage the Libs would face in the second Bracks victory in 2003

    In Kennet’s second win… and his last..the seeds of his coming swing were planted…seats like East Gippsland/Ripon/Seymour/several in Geelong and Ballarat,and on Melb fringes ..all brought him down. in 1999

  5. As one who is consistently polled by Reachtel I agree with William. It dd seem to catche the mood of Ashgrove.

    Look it is not surprising at all that Ashgrove has swung back. Firstly it is public servant territory, middle class but not wealthy.

    Secondly people, especially women really liked Kate Jones. Men swung to the LNP but there were cases where women voted LNP under pressure form husbands but did so while in tears.

    Until one week before the ballot it was going well for Kate. Then the personal attacks on Newman and wife fell into a hole and the mood switched in an instant. You could feel it.

    However when voters switch on such a quick mood single issue, they are ripe for remorse very soon after.

  6. Oh and in Ashgrove the cuts to MUSIC programs like MOST and fanfare would go down like a lead balloon. Ashgrove is Music heartland and this will have left a very sour note in the local Mums and Dads

    About 20% of primary kids take part and 5% of high school kids

    The Breast Screening stuff will also have a very negativity impact.

  7. The Labor Party simply have to make an ad which shows Campbell Newman morphing into Tony Abbott morphing into a lemon. Take the ‘Kevin O’Lemon’ stuff and turn it back onto the Liberal leader. 😀

  8. Yes, Kennett came in on a mandate to slash and burn – it was what Victorians wanted him to do. There was a feeling of ‘we’ve had it good too long, we deserve to pay for it.”

    So nothing he did was unexpected.

    What killed him was when the state regained its AAA rating and all reports were that things were on the upward trend again and he STILL kept slashing and burning.

    If he’d switched to “you’ve gone through the pain, now here are the rewards” – however slight those may have been – people would have kept voting for him. But no one wants to suffer just for the sake of it.

    Newman, on the other hand – from what I, as a Victorian, observed – didn’t seem to be suggesting that there was much wrong with the state’s finances, or that he was going to do much in the slash and burn department. So his actions are unexpected and clearly ideological.

    I predicted a couple of times leading up the Queensland election that the manner in which he assumed the leadership would only work for a very exceptional individual, and I doubted that CM was that.

  9. z,

    Like Kennett, I doubt Newman will take any notice of criticisms from the media, affected groups or even his own Party.

    He’s on a mission from God and short of him casting off his mortal coil unexpectedly, the die is cast for Queenland Government for at least the next three years. Even if there is a massive swing back the LNP are hardly likely to lose power in the forseeable future.

    The Queensland people have given him this mandate. I’m sure he’ll do everthing possible to implement his agenda economically, socially and philosphically.

  10. “to waste it so early takes a special kind of stupid”

    “He’s on a mission from God”

    These two comments go a long way toward summing up the overall Coalition mentality, I think. Government is their natural right & no matter how stupid they are God is on their side.

    The idea of Newman scurrying about to find a safer seat is more than a bit funny.

  11. If Newman does end up switching seats, I reckon he might go for neighbouring Moggill.

    That’s about as blue-ribbon as state seats in Brisbane come, plus Bruce Flegg seems to have caused some embarrassment so far, giving confidential government information to the LNP administration.

  12. I think that the LNP will loose lots and lots of seats next election. It does depend a bit on whether or not the ALP and KAP can come to a preference deal, If they do, then the LNP will loose lots of regional seats as well as a normalisation in Brisbane.

  13. I’m not sure whether Kennett will prove a good indicator for Newman, but I think you’re looking at the wrong election William (as are the commentators above).

    Kennett came in in 1992 and Labor was deeply unpopular in Victoria at both state and federal level. His approach caused a rebound in federal Labor’s polling, which was largely responsible for Labor regaining four seats at the 1993 election. These were very important to Keating holding government.

    By the time the 1996 federal election came round federal Labor was so unpopular that state issues were never going to save them, but the swing against Labor in Victoria was much smaller than in other states, which may also have had to do with backlash against Kennett.

    If 2013 is like 1996 and Labor gets hammered anything Newman does will simply soften the swing in Queensland, but it is also possible the election will look more like 1993, with an unpopular Labor government taking a hit in states Labor holds, but doing well in states with Coalition governments. Of course, given their smaller margin of seats this time than in 1993 they’d still be in great danger.

