Newspoll: 52-48 to Labor in Queensland

A second poll in a week suggesting Labor has its nose slightly in front ahead of a Queensland state election now a fortnight away.

A week after YouGov’s 52-48 result for the Courier-Mail, the same pollster – this time under the Newspoll brand – has produced the same result for The Australian. The headline two-party result is all we have go on for now, as related in an analysis piece by Jamie Walker. Full results will assuredly follow later this evening, and will be related here when that happens.

UPDATE: The primary votes are also remarkably similar to the YouGov poll, with both showing Labor and the LNP at 37% apiece and One Nation at 9%, and the only difference being the Greens’ 11% in the Newspoll and 12% in the YouGov. Annastacia Palaszczuk is on 63% approval and 33% disapproval, while Deb Frecklington is struggling with 37% approval and 44% disapproval, and Palaszczuk leads 56-32 as preferred premier. Palaszczuk and Scott Morrison record identical ratings for their handling of coronavirus, at 76% well and 22% badly. The poll was conducted Friday to Wednesday from a sample of 1001.

Queensland election minus 16 days

Vaguely optimistic noises from Labor over party polling in two key seats, and a look at some of the names to emerge from the declaration of candidates.

Following Sunday’s closure of nominations and ballot paper draws, I have given my Queensland election guide a good once-over, adding full lists of candidates and expanded biographical detail.

Campaign developments of note:

The Australian reported yesterday that Labor was “increasingly confident” Jackie Trad would hold out in South Brisbane, with “several Labor insiders” saying Greens support was weakening. Also in South Brisbane, Greens candidate Amy MacMahon is standing by a young party volunteer after a media beat-up and opportunistic Labor attacks over a harmless pop culture meme she posted on Twitter.

• The Courier-Mail reported last Friday that Labor internal polling conducted in late September showed the party was “holding on to its slim 1.1 per cent margin” in the Townsville seat of Mundingburra, albeit that any such finding would have placed an LNP win within the poll’s margin of error. The seat is being vacated with the retirement of two-term member Coralee O’Rourke.

• Among the late nominees is Andrew Bartlett, who will run for the Greens against former LNP leader Tim Nicholls in Clayfield. Bartlett was an Australian Democrats Senator from 1997 to 2008, including a stint as leader from 2002 to 2004, and briefly a Greens Senator from November 2017 to August 2018, when he replaced Larissa Waters after her resignation on Section 44 grounds. This follows the disendorsement of the Greens’ original candidate, John Meyer, over alleged threatening behaviour towards women. Meyer is now seeking to upset his former party’s applecart in South Brisbane by running as an independent, claiming his dumping had been retribution for efforts to blow the whistle on financial impropriety within the party.

• Candidates in the marginal LNP seat of Currumbin on the Gold Coast include independent Richard Stuckey, husband of Jann Stuckey, who held the seat for the LNP until her resignation in January. The candidate of the party that will appear on ballot papers as “Clive Palmer’s UAP” is the boss’s wife, Anna Palmer. Sarah Elks of The Australian reports one third of the party’s 55 candidates are either employees or relatives of Palmer, and that their combined $13,750 nomination fees were paid for on the credit card of his company Mineralogy.

YouGov: 52-48 to Labor in Queensland

Shortly ahead of the official start of the campaign for the October 31 election, an encouraging poll for Labor suggesting a decline in One Nation support is yielding an insufficient dividend for the LNP.

After a period in which we have only had sketchy reporting of sometimes dubious private polling, the Courier-Mail offers the first statewide poll of Queensland voting intention in two months, courtesy of YouGov (and while I’m on the subject, please note my recently published Queensland election guide, to which you will find a permanent link on the sidebar).

The result is somewhat at odds with some of the media narratives in showing Labor with a 52-48 lead, reversing the result of the last such poll in early June. Both major parties are on 37% of the primary vote, which is up five in Labor’s case and down one in the LNP’s, while the Greens are steady on 12%, One Nation is down three to 9% and Katter’s Australian Party is down one to 2%. The most recent state poll was a Newspoll in late July, conducted by YouGov but published by The Australian rather than a News Corp tabloid, which had the LNP ahead 51-49 from primary votes of Labor 34%, LNP 38%, Greens 12% and One Nation 11%.

