ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor in Queensland

ReachTEL delivers a weak result to a Newman government that would probably want to start pulling out of its pre-election form slump round about now.

ReachTEL turns up a minor surprise with a Queensland state poll that has Labor slightly ahead, rather than slightly behind. The Liberal National Party has a lead of 39.2% to 37.3% on the primary vote, but however it is that preferences are allocated, it results in a Labor lead of 51-49, a reversal of the previous result in early October and Labor’s first ReachTEL lead since I-don’t-know-when – maybe ever. The Greens are up from 7.6% to 7.9%, and Palmer United is down from 7.2% to 6.5%. There are other questions on leadership and such that I don’t have the brain space for at present, but can you find the full results here. The poll was conducted on Thursday from a sample of 1480, in the usual automated phone poll fashion.

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.

39 comments on “ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor in Queensland”

  1. Thanks William – my one-time home – still attached!

    Saw this on the TV news, and now in the Courier-Mail

    ONE of Brisbane’s biggest eyesores is to disappear from the skyline, set to be demolished.

    Great news! And after they get rid of Campbell Newman’s government, then they can get rid of the Brisbane Transit Centre as well.

    Saw this poll after I had just seen Newman saying he would provide no state assistance to small businesses affected by that huge storm in Brisbane. He is a copy-writer’s dream

    Under the Liberal-National Party, You’re on your own

    I wonder if he has heard of Hurricane Katrina?

    “Government is not and never has been in the business of bailing out businesses from extreme weather events”

    Obviously Newman doesn’t count cyclones as extreme weather events, nor I suppose severe droughts affecting large swathes of rural Queensland. Then again, those sort of extreme weather events provide much better photo-opportunities.

  2. Thursday from 4:30pm across much of Logan/Brisbane and beyond was bedlam. I doubt many folk were answering phones to respond to robo calls during or after the super cell storm, not to mention hundreds of thousands stuck in traffic or without power and internet. Curious then their results were so similar to last time. If true it’s still shaping up as LNP vs a four way opposition. So unfair on Mr Can-Did!

  3. If this result played out at the next election, would it be the largest swing against a first-term government, at state or federal level, in Australian history?

  4. PUP has taken a rapid fall from 13.6% in June to 6.5% now (after polling 11% at 2013 federal poll)

    Katter Australia Party is I presume a reasonable chunk of the 9.1% “other”, (3.75% at 2013 federal)

    But the non-LNP/Labor/Green vote is 15.6%, falling a bit from the 16.2% at the 2012 State election, and the 18.4% at the 2013 Federal Poll. (and the 19.9% in June Reachtel)

    Which I think represents trouble for Newman – the image I have is “undecideds” bouncing slowly off the comet like the Rosetta probe, then ever so slowly settling back on the surface, but on the non-LNP side of the ledger.

  5. Labor in Victoria 1952 won 56.7/43.3 (approx)
    Labor in Victoria 1955 lost 42.1/57.9 (approx)

    So a 14.6% swing against them on the very fresh backdrop of the Split.

    Federally – Labor in 1931 went down 21% on their vote, but half of that was Lang Labor and it is very hard to calculate a modern two-party-preferred number

  6. Rocket,

    I’ll crosspost this earlier reply over here.

    Moving the BaT tunnel a bit west and taking up the space under the Transit Center in Brisbane is going to put the kibosh on building a future high speed rail station at Roma Street.

    I’m proposing to build the high speed rail station along the only strip of land in the middle of the city without tall buildings. That is underneath Central station, Anzac Square and Post Office Square.

  7. Tipping point?
    The unthinkable can be thought?
    There is not a great difference between 49:51 and 51:49 but if the general public gets to hear of the transition from LNP being winners to LNP being losers then a new set of options opens up.

    I’m basing the above on the responses I got from my QLD friends when I told them of this poll – they hadn’t heard about it until then.
    They were ecstatic.

  8. cc 9 – Someone explained to me recently that one of the problems of the proposed North-South Metro Rail tunnel in Melbourne was that it would have to go even lower than the two Citylink road tunnels that it would cross, increasing the cost significantly. Of course no-one ever thought of this 20 years ago when Citylink was planned.

    fr 11 – (crossposted) Of all the questions in that Qld Reachtel poll, the one result that surprises me most is

    Regardless of your voting intention, who do you think will win the upcoming Queensland state election?

    LNP 50.8% Labor 49.2%

    Usually this metric I thought lagged behind voting intention – that is people say “I’m going to vote against Newman” but don’t believe/realise that so many others think the same.

    In Victoria in 1999 I think Kennett was still well ahead on “who do you think will win” even though the polls had tightened, similarly with Labor in 2010.

  9. Rocket Rocket @12

    I hope all Melbourne Rail tunnels are up to standard.

