ReachTEL: 50-50 in Queensland

The first poll of the Queensland election campaign finds Campbell Newman dangerously placed, despite an improving trend in his personal ratings.

The first poll of the Queensland election campaign has emerged courtesy of the Seven Network, which promptly commissioned the fast workers at ReachTEL to conduct an automated phone poll last night that captured 1583 respondents. So far as voting intention is concerned, the result doesn’t do much to encourage talk of a Liberal National Party recovery achieved on the back of “Operation Boring”. The poll has the two parties at level pegging on two-party preferred, albeit that this marks a shift from 51-49 in favour of Labor at the last such poll on November 28. Both major parties have recorded a slightly higher primary vote, with Labor’s 38.1% (up 0.8%) being its best result from ReachTEL since the Newman government came to office, and the Liberal National Party’s 40.3% being 1.1% higher than last time. This time the difference comes off “other”, down from 9.1% to 7.7%, rather than Palmer United, which is at 6.3% – only 0.2% down on the November poll, but 9.1% below its peak in July.

There are better indications for Campbell Newman on personal ratings, with his “very good” rating continuing an ascent from 13.4% in early to September to 17.5% in late November to 21.7% now. However, his “very poor” rating has been stable, and at 32.4% is high in absolute terms. Annastacia Palaszczuk’s ratings are perhaps suggestive of a slight tendency for voters to be jumping off the fence, with the middle rating on the five-point scale (“satisfactory”) down from 31.7% in late November to 28.7%, “very good” up 1.4% to 12.9%, and “very poor” up from 16.3% to 19.4%. The overall net ratings, subtracting negative responses from positive, are minus 11.1% for Newman and minus 8.5% for Palaszczuk. Further questions on preferred LNP leader, whether the LNP deserves re-election and who respondents expect to win produce almost identical results from last time, which you can read all about here.

Essential Research has also provided results of state voting intention combined from its weekly polling during the first half of December, which in the case of Queensland encompassed a fairly limited sample of 507. This result had Labor leading 51-49 on two-party preferred, after the LNP led 52-48 in November, with primary votes of 38% for the LNP (down two), 37% for Labor (up two), 10% for the Greens (up two), 5% for Palmer United (down one) and 3% for Katter’s Australian Party (steady).

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.

77 comments on “ReachTEL: 50-50 in Queensland”

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  1. If this wasn’t after the 2012 election I’d say the results were a bit mediocre. Clearly people aren’t ready to jump back yet, but still encouraging for Labor. I think it’ll be just shy of a hung parliament.

  2. LNP slim majority but Newman gone and continued anger towards the Coalition federally. The best thing for Labor here is a narrow loss because it allows growing dissent towards Fed Coalition.

  3. Queensland voters still a bit gun shy of Labor may be Campbell Newman’s saving grace.

    If some enterprising journalists ask him about Business’ recent proposals to virtually do away with Penalty Rates, or his position wrt broadening &/or increasing the GST, plus the re-jigging of redistribution of this ‘States Tax’, then it might make the electorate wake up from their holiday torpor and take notice.

  4. This result, if replicated on the pendulum will result in Labor winning at least 47 seats (36 gains, plus yeerongpilly and Gladstone).

    Ever since the campaign has started, the talk of Campbell Newman losing his seat and the lack of a viable alternative is all but proving disastrous for the Lnp message in cutting through – which in itself has a lot of grassroots opposition to privatisation from beyond Labor. The continuous commentary will not serve the LNP any good. It’s all downhill in the level of support for them from here.

    I don’t get why people are saying the LNP may scrape in with a slim majority. They are going to be trashed. And not a moment too soon.

  5. Some good reading on the QLD election. First one lays out the possible reasons for going early.,142
    [Queensland Election 2015, Why so soon Mr Newman?
    07 Jan 2015

    It’s on! Queensland will be heading to the polls on the 31st of January 2015. Now, we all expected an election this year, though considering it did not have to be held until no later than 20 June 2015, we did not expect it quite this early. In fact, no-one would have expected an election in to be held at such short notice? Premier Campbell Newman hit up the Acting (yes Acting) Governor General Tim Carmody (a whole other story in itself) yesterday the 6th of Jan to then give us the shortest time possible for an election to be held on the 31st of Jan.]
    [Queensland election: all about the environment, bikies and privatisation
    On all three, the Newman government has polarised Queensland voters and put policy daylight between it and the Labor opposition
    Joshua Robertson
    Tuesday 6 January 2015 16.15 AEST]
    [The summer bummer headline sums up day one of Queensland election campaign
    Jan 7th, 2015 by Richard Farmer in Elections, Queensland election]

  6. Tonight the 6pm QLD News (Channel 7) showed Campbell Newman call 99 year asset leases – sales. Unusual for a party leader to make a campaign clanger on day 1.

    This faux pas reveals that Newman doesn’t actually have much campaign experience (beyond city hall) and this inexperience could continue to cause stumbles.

