ReachTEL: 54-46 to Labor in Ashgrove

A new poll finds Campbell Newman in desperate straits in the race for his seat of Ashgrove.

Courtesy of the Seven Network, ReachTEL offers what is perhaps a note of insight into the tone of panic that has been emerging lately from the Campbell Newman campaign, with no sign of the late-campaign surge that powered him to victory in Ashgrove in 2012. Labor’s lead has in fact increased from 53-47 in the January 13 poll to a formidable 54-46, from primary votes of 46.5% from Labor’s Kate Jones (down 1.1%), 42.3% for Newman (down 1.4%) and 8.2% for the Greens, up a solid 2.8%. The poll was conducted yesterday by automated phone polling from a sample of 861; full results here.

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.

303 comments on “ReachTEL: 54-46 to Labor in Ashgrove”

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  1. Richard Koser @ 241
    [“Looking at past editions of that on-line Essential poll. Does it have a Labor bias?”]

    The last Essential poll before the Victorian State election had a 1 percentage point ALP bias, with a 2PP result of 53-47 to the ALP.

    The VIC poll had a slightly larger sample size of 794, and used a similar 3 week averaging method.

    I think the bias in the VIC election poll might have happened because the late swing to the Coalition was averaged out with the results from earlier weeks.

    This means that the QLD Essential poll could very well be showing a pro-LNP bias if there is a late swing to the ALP currently taking place.

  2. Martin @ 235

    Sorry, I meant as leader of the state/territory/nation, rather than party. Palmer would only fit if he’d gone straight in as PM.

  3. TBA @225:

    What a pathetic, one-eyed look at it all. I wasn’t aware that there was any public expectation that civil servants face elections…unlike, you know, the Premier of Queensland.

    Mind you, he showed characteristic arrogance in parachuting into the Premiership at all, and his inability to understand how government works has shown almost since the day he was sworn in!

  4. Rocket Rocket@98

    Kevin – do you do sampling on a fixed area so you can extrapolate the numbers?

    Not on this kind of expedition, but for some surveys of threatened species yes.

    GG’s #93 was hilarious but at least the marginal-habitat psephologist is doing OK in his other line of work; another new snail species discovered today in the middle of nowhere.

  5. Robert Herbert, first Premier of Queensland served in Parliament only as Premier although that was before the party system.

    More recently, Goff Letts served only as Chief Minister in the NT, losing his seat at the second Territory election in 1977.

  6. [TBA @225:
    What a pathetic, one-eyed look at it all. I wasn’t aware that there was any public expectation that civil servants face elections…unlike, you know, the Premier of Queensland.]

    And for the record the salary suggested by TBA was incorrect.

    Greg Withers transferred, without promotion, from the Premier’s Department as soon as possible after Bligh became Premier. What would have been more appropriate?

  7. Letts must have done an absolutely bang up job, then. At least Herbert has the excuse that everyone was a bit new to the whole politics thing.

  8. Martin B @261:

    Why, Anna Bligh should have resigned, of course! Every right-thinking (or is that Right-thinking?) person knows that the one necessary qualification to legitimately lead an Australian government is to be a Coalition member!

    No, wait – there’s a second qualification: you need to be male to be a good leader, according to our beloved righties. Any female who dares to step up to the plate “deserves” to be incessantly mocked, hounded and denigrated on account of her gender, until she can’t get a word in edgewise.

  9. Letts had served in the NT Legislative Council, so again that only works if you count the new Legislative Assembly as a separate parliament.

    Herbert was Premier for a bit over six years, which was really quite an achievement back then, before the whiff of scandal started to rise and he resigned and returned to Britain.

  10. @ teh_drewski, 262

    To be fair to Goff Letts, 1977 was only the second-ever election in the Territory, and in the first election (1974) his CLP had won 17 of the 19 seats in the Legislative Assembly (with independents capturing the remaining two).

    The 1977 election returned the result to a more regular 12 CLP, 6 ALP, 1 Independent assembly.

  11. Whoops, my bad. Herbert resigned as Premier first before resigning from Parliament, although he was later re-commissioned as Premier until he left parliament. Upshot being that for 6 months he sat in Parliament not as Premier.

