The hole where Queensland Labor used to be

Suddenly Kristina Keneally’s performance doesn’t look so bad. What happened to Labor in Queensland on Saturday is without any precedent in Australian history – certainly not since the Second World War, prior to which the party system tended to be more fluid. Labor can be assured of only six seats, holds the lead in only seven, and on the best case scenario will win only eight, for a total of 9% of the Legislative Assembly’s 89 seats. That compares with the “cricket team” of 11 members that Queensland Labor famously managed to return in 1974, at what was previously the gold standard for Australian election massacres – and at that time the parliament only had 82 seats. As for Keneally, she managed to win 20 seats in a chamber of 93, albeit that she did so with 24.0% of the primary vote against a provisional 26.6% for Anna Bligh.

I don’t normally presume to tell the voting public its business, but this is an unhappy state of affairs. While it might be argued that a useful example has been set for future governments considering breaking election commitments, the result is an unmitigated disaster so far as the effective functioning of parliament is concerned. Lacking anything that could meaningfully be described as an opposition, its sessions will henceforth resemble those of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The problem is exacerbated by Queensland’s lack of an upper house, both as a venue for holding the government to account and for providing Labor with a second-eleven to fill out a shadow ministry. The precise dimensions of the problem can be detailed with reference to an online cheat sheet for British high school politics students, which tells us that parliament has five functions: legislature, representation, recruitment, scrutiny and legitimacy. I shall consider the first three in turn, while also shedding light on the last two along the way.

Continue reading “The hole where Queensland Labor used to be”

Photo finishes

Mackay (vs ALP) 10993 11199 -206
Yeerongpilly (vs ALP) 13416 12655 761
Bulimba (vs ALP) 10702 10806 -104
Maryborough (vs IND) 12028 11734 294
Thuringowa (vs KAP) 10189 9669 520

Tuesday (2pm). Pardon my recent laziness. The LNP now has Maryborough and Thuringowa in the bag: in the former case 1273 absents and 846 pre-polls have piled 178 votes on to their lead, which is now at 294 with only a late trickle still to come. The lead over the KAP in Thuringowa is out even further, from 320 to 520. However, Labor looks to be home in Mackay: with another 901 absents counted the LNP has only chipped 10 votes from Labor’s 216 vote lead. For some reason though, there has still been no progress in the two-party count in Bulimba. By my arithmetic though, Labor is in trouble: the LNP Leads by 980 on the primary vote with 2802 Greens preferences to be distributed, and if these continue to split as the booth votes did, they will land about 179 short.

Friday. The ECQ has unexpectedly come good with an indicative LNP-versus-KAP count from Thuringowa, and it confirms almost exactly the reported preference split referred to in yesterday’s entry, with the LNP leading by 320. Quite a few votes remain to be counted, but it will be very tough for the KAP to rein in a lead of that size. The other big news of the day is that a bundle of 50 votes has been identified as being in the wrong pile in Bulimba, which has cut Labor’s lead from 193 to 93. In Mackay, 282 absent votes and a some other miscellany has reduced the Labor lead from 235 to 216. In Maryborough, 432 votes have been added to the count, a mixture of postal and absent votes, and they have cut the LNP’s lead over independent Chris Foley from 162 to 116. The early trend of absent votes is encouraging for Foley, so this could go down to the wire.

Thursday. The ECQ’s Bulimba error from yesterday has been corrected: it turned out the Greens vote had been entered as the Labor vote in the relevant booth after rechecking. Otherwise no progress in the count there, which leaves 2662 primary votes still remaining to be added to the notional two-party count. I am not exactly sure whether these are booth votes, postals, pre-polls or some combination. If they’re postals, Labor should gain ground; otherwise they will tread water. In addition to this, there are absent votes of which we can expect as many as 3000. If the vote differential between booth and absent votes plays as it did in 2009, Labor should pick up at least 200 votes here. In Mackay, the first 895 absents have reduced Labor’s lead by all of one vote, to 235. Minor additions in Maryborough have increased the LNP lead by 11 votes to 193. The LNP continues to drive nails into Labor’s coffin in Yeerongpilly, where 687 absents and 199 postals have increased their lead from 440 to 470. Antony Green relates in comments that Labor’s scrutineers in Thuringowa say 70 per cent of Labor preferences are exhausting and the rest are splitting 75-25 between KAP and LNP. This would only give the KAP 1000 of the votes it needs to bridge a 1300-vote deficit against the LNP on the primary vote.