    Also based on this poll the LNP backbenchers ranks will be hard to contain as they all try to save themselves.

  7. Very Strong result for the ALP. It’s down to the best campaign, and after 2012 that is great place to start.

    The ALP are on the way up, which should help their attitude on the campaign. The LNP are on the way down.

  8. Hopefully Labor can explain in a better fashion than at the last election that 2 massive floods wiped out a lot of infrastructure and lost business putting enormous pressure on the state budget. Although the last Labor Qld treasurer was a disgrace, it may appease those who remember the mess that was the Qld finances under Bligh and Fraser.


    Queensland: Beautiful One Day, Lineball The Next

    …updated. I interpret this poll as a shade better for the LNP than 50:50; I get something like 50.5-50.7. On that basis adding it to my aggregate and weighting it heavily because it is new and all the rest are very old now, I have the L-NP back in front on 2PP and currently facing a mere c. 29 seat losses to Labor (enough to put them in minority by one, but I’d expect gains from the crossbench.)

  10. Is the narrowing a thing still? Sophomore surge to carry the day for LNP?

    I’m in regional Queensland, it must be at least 11 months since I’ve heard a positive thing said about the government.

    I just can’t see people voting for asset sales despite all the advertising.

  11. Ill give the QLD LNP one thing: they seem to be the only Tories who realise everything’s going to shit for their side under PM Abbott, and it aint going to get better.

    Not dying wondering. I *almost* admire their pluck.

    Now lets thrash them.

  12. The Government allegedly inadvertently ran some taxpayer funded advertising in breach of the law:

    The larger question, to me, is why there should’ve been taxpayer funded advertising relating to hospital waiting lists at any time, regardless of whether a campaign had officially started. There is no need for the public to be informed of shorter hospital waiting lists. If a political party wishes to inform the public of its success it should do that using its own funds.

  13. left y – Yes almost certainly why they have gone early. Things will get worse under Abbott, and there is a big chance he will be out of the country / on holiday / at SA-Vic bushfires for most of the campaign. The LNP want to avoid any association with their Federal counterparts – it proved to be poison here in Victoria.

    I am all but certain Newman will be gone.

  14. Don’t SAY that out loud, Unitary State! You can see it and I can see it, but let all the innumerate parrots keep saying “narrow LNP victory”, and get your $4 for $1 (ie 3:1 odds) at Ladbrokes.

  15. Itep both sides do this but the Libs take hypocrisy to new levels with the complaining they do in opposition and then the flooding of the airwaves when in power.

    Not sure how it can be stopped though as some advertising is legit.

  16. Not wanting to totally derail the thread kevjohnno, but there could be solutions (e.g. an independent panel approving government advertising against set criteria, with members to the panel needing to be approved by both Premier and OL). It’s not going to happen though, because parties will always want to leave open the option of political advertising when they’re in government.

  17. Don’t forget the Senate report due out soon, on Qld State Gov’t corruption!

    Labor has an embarrassment of riches with which to attack Mr. Newman – if it’s prepared to use them. That may be one (of several) reasons for the snap election; it denies Labor the time it needs to put it all together into a single, coherent, election-winning package.

  18. Raaraa

    I was just about to post that myself. Arrested for wearing a T-shirt saying “I’m with stupid” and standing next to the LNP campaigners. Sigh. The return to the Joh era is complete, including a police force bending to politicla will.

    Queensland, beautiful one day, corrupt again the next.

    The tragic irony in this arrest is that it happens as various Australian political leaders, including Liberal ones (e.g. Baird in NSW) are speaking of never letting free speech die in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders, Yet at the same time Luke Barnes, the president of the Queensland Young LNP, is sicking the police on someone for wearing an offensive T shirt.

  19. Re the T-shirt fella.
    It seems a T-shirt does not encompass the concept of ‘free speech’ and necessarily entails the use of police powers but numerous front page propaganda articles by the “Courier-Mail” does not.
    I’m thinking – “Send in the Clown”, “Parachute Pete”, “Does this Guy Ever Shut UP?’ just to pinpoint 3.

    Dangerous double standard.

  20. The separation of powers QLD style.

    Sir Joh, can you explain the Separation of Powers in relation to the Westminister style of Govt?

    “You tell me & I’ll tell you if you’re right or wrong”

  21. Interesting development – media actually asking Newman where are his policies. Newman interviewed in Rockhampton:

    [THERE’S a great big albatross on the Queensland election campaign trail: New policies.

    NO matter how hard Premier Campbell Newman tries to talk about his government’s achievements and existing plans, he keeps getting asked the same question…

    But the announcer eventually asked him the inevitable question.

    “You haven’t announced your policies as yet, anything relating to central Queensland in the policies?” he asked.

    “Absolutely, there will be,” Mr Newman replied, before explaining his well-rehearsed lines about next week being reserved for policy announcements.]