    I am sure all Queenlanders will oppose any expenditure on rail Tunnels, unless owned by Americans; of couse.

  10. Did Newman really say it isn’t the job of government to bail people out after major storms, okay there is some truth in that but this brings us to a far bigger question, why is the Queensland Government looking to fund a private mine development which is at this stage unable to raise funding from the banking or capital markets.

  11. Well, this poll shoots one leg off the argument Kevin Andrews was using yesterday and the day before which was along the lines of “If what happened in Victoria is due to the Feds, why are the polls so good for NSW and Qld conservatives?”

    He explicitly noted CN being “8 points ahead” to refute the Toxic Tony effect.

    Now, true, one poll is one poll, but with an opposition which would fit into a small mini-van and a LOTO in Queensland not exactly a household name, one can hardly think the LNP have much to crow about.

  12. [Did Newman really say it isn’t the job of government to bail people out after major storms]


    As I’ve observed before I expect that at anything like this overall figure the ALP will pick up most if not all of their metropolitan losses, and there will certainly be some minors/indies returned from regional areas. So the hung parliament target zone might well be relatively large which would be rather interesting in a unicameral system (with the incumbent government without a leader…)

  13. Brisbane Times

    Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the government’s “strong plan” and “team” would see “Queenslander’s putting their faith in us at the next election”.

    He said Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was rarely seen during the Victorian campaign as the Napthine government sought to shake off voter discontent with its federal counterpart, would be welcome in Queensland.

    Langbroek I am sure would welcome Abbott to come to Queensland – it will ensure at least that Campbell Newman goes, and then Langbroek could be Premier – unless of course Abbott visits too many electorates!

  14. [Did Newman really say it isn’t the job of government to bail people out after major storms


    Yep. The VIC ALP just came up with “Under the Liberals you’re on your own”. Its a great slogan. and if Newman is stupid and arrogant enough to think people dont beleive govt has a role in major disasters, then Im going to have to change my current prediction that the QLD LNP will hang on in 2015.

  15. le 19 – yes, best slogan for years, and I know it really really bugged the Liberals, which is usually an indicator that it is very effective. It should run in Queensland and Federally. Because any attempt to “counter” it will just make it even more obvious to the general public that it is true.

  16. [Newman is stupid and arrogant enough to think people dont beleive govt has a role in major disasters, then Im going to have to change my current prediction that the QLD LNP will hang on in 2015]

    And completely, unnecessarily alienating to much of the LNP base. If there is a group of people who believe more strongly that government has a role to play in major disasters than old-style rural Nats, then I can’t think of it. And lines like this will reinforce any perceptions they may have about the LNP being ‘taken over’ by city spivs from the Libs, and that perhaps they should look elsewhere…

    I’ve commented before that you can expect sacking public servants and locking up bikies to be second nature to the LNP, but the true political genius of the Newman govt has been its ability to pick fights with its own supporters like doctors, lawyers and farmers.

  17. I don’t want to feed lines to heartless governments, but if you really must try to dampen (NPI) people’s expectations then it has to be done much more gently:

    “Governments alone can’t put peoples lives back together after events like this, but we’ll be looking into whatever we can do to assist”

  18. Actually Newman said: ‘Government is not and never has been in the business of bailing out businesses from extreme weather events’

    I think that hurts his voter base harder than if he said ‘people’.

  19. To be fair, that *is* what business insurance is for.

    You have to hand it to Newman for finding the most tone-deaf way to put it, though.

  20. The LNP need to continue the saturation advertising by the can do mob about how they have surveyed the people of Qld and found that a 50 year lease with a 49 year extension is a fantastic way of letting us keep our assets taxpayers have purchased without really selling them.

    How stupid do they think we are?

  21. The word around a few ALP branches in Qld is that Annastacia will be euthanised some time this week. Sad, but true. Cameron Dick is said to be the inheritor and will run from outside parliament – a la Can-do. It could be a very clever move as she really doesn’t make much of an impression. Can-do would eat her in an intensive election campaign. That said, she has done a fine job in just keeping the party afloat.

  22. ross – interesting. I think that because the LNP still hold 73 out of 89 seats a lot people will think Labor cannot possibly win. This may actually help Labor. Someone else noted that with various independents and Katter Australia Party, the LNP could end up as a minority government, which would be interesting in Queensland’s one house system.

    My prediction this far out – Newman to lose Ashgrove, LNP to lose 20 seats, leaving them on 53/89.

  23. [the LNP could end up as a minority government, which would be interesting in Queensland’s one house system.]

    And even more so with a leaderless LNP. They would have to have a leadership ballot within days. Seeney would need to do interim negotiations. The parachute option would be completely off the table (ok, so I’m about the only one here who thinks that’s a live option anyway) The new leader’s standing in the negotiations (as someone who was not running for Premier) would be diminished.