Wednesday. Something odd in Bulimba: with booth figures updated after rechecking, 691 votes have disappeared from the Labor primary vote count in the Morningside booth. This reduces the Labor vote there from normal to unbelievably low, so we can presume the original figure was not significantly erroneous. Labor has gained 37 votes there with the addition of 1696 postals and now leads by 195. In Maryborough, 565 postals have increased the LNP’s lead over independent Chris Foley from 158 to 195. In Mackay, 1002 postals have cut the Labor lead from 269 to 236. In Yeerongpilly, 494 postals have increased the LNP lead from 429 to 440. Only uneventful rechecking today in Thuringowa. Most of the absent votes – about 2000 in Maryborough and 2500 to 3000 in Mackay, Yeerongpilly and Bulimba – still remain to be counted; pre-polls should be done and postals will slow to a trickle, except perhaps in Maryborough where a few more look to be outstanding.

Tuesday. The LNP looks home and hosed in Yeerongpilly: its lead is out from 372 to 429 after the addition of 792 postals and 213 absents. Chris Foley has cut the LNP’s lead in Maryborough from 171 to 146 with the addition of 1162 pre-polls and 182 postals. There should be at least 1000 of the latter still to come, but the kicker for Foley is that there will also be about 2000 absent votes, and he did very poorly on these in 2009. The first 1010 postal votes in Thuringowa have been an eye-opener: compared with the polling booth results, they have come in 6.6% lower for the LNP, 4.1% higher for Labor and 3.5% higher for KAP. This has cut the LNP’s primary vote lead over KAP from 6.8% to 4.9%. Based on current numbers, when the preferences from Labor and other candidates are distributed, the KAP will need to outscore the LNP by 13.8% in the KAP-LNP-exhausted carve-up. Nothing today in Bulimba, and only rechecking in Mackay.

Monday 4pm. Von Kirsdarke in comments relates the notional LNP-versus-KAP count in Thuringowa has turned up a surprise with the KAP candidate 61 votes in front, but the ECQ site is not publishing the figures (UPDATE: But it turns out Antony’s results page is, and it now has the LNP 262 votes ahead) (UPDATE 2: Scratch that: those numbers are just based on Antony’s guesstimate of the likely preference flow. The ECQ is not conducting an indicative count, which means we’ll have no idea until the full preference count is conducted next week). I might expect though that the LNP will do better in late counting than on the polling booth figures, which are presumably what is being counted here. The Townsville Bulletin reports LNP figures are whingeing that the ECQ “stuffed up” by conducting the election night count on an LNP-versus-ALP basis, but they’ve no right to – any contrary decision would have been very odd indeed. In the three outstanding Labor-versus-LNP contests, the most recent counting has widened all existing leads: Labor has gained 26 votes with the addition of 489 postals in Mackay and 43 with the addition of 118 various votes in Bulimba, while the LNP has gained 52 with the addition of 675 votes of various kinds (mostly postals) in Yeerongpilly. In Maryborough, 613 various votes (mostly postals) have split almost perfectly evenly, with the LNP maintaining a lead of 613.

