Queensland: Newspoll, state by-elections and Brisbane City Council

Two polls suggest Queensland Labor faces a grim night tomorrow as it defends two seats at state by-elections and attempts to break the conservatives’ two-decade grip on city hall.

Queensland politics has something of a super Saturday on offer tomorrow with local government elections together with two state by-elections. The former encompasses elections for the lord mayoralty and the 26 wards that constitute Brisbane City Council, Australia’s largest, most powerful and biggest-budget municipality, and also the one whose elections are most sharply defined by conventional partisanship. For all these reasons, it is the only local government in which this site takes much of an interest. I am currently frantically at work getting my live results system in order for both the by-elections and the Brisbane City Council election, the latter of which in particular is a major undertaking comparable to a state election.

Two new items of opinion polling offer a pointer as to what might be expected, both providing very good news for the Liberal National Party:

Newspoll finds the state LNP with a lead of 54-46, pointing to a 7% swing off the 2020 result, which is a fair bit worse for Labor than any of the polling that helped usher Annastacia Palaszczuk out the door. The primary votes are Labor 30% (39.6% at the 2020 election), LNP 42% (35.9%), Greens 13% (9.5%) and One Nation 8% (7.1%). David Crisafulli achieves an uncommon feat for an Opposition Leader in leading the incumbent as preferred premier, by 43-37. Premier Steven Miles records 38% approval and 49% disapproval, while Crisafulli is respectively on 47% and 33%. The poll was conducted last Thursday through to Wednesday from a sample of 1037.

• DemosAU has a voting intention poll for tomorrow’s Brisbane City Council election which suggests the LNP will match its 2020 landslide, with the incumbent Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner leading Labor challenger Tracey Price by 57.7-42.3 on two-candidate preferred (56.3-43.7 at the 2020 election) from primary votes of 46.7% for Schrinner (47.7% in 2020), 25.8% for Price (30.9% for Labor’s candidate in 2020) and 21.6% for Greens candidate Jonathan Sriranganathan (15.4% for the Greens candidate in 2020). Voting intention for the 26 council wards, all but four of which will have only LNP, Labor and Greens candidates (the four exceptions each have one independent) has the LNP on 43.7% (47.5% in 2020), Labor on 31.3% (33.8%) and the Greens on 25.0% (18.7%). The poll was conducted Friday to Thursday from a sample of 1034.

Sarah Elks of The Australian reported last week the “grassroots doorknocking data collection method pioneered by now-federal Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather”, which is claimed to have given the party an accurate insight into their looming three-seat haul in Queensland ahead of the federal election, is pointing to a swag of new ward seats, all from the LNP. Paddington and Walter Taylor are “tipped as gains”, and the party is thought “close to taking Coorparoo, Central and Enoggera”, in addition to its existing seat of The Gabba. Labor is reportedly hopeful of adding only Calamvale and Northgate to its existing five seats out of 26, raising the possibility of the Greens overtaking it as the party of opposition.

Also tomorrow are state by-elections for two Labor-held seats in the west of metropolitan Brisbane: Inala, which is being vacated by Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Ipswich West, which Jim Madden is vacating for a run at Ipswich City Council. While Labor’s 28.2% margin in the former seems unassailable, Labor appears at least nervous that little of the 14.3% margin in Ipswich West will remain after tomorrow, with Steven Miles telling journalists this week that his party faces a “double-digit swing”.

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.

57 comments on “Queensland: Newspoll, state by-elections and Brisbane City Council”

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  1. Some interesting insights. Both ALP and LNP have had some pretty low quality campaigns this year, ramping up the hate campaigns for the greens at a petty attempt to keep ALP as opposition.

    Sri has been voted in twice already having previously resigned from his councillor position which I think gives him better odds than your average Green candidate. Given the Federal seat of Brisbane went from blue to green, I wouldn’t rule this out as a possibility for local.