    I think that a hung parliament with Newman ejected would see LNP start very much behind.

  24. RR, I really find it incredibly hard to predict the result of the next Qld election. There are so many variables, especially with OPV. I used to think that Palmer voters who exhaust at ‘1’ would mostly be pissed-off LNPers, but with Palmer more than likely to implode, they may stay with the LNP. Long-term infrastructure leases seem to be poison, the SEQ economy is flat and the mining downturn is turning the regions sour with Can-do and Abbott.

    OTOH, the LNP has a treasure chest of big bucks and no shortage of carpetbaggers to contribute to their coffers. He also has Annastacia P. – say no more. I’m worried what he could do to her. Cameron Dick is an experienced hand, is personable, and will easily win the seat of Woodridge. Maybe Dick’s elevation to the extra-parliamentary ALP leadership would inspire the branches and unionists to run a similar grassroots/hi-vis campaign as seen in Victoria. I just love that slogan they used: ”Under the Liberals (LNP), you’re on your own.” That would go down a treat here in Qld. All going well, I could see the LNP reduced to a minority status, but the problem is how do you garrote Annastacia quietly and with dignity, especially with the new leadership rules of a 50/50 vote of members and unions?

  25. ross – yes OPV is an unknown and I think “blows out” margins. So I still can’t see Labor winning, and 20 seats may be an overcall but I think (other than winning obviously) that 20 should be a realistic aim. It would represent a swing of about 7%, after suffering a swing away of about 13.7% in 2012 so I do think it is realistic.

    martin b – what could be better than Queensland’s “saviour” recouping from his wounds and “parachuting” in again to save the state. After running the negotiations form “outside” like before the 2012 election.

    actually I’m starting to feel unwell thinking about it.

  26. I think if Labor plays their card right and pushes “Just Vote 1” (much as I hate this strategy), it might force the right-leaning voters to just pick their preferred minor party and not preference the LNP if they’re unhappy with them, pushing it in their favour. This was probably why the Nationals and Liberals merged in the first place, to prevent the splitting of votes.

  27. Raaraa – yes OPV was started by Labor to help themselves, but it is coming back to bite. Much the same as the malapportionment wich kept Labor in office from 1932-1957 later kept the National in power from 1957-1989. And part of the reason for the “LNP” was clearly to counter the OPV system.

    When I lived in Queensland through Goss’ second win in 1992 I could see no easy solution for the Libs and Nats. Because in elections where Labor won, the Nats would far outperform the Libs in seats with much the same primary vote (in 1992 the Nats got 26 seats from 24%, the Libs 9 seats from 20%).

    The difficulty would arise when the Liberal vote rose in SE Queensland to the point where together they could win government, because it seemed likely to me that the Libs could outpoll the Nats but get far fewer seats and feel “hard done by” having to support a Nat as Premier.

    It was clear to me that they had to combine but I must say I never really believed they would – and I am still not sure how they would survive as one unit were they to be in opposition again for any length of time.

  28. The slogan in Qld (from the “Not4Sale” campaign) is “Put the LNP last, it’s where they put you”
    Almost as catchy, but ignores the OPV system. However, if it encourages minor party voters to put the ALP above the LNP instead of exhausting at 1, the ALP could be in business

  29. “Euthanised”? “Garotted”? That makes the terms applied to Rudd and Gillard sound friendly. I know nothing about the Qld opposition leader beyond her unpronounceable name, but what’s she done to deserve that?

  30. BofP, Annastacia’s problem is the ALP’s polling success, but this is due entirely to antipathy to Can-do. Her profile is miniscule. When she was elected, no-one ever imagined the ALP could be competitive in this term after its 2012 drubbing. Her success in keeping the party united and focussed is acknowledged and admired, but when the thought of imminent victory is pondered, few would give her even a remote chance of victory given the size of the LNP’s war chest, the power of the Murdoch press, the huge number of LNP sophomores, etc. Now that victory is a possibility, some ALP heavies are thinking about a change of leadership to someone with the political smarts and high public profile, like Dick. I’m not saying the challenge is on, just that it’s being seriously considered. Oh, and pardon my ‘rhetorical flourishes’.

  31. The Qld Labor party recently adopted a UK Labour system for electing the parliamentary leader. The rank and file, the affiliated unions, and the parliamentary party each get a third of the vote. In that set-up, I doubt that Cameron Dick would win. At the Qld Labor conference 2014 Cameron Dick pushed for the federal Labor system of rank and file and parliamentary team each getting half of the vote. That proposal was voted down and one of the supporters of the tripartite model which did get passed lambasted Cameron Dick for having personal motives for trying to exclude affiliated unions.

    I gather that Cameron Dick is not popular with the unions. If would be extremely difficult to remove an election-winning Anastasia from the leadership.

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