I had a piece yesterday on Campbell Newman’s break with the Liberal National Party and plans to run for the Senate in Crikey, which I believe has its paywall down for a limited time only. The upshot is that Newman’s anti-lockdown message may struggle to gain traction in a state that hasn’t had many of them; that he is unlikely to benefit the conservative cause even if he wins; and that his presence on the ballot paper could even contribute to a seat currently held by the Liberal National Party (specifically Amanda Stoker) or Pauline Hanson instead going to Labor or the Greens.
The article includes a reference to a poll conducted by Ipsos in June from a sample of 500 Queensland respondents for conservative podcast host Damian Coory, who published approval ratings for state political figures among its small sample of 173 LNP voters. Newman was credited with an approval rating of nearly 60%, substantially higher than any of his four successors as party leader, which may have encouraged him in his present course. Newman has also maintained high name recognition, with only around 20% of respondents uncommitted, compared with around 40% for Lawrence Springborg and Deb Frecklington and 60% for David Crisafulli, who replaced Frecklington after the election defeat in October.
Rightly or wrongly, some media accounts have tied Newman’s abandonment of the LNP to a crisis in the party that was laid bare by Saturday’s Stretton by-election, which delivered it an unimpressive swing of 1.6%. My live results display for the by-election continues to be updated here, if on a somewhat irregular basis. The Electoral Commission of Queensland helpfully publishes preference flows by candidate, which may be of some interest: these show that preferences of the Informed Medical Options Party broke 60-40 to the LNP, while the Greens went 82-18 to Labor and Animal Justice went 56-44.
Elsewhere, Antony Green offers his estimated new margins for the finalised federal redistribution of Victoria.