  22. citizen,

    The last thing Newman needs are new policies. He’s in enough trouble with the ones he’s already got!

  23. As for the shorter waiting lists in health. Any bloody wonder!

    I know of one person with schwannoma on the brain who has been kicked off the waiting list.

    One elderly gentleman with a cataract and another with crippled hands.

    All three have been abandoned and their GP’s are furious.

  24. Given that the Senate report isn’t due until the end of March, I’ll be pretty impressed if Labor manage to spin that into damaging the current LNP.

  25. I can’t help thinking that the police needed to stop the man with the “I’m with stupid” t-shirt are likely to come a bad and expensive cropper in court, if the validity of their notion of a public nuisance is tested against the constitutional guarantees of freedom of political communication. In that context, it’s interesting to read what (now) Chief Justice French had to say when striking down the regulations devised by the late NSW ALP government to prevent “annoyance” to people involved with World Youth Day in 2008. See for a very dry and funny judgement, noting in particular the proposed conduct of the protesters in question, which involved not just T-Shirts, but “a giant condom costume” (among other things).

  26. Peter assuming an even swing across the state based on Anthony Greens calculator the LNP need a 2PP vote of around 52/48 to hold more seats than Labor. The problem to make any close predictions are there is likely to be variations in the swing particularly in normally safe Labor seats lost in 2012 and the effect of optional preferential voting.

    I think it is just too difficult to be confident either way at 50/50. A minority government is probably the most likely outcome.

  27. Hi PM,

    I’m not sure how much A Green has fiddled with his calculator, but it is probably going on the raw swing numbers on the pendulum. K Bonham has a different view (see above).

    You could argue the undecided will fall to the incumbent, or the “sophomore effect” (see Bonham), or that the swing to the ALP will give a larger preference flow than these polls are using.

    I take a very straight up view on polls (and the way swings work). If the polls have the ALP 51-49 on the eve of the election I will assume they are more likely to win, 52-48 very likely to win…

  28. And Yes, using my own “straight up” approach then 50-50 (as David says) is very line ball and likely to be a hung parliament, especially if the 5 OTH all get in.

  29. There’s a real chance of a collapse in LNP support after this absurd election call. Be interesting to watch the polls next week.

    Im still betting LNP narrow win with Springborg Premier – but who knows. They might have screwed the pooch with all the questions this unseemly haste will lead to.

  30. 6 others, Question, not 5. My guess is that the KAP seats will stay KAP, Gladstone and Y’pilly will become Labor, Nicklin will stay indie, and Gaven will probably remain Indie.

  31. Labor actually has a decent shot at winning Gaven if the conservative vote is split finely between Alex Douglas and the LNP… If Labor can secure a lead in primaries it may do the trick.

  32. Labor came third behind the LNP and KAP in 2012 in Mount Isa. They will overtake the LNP for sure this time but may or may not overtake KAP. It’s worth remembering the KAP has collapsed these past couple years.

  33. Bill Gissane has nominated to stand for the seat of Maroochydore in the upcoming State election. (Unopposed) If william needs the lnfo. 🙂

  34. The rolls close for new young voters 5pm this Saturday – tomorrow. I wonder if the government spent any State money advertising that little fact?

  35. The polls are not great for Newman. If Abbott were a real action man, a leader, he would charge up there to launch a charm offensive in support of Campbell. I hope he does. If not, I hope somebody asks him why not?

  36. Raaraa @43:

    Personally, I don’t particularly understand the angst about minority government within the commentariat – NZ’s technically had minority government after minority government since, what, 1990? They’ve done OK by it.

  37. Socrates @41: Of course they didn’t! That’s not a worthy use of taxpayers’ dollars…unlike spruiking Can’t-Do’s “achievements” in office.

  38. [41
    Posted Friday, January 9, 2015 at 7:19 am | PERMALINK
    The rolls close for new young voters 5pm this Saturday – tomorrow. I wonder if the government spent any State money advertising that little fact?]

    An advert by the QEC appeared on something I was reading this morning, probably because Google detected my browsing history on the Qld election. However this is the first time I have seen the advert. Maybe QEC was ‘told’ by Newman to advertise only at the last minute?

  39. [Queensland’s Labor deputy leader Tim Mulherin has revealed he is retiring.

    The 57-year-old, who has been the member for Mackay since 1995 and the Labor deputy leader since 2012, told Mackay’s Daily Mercury his father’s death on December 4 was behind his decision

    “My family needs me and my wife Erin and my boys need me,” he told the paper.]

    (Brisbane Times)

    headlines in Murdoch and ABC news made it sound like he was deserting the ALP.

  40. Henry

    [Any truth to big Clives’s rumour the LNP were going to bone Newman and thus he jumped first?]

    The rumour began circulating the day Newman called the election. Clive may just be adding fuel to the rumour mill. If the rumour is true, I doubt he’s close to the source.

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