Newspoll: 51.5-48.5 to Labor in Queensland

The last Newspoll of the Queensland election campaign suggests Labor is about as well placed as it was in 2017, although a lot may depend on regional variation in the swing.

The Australian brings us a campaign eve Newspoll that will, on top of anything else, be the first real-world test for the poll since YouGov took it over last year. It suggests no swing at all compared with the 2017 election on the two-party vote, with Labor leading 51.5-48.5 – technically a half-point move to the LNP since the last poll a fortnight ago, but that result would have been rounded to a whole number (this one might have been rounded either to a half-point or a decimal place).

The primary votes are Labor 37%, which is unchanged on the last poll and up from 35.4% in 2017; the LNP is down one to 36%, compared with 33.7% in 2017; the Greens are unchanged on 11%, compared with 10.0%; and One Nation is on 10%, which is up one but down from their 13.7% in 2017, despite the fact they are running in nearly every seat this time but only ran in two thirds last time. Breakdowns for the regions and the south-east would have been nice, but no such luck apparently.

The LNP is surprisingly competitive given how the leadership ratings are looking: Annastacia Palaszczuk is up one on approval to 62% and steady on disapproval at 33%, while Deb Frecklington appears not have had a good campaign, with her approval down two to 35% and disapproval up four to 48%. However, Palaszczuk’s 56-30 lead as preferred premier is little changed from the 57-32 she scored a fortnight ago. The poll was conducted from Sunday until earlier today from a sample of 1032.

In light of all that, the following observation from my paywalled piece in Crikey today holds up okay:

For all that though, Labor strategists are being kept awake at night by the path to victory that remains open to the LNP in the same parts of the state that savaged Labor at the federal election.

When the federal seats of central and northern Queensland recorded swings upwards of 10% last year, the effect was certainly demoralising for Labor, but the impact was limited by the fact that there had only been one seat there for them to lose — the Townsville-based seat of Herbert, which the party gained by a paper-thin margin in 2016.

At the state level though, the region is so richly endowed with Labor marginals that a locally concentrated swing could deliver the LNP victory even if it loses the statewide two-party vote, as the latest polls suggest.

Last but certainly not least, I believe I’m in a position to promise a functioning live election results facility tomorrow evening, similar in format to my acclaimed effort from the Eden-Monaro by-election, barring unforeseen egregious technical mishaps on either my end or the Electoral Commission of Queensland’s (the latter hopefully having made good its deficiencies from the night of the council elections and state by-elections in February). For anyone whose interest in the result extends to the booth level, this will easily be the best place to view the results, assuming all goes according to plan.

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.

102 comments on “Newspoll: 51.5-48.5 to Labor in Queensland”

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  1. From previous thread.
    Warrigal thank you. We have had Labor governments here for most of the past 30 years and the sky hasn’t fallen in. Often political arguments in Australia are around the margins apart from a few key issues like climate change.

    I hold no fears of another four years of Labor and I expect my electorate to change from blue to red.

  2. My previous prediction probably now counts as a “stretch target” – but mightn’t be too far off in the end…..

    M’s not wrong, we’re looking at an LNP blood bath. Fran Kelly a great broadcaster, but like most of the ABC “top brass” absolutely clueless when it comes to Qld. I think Labor can kiss Barron River goodbye but otherwise hold up very strongly north of Gladstone and nail Whitsunday while we’re at it (with the possible, but by no means certain, loss of Townsville – the one individual seat, as opposed to all three electorates). Disaster writ large for LNP in coastal Qld from Hervey Bay south – Bundaberg, Caloundra, Glass House, Pumicestone, Currumbin, Burleigh, Theodore all look tough for a weak and unpopular leader like Frecklington, and much as you’d like to think Chatsworth and Clayfield are in play, I doubt this time. For mine, shaping like a 53/47 result for AP with 56-60 seats

  3. Good poll result for Labor…. But the wild card are the voters who at the last state election gave their first preference to either Hanson’s or Palmer’s parties, but now they are not going to do so; and then the preferences list of those who will still vote for those parties but will they put the ALP ahead of the LNP or the other way around?