Sunday. This post will follow late counting in the still undecided seats in the Queensland election. I’m counting five, which leaves the LNP with 74 definite wins and Labor with six, with two independents and two for Katter’s Australian Party. The five still in play are Bulimba, where Labor led at the close of counting last night by 83 votes; Mackay, where Labor led by 239; Yeerongpilly, where the LNP led by 320; Maryborough, where the LNP led independent incumbent Chris Foley by 177; and the wild card of Thuringowa. The issue in Thuringowa is that Katter’s Australian Party candidate Steve Todeschini finished second (with 30.8 per cent) ahead of Labor incumbent Craig Wallace (27.2 per cent), with LNP candidate Sam Cox on 36.2 per cent. The indicative preference count on election night was conducted between the LNP and Labor candidates, so we do not know how Todeschini will fare after Labor preferences are distributed. The ECQ is currently conducting a LNP-versus-KAP count to answer the question for us. Wise heads who have crunched the numbers deem it very unlikely, but Bob Katter is bullish about his candidate’s chances on the basis that Labor’s how-to-vote cards directed preferences to him. However, that’s not what Labor’s registered how-to-vote card says. If Labor was indeed distributing different how-to-vote cards on the day, it has committed an offence with a $2000 fine attached. I gather we should get the results of the indicative count shortly, which may well put the result beyond doubt.

As was the case at federal level, electoral laws have been changed since the previous election to allow pre-poll votes to be admitted to the count on election night. That leaves two substantial categories of votes outstanding, together with curiosities like institution and electoral visit votes, along with rechecking which can occasionally show up bundles of 50 votes which were added to the wrong pile. Each electorate should produce as many as 2000 postal votes, of which it seems about a third are being added to the count today. These will continue to come in in diminishing numbers over the fortnight, and will be added to the count sporadically. There should be about 3000 absent votes, which past practice suggests should be admitted to the count later this week. Everything will be finalised by Friday week. Late counting traditionally favours the conservatives, but Labor would at least be hopeful of doing relatively well on postal votes as many would have been cast before things went seriously awry for them over the past 10 days or so of the campaign.

So far today, we have seen the addition of 792 postal votes which has increased Labor’s lead from 83 to 115. In Maryborough, 649 postal and other votes have been added, shaving the LNP margin from 177 to 170. Similar additions will presumably follow shortly in Mackay and Yeerongpilly.

NOTE: Can this thread be used exclusively for discussion of the count. For more general discussion of the election and its implications, please use the other threads.

Breakdown broken down

Very much obviously remains to be said about the Queensland state election result, and rest assured that it soon will be. In the meantime, here’s a table which breaks down the damage region by region.

Northern Brisbane 31.7% 51.9% 7.5% 6.9% 0 11 0 0
-16.1% 13.8% -1.0% -10 +10 0 0
Southern Brisbane 33.8% 49.4% 7.7% 5.0% 2 14 0 0
-18.5% 13.7% -0.6% -12 +12 0 0
Inner Brisbane 30.7% 52.5% 13.6% 2.6% 2 8 0 0
-9.5% 12.8% -1.7% -5 +5 0 0
Ipswich 33.6% 38.5% 5.4% 14.1% 1 2 0 0
-24.8% 8.2% -1.9% -2 +2 0 0
Gold Coast 23.4% 58.3% 6.6% 7.3% 0 10 0 0
-17.8% 12.7% -0.2% -4 +4 0 0
Sunshine Coast 16.1% 57.9% 11.3% 6.6% 0 5 1 0
-12.8% 8.6% 1.2% 0 0 0 0
Urban Hinterland 19.1% 51.0% 7.4% 18.7% 0 6 0 0
-14.0% 5.6% -0.4% -1 +2 -1 0
Central Coastal 25.3% 41.3% 4.2% 16.9% 2 8 1 0
-17.4% 2.4% -1.4% -2 +3 -1 0
Northern Coastal 26.4% 40.9% 5.1% 25.4% 1 7 0 0
-17.8% -1.1% -2.7% -5 +5 0 0
Interior 15.7% 50.7% 3.3% 26.9% 0 5 0 2
-10.8% -1.2% -0.2% -1 -1 0 +2
Top End 33.3% 37.7% 5.1% 21.8% 0 1 0 0
-13.5% -4.3% -1.2% -1 +1 0 0
TOTAL 26.8% 49.5% 7.4% 11.6% 8 77 2 2
-15.9% 8.4% -0.6% -43 +43 -2 +2

Queensland election live

9.25pm. ABC computer has Maryborough back to LNP gain, after lapsing to LNP ahead for a while there.

9.07pm. Though as Antony notes, what has saved Curtis Pitt in Mulgrave is the surge to Katter’s Australian Party in north Queensland, much of which has exhausted.