    I also want to add that my contacts with the AEC have noted more interest than previous elections, so I’m confident we will see a higher percentage of voters, which could also mean a very unpredictable result, especially if these voters would otherwise never vote. Looking forward to watching the results play out live, if anyone knows of any election parties in Brisbane let me know

  2. I don’t ascribe to the ” time for a change” meme anymore. Sure there’s been (supposed) good examples such as Labor losing power in SA after 15 odd years and the Bligh government here in Qld, but, in both cases Labor was returned in the following election.
    I tend to think that the average voter thinks more about how he or she is going economically or financially, and even so, those factors are probably more Federal influencers than State ones. In the urban areas of this State, particularly, progressive voters are most likely to vote Green or Labor than respond to the LNPs ” its time” mantra. Those last- time Labor voters who switch to the LNP were swinging voters in the first place.
    Also, I point out that the LNP BCC has been in office for longer than the Qld Labor government. If there was an “its time” vote, then surely the LNP would be concerned this election- but, it seems, they’re more concerned with The Greens winning Wards than Labor getting up.
    Come the State election, you can be sure Labor will remind the electorate of Crisafullis’ links to the sacked Newman government and reminders about basic LNP policies, especially towards public servants and the inevitable cost- cutting policies of conservative governments. A burning question to be asked of Crisafulli is ” will you change the previous government’s coal royalty measures” ? To do so will go down well in regional areas, but urban areas are less likely to vote for a government that would do so.
    Today’s two by- elections will be interesting, but anything short of a 5% or more swing in either would be consigned to the usual by- election anti- government swing. No Green candidates should reinforce the progressive vote in both- but we will see.
    The LNP needs to win urban seats to take government in Qld. An average swing will not fill them with confidence.
    One last comment , and it’s purely personal- can the LNP sway even mildly progressive voters to vote for a Party that is socially, politically and environmentally reactionary?
    Labor and Green voters are pretty pissed- off with aspects of Labors support for new coal mines, land-clearing record and possibly crime issues, but do they believe that the LNP can solve crime issues and be an improvement on Labor in the other two issues? IMHO, the LNP have to pull- off a major victory, not just a sneak- over – the victory.
    PS. And will The Katter Party support an LNP minority government if it comes to that?

  3. All quiet in Tennyson – Nicole, Liberal and Labor volunteers. Lots of voters at lunch time.

    I didn’t notice any Greens but it’s really hard to imagine this ward would dump Nicole.

  4. I don’t ascribe to the ” time for a change” meme anymore. Sure there’s been (supposed) good examples such as Labor losing power in SA after 15 odd years and the Bligh government here in Qld, but, in both cases Labor was returned in the following election.


    Yes Labor returned to government the next election in QLD, but you say that casually. Frankly Annastacia Palaszczuk becoming premier was a fluke. She should of been first opposition leader off the rank that soaked up a loss or two and then was replaced. She only started out with a team of 7 MP’s. Basically, you only get one Campbell Newman and Palazzczuk struck gold. I even heard on the grapevine that when Labor were planning to get Cameron Dick back in parliament. Dick didn’t want to be opposition leader straight away, because he thought being leader with a paltry amount of MP’s in parliament was a poison chalice.

  5. Remember last Council – and state – elections were Covid era. Especially Council, when booth voting plummeted. (Not sure how Bilbo’s computer can correct for any skew in for that). In both cases incumbents were rewarded heavily.

    So the failure of the Labor vote to recover in BCC is indicative. Of both the hurdle of long ‘opposition’ status at a level of government that is service-oriented and where hardworking local members enjoy premiums. And of a real softness in Labor vote, presumably related to State Labor government in decline. The outer Brisbane n Ipswich swings in by elections confirm that. That really is bad news for Labor, as Brisbane delivered the bacon for them and if today’s LNP seems neither too right wing nor too regionally parochial it is likely to win at general election. Regardless of the big surplus vote buying budget to come this year.
    The continuing drift of left votes to Greens, and some Teal effect in well to do inner wards, is clear too. Jonno Srinaganathan’s profile seems to have been a magnet and a coat-tail, although you’d not call any new gains for Greens at ward level without seeing absentees (favourable?) and postals (not favourable?)

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