  12. Sir Robert Herbert was not only the first premier of Queensland but, ironically, he was undoubtedly gay. He never married and lived with his friend from Oxford John Bramston…. They called their house Herston House. Now a Brisbane suburb. John Bramston was the first Qld Attorny General.

    Haha imagine what a stupid homophobe like Blieji/Newman thinks of that!,

  13. I think it is delicious that the most backward and homophobic state in Australia has a suburb named after two gay lovers.

    Though I wouldn’t be surprised if the LNP might changed its name.

  14. Herbet’s actually an even more interesting precedent for Newman than I had realised, given that he didn’t resign the Premiership until he *second* term of Parliament…after losing his initial seat in Parliament at the next election.

    He contested and won, as Premier, a by-election for the rural seat West Moreton, after losing the urban North Brisbane.

    Perhaps Newman can parachute into a safer rural seat should Ashgrove no longer prove hospitable?

  15. @ teh_drewski, 271

    He certainly could try and, if he managed to find someone willing to part with their seat for him, would probably win.

    The question is are there any souls in the Liberal National Party so kind as to do so for Can’t Do Newman?

  16. I sincerely hope that the press spend tomorrow demanding to know whether Campbell Newman has such a “Plan B”, and if not will he categorically rule it out.

    Would be fun asking. Make it the theme of tomorrow.

  17. Arrnea – given the LNP can’t, shall we say, “persuade” a backbencher with a choice diplomatic post, that Newman would have to have a very, very convincing argument for why one of the LNP backbenchers who held onto their seat in a big swing election should give up that seat so they can put their proven loser premier back in Parliament.

    But perhaps he’s got more a silver tongue than we think.

  18. Not only should Campbell Newman be asked who will be his replacement as LNP leader and possible premier tomorrow, but every journo who talks to Bleije, Springborg, Seeney and Neville should ask them whether they intend to stand to become leader (and possibly premier) after the election. We all know the rules. The LNP parliamentary leadership will be declared vacant, nominations called, and the surviving members in the party room will vote. It is the question that must be asked.

  19. Swamprat @270: Try WA on for size. We’re more laid-back about it, but there’s a strong current of homophobia in sandgroper culture.

    teh_drewski @275: How can Newman offer diplomatic posts as an incentive to clear a path for him? Abbott could, but surely the howls of outrage should (I’d say “would”, but with virtually the entire media mindlessly parroting the LNP line, they may “forget” to report on this) reach the stars themselves!

  20. Personally I don’t see the problem. Under our system the party who has the numbers to govern has the right to select the person who will lead the party and be PM/Premier. This was made clear during the RUDD/Gillard/Rudd periods. It’s not the voters who decide who will be the leader.

    Come Sunday if the LNP win and Newman loses the party will decide who becomes premier.

  21. [teh_drewski @275: How can Newman offer diplomatic posts as an incentive to clear a path for him? Abbott could, but surely the howls of outrage should (I’d say “would”, but with virtually the entire media mindlessly parroting the LNP line, they may “forget” to report on this) reach the stars themselves!]
    If Abbott offered some QLD LNP MP some diplomatic post in order to free up a seat for Newman to re-enter the QLD parliament then I suspect Abbott wouldn’t last another week as PM>

  22. [Come Sunday if the LNP win and Newman loses the party will decide who becomes premier.]
    A hilarious outcome would be if PUP wins a few seats and the LNP needs those numbers to govern, thus letting Clive Palmer determine who becomes Premier of QLD.

  23. @ ShowsOn, 281

    If Clive Palmer determined who became Premier of Queensland, we’d have a political dynasty formed.

  24. david – yes, it isn’t a problem, but the LNP don’t want to admit that voting for them might lead to leadershit. They’re supposed to be strong, stable, adults in charge etc.

    Saying “vote for us and spin the Premier wheel – who knows what you’ll get!” is a probably going to hurt the vote.

  25. The only way for Queenslanders to know for sure who will be the Premier come Feb 1st will be to vote (or at least preference above the LNP) the Labor candidate in their seat.

  26. Of course tec that is plainly the case which is why they will hold the current line until post-election. They are not going to get involved in leadership rhetoric on election eve.