9.05pm. Labor members who distinguished themselves by suffering swings of less than 10 per cent: Di Farmer in Bulimba, who has her nose in front; Jason O’Brien, whose 4.5 per cent swing against was good but not good enough; Cameron Dick in Greenslopes, likewise good but not good enough; Curtis Pitt, who has had a big personal win in retaining Mulgrave against a swing of 6.6 per cent; Anna Bligh in South Brisbane, who has actually held South Brisbane quite comfortably; Mandy Johnstone in Townsville; and Simon Finn, who might yet hold in Yeerongpilly in the face of a 9 per cent swing, but is nonetheless behind.

9.04pm. Antony cautious about the LNP winning Maryborough.

8.49pm. ABC computer promotes Bulimba and Mulgrave from ALP ahead to ALP retain. Of the eight seats where they’re in front, there are now seven down as “ALP gain”, with only Mackay remaining as “ALP ahead”. Waterford has gone from “LNP ahead” to “LNP gain”. By this reckoning, Labor’s absolute best case scenario is now nine seats.

8.39pm. ABC computer has dialled Maryborough back from LNP gain to LNP ahead.

8.25pm. The KAP may yet have an outside hope in Thuringowa if Labor preferences favour them strongly. The primary votes are 36.0 per cent for the LNP, 30.6 per cent for the KAP and 27.4 per cent for labor. Antony Green appears not to think so though. Bob Katter sounding bullish, for what it’s worth.

8.18pm. Sorry, got confused there – it has stayed on eight. Mulgrave now up from ALP ahead to ALP retain.

8.12pm. ABC now down to seven seats with Labor ahead: retaining Bundamba, Inala, Rockhampton, South Brisbane and Woodridge, ahead in Bulimba, Mackay and Mulgrave. LNP ahead in Waterford and Yeerongpilly. Everything else compared for the LNP, except Mount Isa and Dalrympe for Katter’s Australian Party, Nicklin and Gladstone retained by independents.

8.10pm. ABC computer now calling independent Chris Foley’s seat of Maryborough for the LNP.

7.56pm. ABC computer now has Labor ahead in only eight seats.

7.45pm. As noted by Antony, the KAP has not made huge gains out of coal seam gas in the Darling Downs: its strength remains very much off the back of Katter in the north.

7.44pm. Antony Green not buying Seeney’s line that Peter Wellington is in trouble in Nicklin.

7.42pm. ABC calling Ipswich West for LNP.

7.41pm. ABC calling South Brisbane for Anna Bligh.

7.31pm. Of the four independents, only Liz Cunningham in Gladstone is safe. Close contest in Maryborough between independent incumbent Chris Foley and LNP challenger Anne Maddern. Dissonance between the ABC computer (IND retain) and what Jeff Seeney says (LNP looking good) with Peter Wellington’s seat of Nicklin. LNP easily recovers Burnett, where Rob Messenger quit the party mid-term. Pretty clear I think that the KAP will win Mount Isa and Dalrymple, but no more.

7.30pm. The ABC website’s predictions columns has swung into action. Bundamba, Inala, Rockhampton and Woodridge, and is ahead in Bulimba, Mackay, Mulgrave, Nudgee and South Brisbane. They could conceivably win Logan, Mundingburra, Springwood and Waterford, but there are too few figures in from them. They are behind in Cook, Lytton, Townsville and Yeerongpilly, but not gone yet.

7.28pm. Jeff Seeney sounding confident about Nicklin, but the ABC computer is calling it for Peter Wellington.

7.24pm. With a quarter of the vote counted, the ABC computer has Anna Bligh edging back ahead in South Brisbane. But clearly Andrew Fraser and Cameron Dick are gone.

7.16pm. ABC’s two-party preferred projection is about 64-36, so the exit polls are looking good.

7.15pm. ABC computer projection, when bold calls are made where one or other party is merely “ahead”, now has Labor down to 10 from 14 earlier.

7.14pm. ABC computer graphic says three seats for KAP, but I can’t see anything beyond Mount Isa and Dalrymple.