Breakdowns are provided for Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine coasts combined, and regional Queensland:

• Labor leads 57-43 in Brisbane, a 1% swing to the LNP compared with the 2017 election, suggesting Labor may struggle to retain Aspley (1.2%) and Mansfield (1.6%). The primary votes are Labor 42% (43% in 2017), LNP 34% (31%), Greens 16% (13%) and One Nation 6% (9%).

• The LNP leads 54-46 on the coasts, a 3% swing to Labor, enough to net Labor Bonney (1.7%) on the Gold Coast and put the LNP under pressure in Currumbin on the Gold Coast (3.3%) and Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast (3.4%), and perhaps also Pumicestone (0.8%) which straddles the Sunshine Coast and outer metropolitan Brisbane. The primary votes of Labor 33% (27%), the LNP 46% (43%), Greens 12% (11%) and One Nation 7% (12%).

• The LNP leads 53-47 in the regions, a 1% swing in their favour – and while regional results are prone to be variable, this would bring Labor-held Mundingburra (1.1%) in Townsville down to the wire if uniform. The primary votes are Labor 32% (30%), LNP 35% (31%), Greens 7% (5%), One Nation 14% (21%) and Katter’s Australian Party 7% (8%).

On leaders’ ratings, Annastacia Palaszczuk is at 57% approval (up eight from the last YouGov, but down six on a Newspoll result a fortnight ago) and 27% disapproval (down six on both YouGov and Newspoll), while LNP leader Deb Frecklington is at 29% approval (up three on the June YouGov poll) and 32% disapproval (down three), indicating an unusually high uncommitted rating even for a state Opposition Leader. Palaszczuk holds a 48-22 lead as preferred premier, out from 44-23 in the June YouGov poll.

The poll has an unusually large sample size of 2000 – big enough to produce credible sub-samples for the regional breakdowns – as well as an unusually long field work period, running from Thursday, September 24 to Thursday, October 1.

Queensland election guide

Introducing the Poll Bludger’s (almost) all-encompassing guide to the October 31 Queensland state election.

There’s a lot of biographical detail still to be added for significant candidates, and it could as always have used another day of proof reading before being set out into the wild — but nonetheless, let it be noted that the Poll Bludger’s comprehensive overview and seat-by-seat guide to the October 31 Queensland state election is open for business. Together with expanding and updating this guide in the days to come, my next order of business it get a guide happening for the Australian Capital Territory election on October 17, which should be about a week away if the wind blows in the right direction. Please use this thread for general discussion of the Queensland campaign and to point out the errors and design flaws that are no doubt to be found on the site.

Newspoll and Essential Research coronavirus polling

Among many other findings relating to COVID-19, the strongest evidence yet that Victorians are unswayed by news media narratives concerning their state government.

The Australian today reports Newspoll findings on COVID-19 and leadership approval from Victoria and Queensland, which were targeted with expanded samples (608 and 603 respectively) in the poll whose main results were published yesterday:

• Daniel Andrews is up five points on approval from late July to 62% and down two on approval to 35%, whereas Scott Morrison is down six on approval to 62% and up seven on disapproval to 33%. Andrews is reckoned to be doing very well in handling COVID-19 by 31% (up four), fairly well by 31% (down three), fairly badly by 13% (down five) and very badly by 22% (up four), while Morrison is on 26% for very well (down five), 45% for fairly well (down one), 15% for fairly badly (up three) and 10% for very badly (up one).

• Annastacia Palaszczuk’s ratings are only modestly changed, with approval down one to 63% and disapproval up four to 33% as compared with the poll in late July, while Scott Morrison is down five to 67% and up four to 28% as compared with the poll in late June. Both leaders’ COVID-19 ratings are a little weaker than they were in late July: Palaszczuk records 32% for very well (down five), 36% for fairly well (down eight), 16% for fairly badly (up eight) and 13% for very badly (up seven), while Morrison has 34% for very well (down six), 43% for fairly well (up three), 13% for fairly badly (up two) and 7% for very badly (up one).

• The national sample was asked about the restrictions in Victoria and Queensland, which naturally required lengthy explanation (the framing of which seems reasonable enough). For Victoria, the results were 25% too strict, 61% about right and 10% too lenient; for Queensland, 37% too strict, 53% about right and 7% too lenient.

• The balance of concern is nonetheless moving away from “moving too quickly to relax restrictions”, down 20 points since mid-July to 56%, to “moving too slowly to relax restrictions and harming economy, jobs and mental wellbeing”, up 19 points to 39%.