    The situation of all those voters is not very predictable, because populist parties can attract disgruntled voters from both traditional right and left.

  4. Clive I admire your optimism.

    But strength to the arm of every Labor booth volunteer and every Labor candidate tomorrow.

    Here’s hoping for a strong and stable majority Labor governent not mired by the chaos of the professional carpers of Katter, One Nation and the Greens Party.

  5. This is a bit risky for the ALP if the poll is right. I thought it would be 52.5/47.5 myself. I wouldn’t be taking $1.20 ALP that’s for sure.

  6. The news poll is wrong it’s our great LNP leading 52/48 and will win tomorrow…

    I will be watching the results come in with big swings to our great LNP

  7. I’m not sure Mark but given the tone of Jamie’s reporting, I suspect he’s putting – or at least his editors are putting – the most generous possible interpretation for the LNP on their data. I’m sure Kevin and William know far more about this than me but given available interstate and international evidence which appears to favour incumbency in a pandemic, and allowing for the margin for error, I suspect the 2PP figure in this poll is highly conservative and underestimates what will ultimately flow Labor’s way – especially given the other voter sentiments expressed in all known public polls and Frecklington’s widely conceded (even from her own party) inability to gain any sort of visibility or cut-through, unless it’s negative of course

  8. Firstly we all know polls can get it wrong and the LNP could still pull off a come from behind win. I think Wayne has this result confidently pencilled in. The thing about this poll is that the numbers for ALP and greens are identical to the previous newspoll yet the LNP has lost a point to be 36% with O.N up one. Yet the Newscorp pundits find an increase for the LNP? I’m no expert and would love to know WB or Mr Bonhams opinions but it does to a layman like me appear to be a generous interpretation of the numbers for the LNP. The unknown is how many ON voters will back Labor 2nd. It could be they will in larger numbers as most of them are from the older generation most in CV firing line. AP and Labor have run a good campaign on way less money than the LNP have been gifted by business friends,AP is very popular,CV response has been world class while Europe is shutting down again,LNP horse with Deb as jockey still carrying an effigy of chaotic Cando Newman in the saddle bags, LNP team looks very weak and the fact that LNP/ courier mail has had to resort to sledging Jackie Trad now out if the picture shows they don’t have much ammunition. Logically ALP should get to 50+ seats tonight but no pundit is predicting this so who knows. Worst case seems to be losing a swag of NQ seats and a couple of SEQ then LNP minority government. This just doesn’t feel correct though. During the federal election talking to non aligned work mates I knew Labor would struggle. This time all I hear is strong almost fanatical support for AP.

  9. So at the end of the day a fail by both the Labor party and the LNP. The Labor party as after near six years in government they are totally unable to gain a clear lead. A fail by the LNP because after near six years as opposition they are unable to make any gains.

    My prediction is a Labor government. LNP will move away from Springborg type leaders and get someone with ability. Palaszcuk will become unpopular and resign. The Labor party will come out and say they like Dick but the electorate will be sick of Labor by then and lose despite the Labor three word campaign slogan being “We need Dick”. Dick will hopefully stay on so we can have lots more smutty innuendo. 😀

  10. Should be a very interesting night. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of enthusiasm for either of the two establishment parties, which you would think would hinder the LNP more than Labor.

    Frecklington hasn’t really impressed anyone apart from the LNP base, but that has seen her win back some One Nation voters if this poll is to be believed. Not sure that she has cut through to the wider electorate though.

    As for the de facto opposition – the Greens – winning a seat off a high profile incumbent is never easy and I suspect the battle for South Brisbane will be a close contest whichever way it goes. Labor have been putting in a fair amount of effort to try and keep it. Apparently the LNP has been throwing a lot at Maiwar too in an attempt to try and win it back from us, so the left is facing challenges from the two parties of the establishment on multiple fronts.

    Lots of water to go under the bridge but if I had to pick now I’d say Qld is in for a power-sharing government of some kind. The question is which parties will form it?