7.13pm. Carl Rackemann (KAP) appears to be falling well short in Nanango; LNP’s Deb Frecklington to win comfortably.

7.07pm. Spare a thought for Peter Beattie’s old seat of Brisbane Central: he held it by 25 per cent after the 2001 election, ABC computer now calling it for LNP (results on site lagging behind what we’re getting on television).

7.06pm. Oh yeah, Ashgrove. ABC computer has Campbell Newman romping home by 9 per cent.

7.05pm. Peter Wellington firming up in Nicklin.

7.02pm. Antony’s casualty list: Everton, Broadwater, Cook, Barron River, Townsville North, Whitsunday, Southport, Townsville, Cairns, Mansfield, Kallangur, Pine Rivers, Mount Ommaney, Burleigh, Pumicestone, Mount Coot-tha, Redcliffe, Brisbane Central, Albert, Mundingburra, Greenslopes, Ashgrove, Murrumba, Stafford, Thuringowa, Algester, Stretton, Sunnybank, Lytton.

6.54pm. Courtesy of Psephos in comments, Labor expects to lose Capalaba, which you would expect given the overall swing: the margin is 9.7 per cent.

6.52pm. Peter Wellington with a slight primary vote lead in Nicklin, but booth-matching shows a huge and decisive swing to the LNP. Probably want more figures though.

6.51pm. Anna Bligh trailing on the primary vote in South Brisbane, and slightly behind on the primary vote. But Greens preferences might save her.

6.49pm. Antony cites a swing of 13 per cent, placing the result nearer Newspoll than the exit polls which had it slightly higher. However, it may yet change. The LNP has recovered Beaudesert, where its member Aidan McLindon had defected to the KAP, which was not unexpected.

6.47pm. Nothing appearing in the “predictions” column on the ABC results page, which is bothersome because it’s the best way to follow the action when seats are falling by the bucketload.

6.42pm. As Antony notes, early results hard to read exactly because of small rural booth results: assumptions are being made about Katter’s Australian Party preferences, which constitute a considerable share of the vote. However, the ABC computer is already set to tick over to a majority for the LNP. More than 20 seats have fallen, and it’s happening too quickly for me to keep up.

6.32pm. ABC computer already calling 22 seats for the LNP and one for Labor.

6.30pm. Jeff Seeney claims Katter’s Australian Party vote well short of what they would need on small booths.

6.26pm. Two small booths in from Dalrymple: very early days of course, but encouraging for KAP incumbent Shane Knuth on 50.0 per cent.

5.19pm. Sky’s exit poll shows a 15.3 per cent swing. They appear to have done the right thing this time and told us what the swing was, rather than publishing a bewildering two-party preferred figure without telling us what seats were polled, as they have done in the past. These were the five most marginal seats: Chatsworth and Everton in Brisbane, Broadwater on the Gold Coast, Cook on the Cape York Peninsula and Barron River in Cairns.

5.10pm. Peter Black at Essential Research relates on Twitter that a Galaxy exit poll conducted for Channel Nine has the LNP’s two-party lead at 63-37.

4.40pm. Closure of polls still over an hour away, but Sky News has published its first exit poll results, only providing material on the most important factor in determining vote choice. As usual, these are hard to read, because they apparently target only the five most marginal seats. If this is to be taken literally, they have chosen seats which are pretty meaningless in the context of this election: all will be easily won by the LNP. For what it’s worth, they have the cost of living at 69 per cent, delivery of state servies at 63 per cent, carbon tax at 44 per cent, mining tax at 35 per cent and Campbell Newman’s business dealings at 17 per cent. I presume respondents were asked in turn whether each of these issues were important to them.