  14. The LNP Government is vindictive, with an arrogant Premier. People may forgive arrogance in someone who has served in the position a long time and achieved much. But all Newman has achieved is to alienate everyone that he perceived did not vote for him: writers, indigenous people, women, greenies, gays, lesbians, workers, union members, public servants, the arts community and the elderly. And all that in just 4 months. He will lose Ashgrove so the suggestion he grab the first safe LNP seat that comes up (when he kncks someone off) is his best bet for personal survival. However, at the rate at which he is alienating voters, finding a safe seat may require a move west of the Great Dividing Range.

  15. Will the “Staunch” Qld Premier’s public service cuts reduce the protection of vulnerable children? You know such crimes do have motive and opportunity to be considered.
    As when Mary MacKillop was excommunicated for herding vulnerable children in to the protection of her schools, depriving certain entrenched perverts from their accustomed prey.
    Those dammed to hell proddy’s infesting SA in those times apparently rallied to her defence. Where are they all now?

  16. This poll is just on the basis of some unpopular decisions. Wait until the stuff-ups start when there is no one to do the work. Not to mention when the punters start to feel the pain that is attached to these cuts. So far, they are just whingeing about them. Wait until they start to feel them and then get back to us with a new poll. By then, it won’t matter how much News Ltd protect him. He obviously hasn’t learnt the maxim that new governments don’t get voted in, old ones get voted out. And there is also the fact that of Australia’s whining population – they of the humungous sense of entitlement – Queenslanders are top (or bottom if you want to look at it realistically) of the heap.

  17. NEWLIAR wants to turn QLD into Spain , their plan is to Sack everyone and then drop wages in half (except for LNP Buddies ) for the ones that got their photo taken by the LNP hit squad. From the city to the bush , people have closed their wallets. Even selling winter clothes at Markets for a third of the price , is hard work. They know its cheap , but leave the money in their pockets. The v8’s at Ipswich 300 on the weekend was well down on attendance , even with a FREE DAY on Friday ???

    PS , don’t blame me , I DIDN’T VOTE for the LNP and never have.

  18. Why shouldnt we blame you bonkton if you and the rest of the idiots didnt keep a incompetant government in power for so long then Newman wouldnt have to make the unpopular decisions he is making at the moment.

  19. I’m really glad that the LNP pays so many staffers to waste their time commenting on the internet. It leaves the real campaigning wide open for everyone else.

  20. Andrew36, I quite agree with 23 that Newman has a long time and lots of opportunity to improve, but given his appalling start there is at least a reason to hope he wont. I don’t think there is much hope the PM will turn it around, but would be nice to be wrong.

    As for your 24 you don’t really have an established view that the previous was in anyway incompetent. That was the view in NSW, it was always wrong as the voters of NSW now being to realise but in Qld the lie wasn’t sold so well or wasn’t bought quite so stupidly.

    But that small point isn’t your greatest mistake no you have two much greater mistakes. Firstly the very bad, very self destructive, economically stupid decisions Newman is making don’t ‘need to be made’ at all. Secondly even if some changes were needed the solutions of Newman are wrong wrong wrong.

    It is quite stupid to do a stupid thing for a good reason, but Newman is doing stupid thing after stupid thing for stupid reasons.

    I think Qlders realise this already and they will pay for this unnecessary economic self sabotage for decades and decades, even if they are smart enough to dump Newman at the first opportunity.

    Finally as an aside like elsewhere in Australia it is likely much of Qld’s dissatisfaction with Labor was simply Mumble’s ‘its time’ but to the extent there were factors other than ‘its time’ it seems to me likely people considered that the Govt was not doing enough for them public infrastructure wise. To kill the States ability to plan, deliver, maintain and effectively maximise public goods and infrastructure is a massive unnecessary own goal by a Premier destined to make good Old Sir Joh seem like the capable, wise and squeeky clean one of the pair.

  21. [Why shouldnt we blame you bonkton if you and the rest of the idiots didnt keep a incompetant government in power for so long then Newman wouldnt have to make the unpopular decisions he is making at the moment.]

    He did not show much intelligence by getting Costello involved, that guy was the laziest Treasurer in history, the Treasury did all the work while he swung in a hammock!.

    You, Andrew 36 are unaware the State went through TWO cyclones and a huge flood
    PLUS the GST which caused great pain to the Qld finances, get a brain!.

  22. @geoffb

    I think the LNP has plans (backed by Labor) to change the terms to fixed 4 year ones, like all of the other states.

    So there’s a chance that there won’t be another election there until 2016.

    It might have its advantages that way. For example, it might prevent Newman from calling a snap early election in, say, 2014 if he feels that period would advantage the LNP and secure another term.

  23. When Kennett came in a building society had gone to the wall and the state bank had been sold to the commonwealth bank to save it.

    We may not have been happy but we expected Kennett to do what he did.

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