  11. Love the disconnect here.

    “We can’t trust the polls, therefore Labor is going to lose.”
    “We can’t trust the polls, this shows that voters are rejecting the major parties.”
    etc etc

    Why not “We can’t trust the polls, Labor’s going to win this in a canter”?

    Just a thought.

    (I’m not a Queenslander, I’m not going to try and judge the mood….)

  12. Firefox

    You don’t seem to understand what the word ‘opposition’ means in a political context.

    It isn’t ‘blind opposition to whatever is put forward’ – it’s ‘the party most likely to take government from the present incumbent.”

    Greens fit one descriptor, but they don’t fit the correct one.

    The LNP, however, ticks both boxes.

  13. Zoomster, I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised but after May 2019 we’re all a little bit edgy, especially as it was Queensland wot dun it.

  14. “You don’t seem to understand what the word ‘opposition’ means in a political context.”


    You don’t seem to understand what de facto means.

    The LNP are the opposition de jure.

    The parties of the establishment do not provide meaningful opposition to one another, just tinkering around the edges.

  15. Warrigal

    Oh, I qualified the hell out of my statement!

    I’m just commenting on the number of posts which equate ‘the polls are wrong’ with ‘therefore Labor is losing’.

    If the polls are wrong, they can be wrong either way.

    As I said way back in 2019, the polls are the only ‘expert opinion’ we’ve got, and feelings in one’s bowels are merely that.

    Of course people who going by feelings in their bowels are going to get it right sometime, because probability.

  16. I know Zoomster. Appreciate the commentary and thoughts from everyone, we’re all whistling to each other as the chips fall at this stage, whatever we hope for.

  17. With regards to the “despite the fact they are running in nearly every seat this time but only ran in two thirds last time.” would that actually effect the polling?

    I think the voter would say they are voting for the ON person and then find out they are not running at the booth.

  18. To Warrigal, in 2019 I was talking to a workmate about Shorten and the federal election, he’s no Albert Einstein that’s for sure, but he is a good weather vane. He was hostile to Labor’s message for some reason maybe the electric car thing or some other issue or even that Shorten just didn’t connect to Qlders . I knew at this point the ALP would struggle. Believe it or not Rudd’s knifing did not go down well up here (it was almost taken as a slight on the whole state) and Shorten seemed to take on a shady vibe to Qld swinging voters for his perceived role in this. I had no such qualms about voting Labor but also thought despatching Rudd in those circumstances was stupid politics. For right or for wrong Julia and her Melbourne/ Adelaide,playing full forward for the Bulldogs, slightly disingenuous type vibe didn’t turn on Qlders.Shorten with a similar vibe did not cut through up here. The thing is AP and Qld Labor carry none of this baggage. Qlders also like to vote one way at state level and another way federally. The last thing is that really ambitious Libs realise the religious right dominates the state LNP and try and head for Canberra leaving the state LNP with some really poor definitely Labor’s in the box seat.

  19. Davidwh @ #1 Friday, October 30th, 2020 – 7:01 pm

    From previous thread.
    Warrigal thank you. We have had Labor governments here for most of the past 30 years and the sky hasn’t fallen in. Often political arguments in Australia are around the margins apart from a few key issues like climate change.

    I hold no fears of another four years of Labor and I expect my electorate to change from blue to red.

    Heaven’s waiting room voting red? Say it isn’t so!

  20. Prince Planet

    The last thing is that really ambitious Libs realise the religious right dominates the state LNP and try and head for Canberra leaving the state LNP with some really poor definitely Labor’s in the box seat.

    I’ve lived in Qld all my life (old enough to remember Joh for Canberra and the New Right stable at The Australian, in hindsight a harbinger), and this last observation is something to ponder.