Newspoll: 60.8-39.2 to LNP in Queensland

GhostWhoVotes reports the final Newspoll of the campaign has the LNP’s two-party preferred lead at a towering 60.8-39.2 (the decimal place being a feature of Newspoll’s final pre-election polls, for which they usually up the sample to about 1800), in line with the general impression elsewhere. The primary votes are 50 per cent for the LNP and 28 per cent for Labor. The results from the Newspoll at the start of the campaign were 47 per cent and 30 per cent, for 58-42 on two-party preferred. The poll also echoes last weekend’s Galaxy poll, as it does in all other respects, in showing Katter’s Australian Party has succeeded in its campaign period awareness-raising efforts: they are up five points to 9 per cent. The Greens are doing correspondingly poorly, down three points to 6 per cent, which compares with 8.4 per cent at the 2009 election. Also in common with Galaxy, Anna Bligh’s personal ratings have slumped, her approval down four to 36 per cent and her disapproval up seven to 51 per cent. Newman is respectively up two to 47 per cent and up three 40 per cent, and his lead as preferred premier has blown out from 50-41 to 58-36.

UPDATE: Full results here. Brisbane and rest-of-Queensland breakdowns are provided which, terrifyingly for Labor, show the carnage to be concentrated in the city where most of the damage awaits to be done: a swing of as much as 15 per cent (which is exactly Anna Bligh’s margin in South Brisbane), compared with about 8.5 per cent elsewhere.

Late news:

Dennis Atkins in the Courier-Mail on the pressure the LNP was under mid-campaign:

Newman had been resisting internal urging to tackle the pecuniary interest issues for months, despite Labor having started their campaign against him seven months before the election. Now the party – with the steely James McGrath in the campaign director’s chair – and its leader had hit prime time, the stakes were so much greater, particularly because the target audience for Labor’s campaign was the voters of Ashgrove. After some intense internal discussion, Newman was convinced to announce on the second last Sunday that he and his wife would divest or blind trust their interests and, for good measure, declare he wasn’t a crook. There was another, until now, undisclosed tell-tale sign that the Labor campaign was biting. In the week before Newman made his bold announcement, the LNP team cut a high-risk ad. It was Lisa Newman, to camera, declaring her husband was a good man and saying these attacks were not just wrong but deeply hurtful to her family. It never saw the light of day but the fact it was made shows just how much pressure the Newman campaign in Ashgrove was under.

But then:

By the time Labor was getting traction on all this, two events derailed the whole thing. First, Bligh stood up in Caboolture and said she had no “material” to back the claims made against Newman. This was the “I got nothing” moment and sent the parties’ lines in their polling analysis bonkers. It was all going the wrong way for Bligh and the just-on-time right way for Newman. Two days later, the CMC offered the coup de grace, giving Newman an effective clearance and leaving Bligh high and dry … The timing of the CMC’s announcement – late on a Friday – left Labor tactically stranded. They couldn’t turn around their advertising buy for the weekend which meant the heavy negative spots on Newman kept running and the positive Bligh-to-camera burst didn’t get up until the last three broadcast days of the last week. When the ad ban came in at the end of Wednesday, Labor was left without what little paid media support they had and the small drag they had on the swing evaporated.

Jamie Walker and Sarah Elks of The Australian report an LNP source says Katter’s Australian Party has “no chance” of winning any seats other than Mount Isa and Dalrymple.

• The Morning Bulletin newspaper has conducted its own poll of 330 respondents in its home seat of Rockhampton, probably with no great expertise, but with primary vote figures of 38 per cent for Labor candidate Bill Byrne, 37 per cent Gavin Finch of the LNP and 10 per cent for Shane Guley of Katter’s Australian Party. Retiring Labor member Rob Schwarten won the seat in 2009 with a two-party margin of 17.9 per cent.

• Bundaberg’s NewsMail has conducted an even more doubtful exercise involving 100 respondents in Burnett: 40 in Childers, 30 in Bargara and 30 in North Bundaberg. They found 42 supporters for LNP candidate Stephen Bennett, 23 for Labor’s Stuart Tomlinson and just 16 for incumbent Rob Messenger, who probably didn’t make the wisest career move when he quit mid-term to become an independent and declined to throw his lot in with Katter’s Australian Party.

