The latest monthly ReachTEL automated phone poll of state voting intention in Queensland is Labor’s best Queensland poll since the floods crisis. The Coalition’s primary vote is down from 44.6% in the previous month’s poll to 42.0%, with Labor up from 30.5% to 34.2% although the latter result is in fact slightly lower than their 34.7% in the poll of two months ago. On my count, that translates into a 54-46 lead to the Liberal National Party on two-party preferred. Campbell Newman’s personal ratings continue to worsen, his combined very good and good rating down from 41.4% to 36.1% and very poor and poor down from 48.5% to 47.8%, with indifferent up from 9.1% to 15.3%. Annastacia Palaszczuk is up from 26.3% positive to 28.7% and down from 31.8% negative to 29.1%. Entertainingly, the poll also inquired about Clive Palmer, and found 25.6% viewing him favourably, 37.1% neutrally and 33.7% unfavourably, with just 3.6% offering they had never heard of him. Helpfully for its credibility, ReachTEL’s Queensland polling has been matching Newspoll’s (as noted by Possum), at least on the limited information so far available.
UPDATE: Also helpful for ReachTEL’s credibility is a result from Galaxy overnight which had escaped my notice due to weekend inattentiveness. The 56-44 two-party result is more favourable to the LNP than ReachTEL’s, but the primary votes of 44% for the LNP and 33% for Labor are well in their recent ballpark. The poll also shows Campbell Newman with an approval rating of 43% and a disapproval rating of 48%. Galaxy’s poll has a sample of 800 and a theoretical margin of error of about 3.5%, while ReachTEL’s has 1123 and about 3%.
In a further Queensland development, Condamine MP Ray Hopper has defected from the LNP to Katter’s Australian Party. Hopper came to parliament in February 2001 when he won the predecessor seat of Darling Downs as an independent after failing to win Nationals endorsement, and he joined the party later in the year. He also assumed a position on the front bench, but was progressively demoted to parliamentary secretary and dropped altogether after opposing the Campbell Newman takeover in March 2011.
Newman has spoken today of a deep sense of betrayal for the people of the Condamine electorate, and has apparently said he will treat the LNP’s preselected candidate as the electorate’s legitimate representative. I’m usually not too keen on mid-term defections myself, but Hopper’s is an unusual case, and Newman’s approach seems to me to bespeak the tin-eared over-aggressiveness that is so often attributed to him. Having come to parliament by appealing to the court of the people after defeat in party preselection, Hopper’s electoral strength is clearly his own rather than his party’s. This point was further emphasised in 2009 when he comfortably retained the seat against an independent challenge from the highly regarded Stuart Copeland, who had been contentiously been squeezed out of Nationals preselection after his seat was abolished.
The conservative side of politics was certainly not troubled when Hopper abandoned the label he was elected under by joining the Nationals, and neither were his constituents. My guess is that the latter will be neither dismayed nor surprised by this latest development.