  27. teh_drewski: I was fleshing out the details a bit…it seemed suss to me that the idea was even mentioned. Has there ever been a PM who intervened so directly in State politics?

    And along with the “spin-the-wheel Premier” idea hurting the vote, you can add the time Newman stuck his foot in his mouth by stating that only LNP electorates need apply for pork after the election.

  28. david – they will, but I think you do actually understand why the question of leadership is a problem for the LNP right now and why they’ll be trying very hard to duck the question tomorrow.

    Saying it’s not a problem for them because they’ll figure it out after the election is rather disingenuous, because while it is a consequence of our system, many – if not most – voters do not have that understanding.

  29. The desperation of the Qld LNP is highlighted by these ABC Factchecks of campaign claims.

    Anna P is telling the truth when she says that Qld unemployment is at an 11 year high.

    Campbell N is exaggerating when he says crime rates have dropped thanks to his bikie laws. There has been no change to long term trend.

    The choice is clear: between discipline and desperation.

  30. tec I fully understand and it’s largely a problem of their own making. In a democracy people can keep asking them the question but they don’t have to answer it other than how they are already.

  31. Matt – it was mentioned because the time-honoured way of getting rid of “problematic” MPs at the federal level is for them to be appointed to a diplomatic post soon after deciding, entirely of their own volition and without any expectation of any reward or incentive of course, to resign.

    Such a convenient scenario will not be available to Newman; hence he will need to talk one of his victorious colleagues to sacrifice themselves at the height of their success, for the good of the party, using nothing other than his winning personality.

    The implication of my comment was that I found this unlikely…

  32. teh_drewski @291:

    Want some massage balm for your tongue? You may’ve pulled a muscle in it, sticking it that far into your cheek…

    The LNP may pull through, they may not – but I think everyone can agree on Campbell Newman: Stick a fork in him, he’s done.

  33. Socrates @289: To be fair, while Palaszczkuk is accurate on the numbers re:unemployment, the State Government has little impact on the unemployment rates.

    While Newman’s impact (sacking thousands of public services) has been entirely negative in that regard, to blame him for the whole unemployment rate is a little irresponsible and sets a standard that Premier Palaszczkuk could be held to in three years’ time…with just as little control over the realities involved.

  34. last thought (got up form bed!)- if I were Annastacia and got asked about the GST thing I would say this –

    “Well yes of course the rate is 10%. But I understand that some of Campbell Newman’s federal colleagues want to not just extend the GST to things like fresh food, but also to raise the rate. We would oppose any attempts to do either of these.”

    Turn it back on the LNP/Coalition. Get people talking about it.

  35. And in Scotland 🙂

    [The X-Men and Bourne Supremacy actor Brian Cox has quit the Labour party and joined the Scottish National party.

    Cox, attacked the “empty rhetoric of leading members of the party” and said they no longer stand for social democracy.]

  36. Matt

    Overall unemployment rates are beyond State control, but comparative performance is not. Qld has gone badly backwards under Newman. The cuts were too deep and politically motivated, and hurt business confidence. Meanwhile the mining slowdown also made them badly timed, since there were no new jobs for the sacked public servants to go into. They could have easily done an attrition strategy over three years to mimimise the pain. But no, they went the full Campbell and virtually put the state into a local recession.

    Qld now has a higher unemployment rate than here in SA. Given that we have had BHPB cancel the Olympic Dam project, and Holden closing down car manufacturing in the same period, it has been tough. Yet SA has still outperformed Qld under Newman.

  37. LOL. Newman is BORKED!!!

    So let me see, that’s :
    – a one-term VIC LNP govt
    – a one-term QLD LNP Premier
    – quite probably a not-even-one term PM

    The LNZ is starting to make Rudd/ Gillard years look a lot like longevity.

  38. Socrates @296:

    Like I said, the impact Newman’s had on unemployment numbers in Qld is entirely negative. But there’s only so far he can move it in either direction as a Premier – to blame him for the whole sets a precedent that Premier Annastacia (please God yes!) Palaszczkuk may regret in three years’ time.

    She’d have done better to frame the issue, as you imply, in terms relative to other States – that is something a Premier can at least partially affect.

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