• In a regular campaign feature where the Courier-Mail’s chief writers offer their verdict on the state of the campaign, Dennis Atkins goes nuclear: “The LNP will have the biggest majority in Queensland history – somewhere between 70 and 80 seats – I think nearer the latter. Labor will be reduced to 7 to 15 seats, closer to the former.” Madonna King tips “15 seats or less” for Labor. Koren Helbig and Sarah Vogler are more conservative, respectively tipping the LNP to win “as many as 70 seats” and Labor to to win fewer than 20. Steven Wardill likewise goes for a relatively modest “LNP 63, Labor 20, Independents 4, Katter’s Australian Party 2”. The general consensus is that Katter’s Australian Party should win Mount Isa and Dalrymple, but no more (Nanango is generally rated the third most likely prospect). Nobody is tipping any of the three sitting independents to lose, but I think the $2.50 on the LNP to unseat Peter Wellington in Nicklin is worth a flutter (albeit that it came down from $3 overnight). As for my own tip the other day that Labor would win 19 seats, I would like everyone to know that I wrote on Twitter shortly after: “Suspect I’m being slightly kind to ALP.”

Galaxy: 55-45 to LNP in Ashgrove

Just as Galaxy arrived a week ago to support ReachTEL’s contention that Kate Jones had hit the lead in Ashgrove, so it has emerged on the eve of polling day to confirm that Campbell Newman has surged ahead. Whereas last week’s Galaxy poll had the two locked together on 45 per cent of the primary vote, the latest survey of 800 voters conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday evening gives Newman a resounding lead of 52 per cent to 38 per cent, with Jones’s 51.5-48.5 two-candidate lead transformed into a 55-45 lead for Newman. Of the series of further questions asked by Galaxy, the most telling result is that Labor’s accusations against Newman of involvement in “dodgy deals” has 21 per cent professing themselves more likely to vote for Newman, compared with 11 per cent a week ago, with only 12 per cent saying less likely, down from 19 per cent. This is consistent with a perception that Anna Bligh was badly damaged a week ago when she conceded Labor was unable to pursue its allegations through the Crime and Misconduct Commission because it didn’t have “enough material”.

The emphasis on Ashgrove – Peter Brent at Mumble calculates the average household in the electorate would have been called by pollsters at least three times in the past six months, and a 7.30 Report vox pop respondent claimed to have been polled that many times in the past week – has resulted in a relative paucity of state-level polling. With Newspoll’s final effort still to come, all we have to go on for now is a meagre effort from Roy Morgan: a phone poll of just 202 respondents. For what it’s worth, this has the LNP leading on the primary vote 51 per cent to 28 per cent, or 62-38 on two-party preferred. Personal ratings from the poll are also available at the link, and they’re in line with the results of last week’s statewide Galaxy poll.

Meanwhile, Sportsbet has repeated its gimmick from before the NSW state election of paying out for an LNP win without waiting for the election to be held.

ReachTEL: 54.2-45.8 to LNP in Ashgrove

UPDATE: The Courier-Mail reports Galaxy’s poll of 800 respondents has Campbell Newman with a clear primary vote lead of 52 per cent to 45 per cent.

UPDATE 2: A Morgan phone poll of a grand total of 202 respondents, conducted last night and the night before, has the LNP leading 51 per cent to 28 per cent on the primary vote and 62-38 on two-party preferred, but such is the sample size that I don’t know why they bothered. Follow the link for personal ratings for the two leaders, if you’re really that interested.

The results of ReachTEL’s final automated phone poll of Ashgrove for the campaign, conducted last night from a sample of 931, have just been announced on Spencer Howson’s program on the ABC. It overturns last week’s result in favour of Labor’s Kate Jones and has Campbell Newman with a 54.2.-45.8 lead on two-party preferred, based on the preference distribution from the 2009 election. The primary votes were 49.0 per cent for the LNP, 40.8 per cent for Labor and 7.5 per cent for the Greens. Full details here. Galaxy was also in the field in Ashgrove last night and will presumably report this evening.