  21. For whatever reason, ON has run dead this campaign. They have a substantial base, but PH has been unsighted (thankfully) and the strategy of a 2-sided HTV card (one side how-to-preference-LNP and the other how-to-preference-ALP) will tend to neutralise their preference flows. Minority parties are most effective when they go hard against one or other major party. Pauline Palmer has gone hard against Labor, but he lacks any sort of base. So, I think the polls are right and we’ll see a rise in both major parties’ primary votes. PH will be happy to bank another truck-load of ECQ money without even getting out of bed. Check out this from an ECQ link:

    …..The amount of funding available for any candidate is calculated by multiplying the number of first preference votes by the election funding amount, currently $3.14 per vote for registered political parties and $1.57 per vote for candidates…..

  22. WWP God will have to be patient. We islanders are swingers. Blue today red tomorrow. We seldom stay one colour for more than one or two terms.

    Who knows we may be Greenies one day.

  23. Former Murdoch journo Tony Koch calls it…

    ‘I will stick my head out re Qld Election and predict Annastasia will win comfortably. Labor have selected good candidates like Jonty Bush, and not a plethora of God-botherers. I am far from convinced that Jacki Trad will lose. Will be a great FU for Murdoch frauds. #auspol

  24. I wonder regarding Brisbane (and its huge city-wide council) – do people there want the Libs in power in local Govt, state and federally?
    Thats a lot of LNP!

  25. Politic@l Spinner..
    · 1h
    Just heard nearly everyone who subscribes to the courier mail have received a text message telling them.. its time for a change…. in the Queensland elections.. boy oh boy that rag has gone down the sewerage gutter. #qldpol

  26. I suspect Tony Koch is right. There doesn’t seem much mood for change, and the stark contrast in the satisfaction ratings between the two leaders may be the most telling thing in the polls (a-la 2019 federal).

    It would be unfortunate though for QLD to have another term of majority labor rule. I’m just hoping that the concerted smear efforts by Murdoch and Palmer will keep labor one or two seats from majority, and will be forced to govern with Greens support.

  27. To Greensborough Growler, I wonder if their recent cheap subscription drive was part of this strategy? get them in with stories about the woeful broncos and then try and get them to vote LNP. CM is a 170 yo paper that has turned into basically the LNP daily. I try to avert my eyes when I see a copy on a news stand as it is always sledging the ALP in an unreasonable and hysterical manner and it gets me down. Can’t wait to celebrate its demise.

  28. Did anyone else receive an SMS from the LNP recently that has a link in it to their local electorate? It seems the LNP know where I live. (I received mine this morning.)

  29. Good to see that the Queensland election is also about Palestine.
    Like cockroaches the middle east obsessives are always with us.

  30. Good on you Late Riser. I gave up even looking at its front pages around 2012 when it went really cockeyed. As a low level public servant, I was no longer prepared to pay money to read a paper that resented my very existence and strongly barracked for a hopeless government that extinguished many people I worked with’ jobs.

  31. A year ago or so, out of boredom and curiosity (while waiting for something or other) I checked in at a nearby library and sampled the newspapers that were available. For memory the bulk of the CM was sporty, gossipy, bloke/mum/youngster did something, sort of stuff. I suppose if that’s your interest in life, well that’s your choice. But the overt daily politics must leave a taint.

    WRT to this election though, I think a return to the Newman government and covid would be the main concerns for people. Folks like the QANTAS boss and NSW premier shouting at Palaszczuk would only harden her local support.

  32. From people on the ground in Qld, was there much evidence of a large early turnout in Qld today? From my past experience scrutineering angry voters wanting a change often came out first thing.

  33. Socrates:

    Seems pretty quiet at my booth compared to the last federal election. Steady flow of people, but never really enough to create any sort of line.

  34. It was busy at our booth in Nudgee Electorate this morning, but we have a storm brewing (literally, not figuratively) so I think people are out voting before it hits. I’m not feeling any baseball bats this time around. Seems very business as usual.

  35. The LNP has a twitter post up where Palaszckuk is shown reading notes during the debate and Frecklington is shown not reading notes.

    The headings over each is “Reader” vs “Leader”.

    Apparently reading is a Bad Thing.

  36. Asha, Michael

    Thanks. Doesn’t sound like a mood for change to me. I suppose normal patterns may be scrambled by the early voting options with Covid. Still, I wouldn’t start the shredding machines if I was in a Labor office.

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