Other news:

Nanango (Independent 2.9% versus LNP): The outgoing independent member, Dorothy Pratt, has endorsed independent candidate John Dalton, described by Antony Green’s election guide as “spokesman and secretary for the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group (KCCG) and Assistant School Principal at the St Mary’s Catholic College in Kingaroy, where he has worked for 22 years”. Sarah Elks of The Australian reports the LNP is expressing confidence that its candidate Deb Frecklington will win the seat in the face of the challenge from former test cricketer Carl Rackemann, running for Katter’s Australian Party. Bob Katter is sounding somewhat more modest about his party’s chances than he was in the lead-up to the campaign, countenancing the possibility of it failing to win any seats. Katter says the legal challenge against ballot papers identifying the party merely as “The Australian Party” cost it “one-fifth to one-seventh of all of our money for fighting”, although it presumably went into that obviously doomed effort with its eyes open.

Ashgrove (Labor 7.1%): The Australian reports Labor is accusing the LNP of colluding with sand mining firm Sibelco in a campaign targeting Ashgrove residents over government moves to phase out its operations on North Stradbroke Island. Labor is querying how Sibelco has been able to obtain voters’ names and addresses, which appears to suggest access to a copy of the electoral roll – something which is only provided to candidates, parties, MPs and government authorities.

Nicklin (Independent 16.3% versus LNP): Katter’s Australian Party candidate Matthew Smith has claimed the local LNP branch manager approached him with an offer to print his how-to-vote cards if he directed preferences to his party’s candidate, former Wallabies coach John Connolly. Owen Jacques of the Sunshine Coast Daily also reports that independent member Peter Wellington has accused a local political opponent, Kathy Marshall, of seeking to discredit him with a concocted letter from Neil Turner, whom Wellington unseated as National Party member for the seat in 1998. The letter accuses Wellington of failing to report to parliament on a government-funded trip to North America in 1999, and was said to have been provided to Marshall three days before Turner’s death on July 4 last year. Marshall has signed a statutory declaration vouching for the letter’s authenticity.

Coomera (LNP 1.9%): Greg Stoltz of the Courier-Mail reports that residents near the property of LNP member Michael Crandon are “furious” at his move to lease part of his Kingsholme property to Telstra to erect a mobile phone tower, which “will earn him hundreds of thousands of dollars”. The property is located in the neighbouring electorate of Albert. This has evidently been in the works for over three years, but the tower is due to be erected within weeks, and residents are seeking to express their ire by whipping up controversy days out from the election.

Queensland election minus three days

Couple more things:

• Probably should have checked the ReachTEL site when discussing the Courier-Mail’s reporting on polling done for Katter’s Australian Party over the past few days. The full results for Hinchinbrook and Beaudesert are available there (external party polling, I guess you could call it). They show the KAP’s Jeff Knuth (once a One Nation MP, and whose brother Shane is the KAP’s member for Dalrymple) doing well but not quite well enough in Hinchinbrook, and a tight race between KAP incumbent Aidan McLindon and LNP challenger Jon Krause in Beaudesert. However, results are not provided for the Mount Isa poll referred to yesterday.

• Heavy storm damage has given Anna Bligh an opportunity to play to her strengths in Townsville, where Labor is at risk of losing Townsville, Thuringowa and Mundingburra. This also coincides nicely with Bligh’s “blitz” of visiting 50 electorates in five days, reprising a tactic which appeared to work remarkably well for her at the last election.

• My guess as to the result. I’m tipping Labor to lose everything on a margin of up to 8.5 per cent, though no doubt the swing will not be quite as clean as that and I’ll be wrong on a fair few seats either side. I’m giving Labor the benefit of the doubt in Thuringowa (8.5 per cent) because of the Townsville storms and Mulgrave (8.1 per cent) because Curtis Pitt is due for a sophomore surge. No rabbit out of the hat for Kate Jones in Ashgrove. I’ve been blowing hot and cold over Katter’s Australia Party, but their 8 per cent showing in Galaxy has switched me to hot: One Nation managed three seats on similar numbers in 2001. I’ve never been in much doubt that Shane Knuth would win Dalrymple, and I’m giving them Mount Isa and Nanango as well. Nobody’s discussed the three sitting independents much that I’ve seen, but I suspect Chris Foley and Peter Wellington might be in trouble in Maryborough and Nicklin. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt though. Totals: LNP 64, Labor 19, KAP 3, Independents 3.