Today also brings the fortnightly Essential Research poll, as related by The Guardian with the full report to follow later today:

• Respondents were in favour of both Scott Morrison’s handling of COVID-19 (a 61% approval rating, up two on a fortnight ago) and Queensland state border closures he wants lifted (66% support, including 70% among Queensland respondents). Forty-seven per cent of Victorian respondents approved of the state government’s COVID-19 management, unchanged from a fortnight ago, while the rating for the New South Wales government was up seven to 67%.

• Thirty-three per cent of respondents felt tax cuts for high income earners should be brought forward from 2022, as the government has signalled it will do, while 38% believe they should be scrapped and 29% believe the government should stick to the original timetable. Twenty-one per cent believe they would be an effective economic stimulus, compared with 41% for moderately effective and 38% for not effective.

• Asked which technology they preferred for future energy generation, 70% favoured renewables and 15% gas and coal.

The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1081.

UPDATE: Full Essential Research poll here.

Still more affairs of state

A whole bunch of privately conducted polls from Queensland and Victoria, some more convincing than others.

No media polling has emerged in the past week, but there have been a welter of reports at state level on private polling – rather too many, one might think, given the political agendas frequently attached to them.

In Victoria, where Liberals provided the Herald Sun with polling showing Labor copping a hiding in four marginal seats last week, Labor-linked firm Redbridge Group has pushed back showing a far happier set of results for the Andrews government. This includes a state voting intention finding with Labor on 39.1%, the Coalition on 34.5% and the Greens on 7.0%, converting into an estimated 53.5-46.5% lead to Labor on two-party preferred. Pollster Kos Samaras offers a few qualifications: that phone polls tend to under-report both Labor and the Nationals, and that the Greens’ inner-city constituency is “difficult to survey”.

On the state government’s road map for emerging from lockdown, 58.1% agree it was motivated by “the best interests of Victorians” with 31.3% disagreeing. Conversely, only 34.1% thought Scott Morrison and the federal government were playing a constructive role, with 50.6% disagreeing, and just 18.2% thought so in relation to the state Liberals, with 57.0% disagreeing. The poll was conducted last Wednesday to Saturday from a sample of 2172.

There has also been a flurry of polling ahead of next month’s state election in Queensland, all of it portending bad things for Labor:

The Australian reported on polling conducted for coal miner New Hope by Omnipoll, which was co-founded by former Newspoll head Martin O’Shannessy, has the following findings in Queensland, targeting four Labor-held seats outside Brisbane. The overall pattern was of an exodus from right-wing minor parties to the Liberal National Party, and of Labor losing a bigger share of the primary vote than they would probably be able to wear:

Ipswich: Labor 44 (-4), LNP 29 (+16), One Nation 5 (-22), Greens 12 (+3).
Keppel: Labor 34 (-9), LNP 40 (+15), One Nation 10 (-16), Greens 7 (+1).
Mackay: Labor 36 (-7), LNP 37 (+12), One Nation 7 (-16), Greens 6 (+1).
Thuringowa: Labor 33 (+1), LNP 40 (+19), One Nation 4 (-16), Greens 7 (+1), Katter’s Australian Party 7 (-9).

This tends to suggest Labor losing more support than they can wear, while the LNP soaks up a huge share of One Nation and KAP support that it had probably been getting back as preferences anyway. Labor won Ipswich by 10.9% over One Nation in 2017, and wouldn’t be troubled there on these numbers; won Keppel by 3.1% over One Nation, and would likely lose to the LNP; won Mackay by 8.3% over the LNP, and would likely hang on; and won Thuringowa over One Nation by 4.1%, and would likely lose.

• The Greens have been circulating results of three inner urban seats conducted by Lonergan Research, where the LNP’s move to preference them ahead of Labor makes them likely winners wherever they can finish second. In the party’s one existing seat of Maiwar, a strong flow of Labor preferences would likely secure victory for incumbent Michael Berkman, on 36% to LNP candidate Lauren Day’s 37%, with Labor on 17%. The party is reportedly well placed to defeat former Deputy Premier Jackie Trad in South Brisbane, where their candidate Amy McMahon has 36% to Trad’s 30%, with Clem Grehan of the LNP on 21%. They also look in the hung on in McConnel, which was once more appositely known as Brisbane Central, Greens candidate Kirsten Lovejoy is on 30%, Labor incumbent Grace Grace is on 29%, and LNP candidate Pinky Singh is on 31%, with 8% undecided. Notes of caution: The Australian cites Labor analysis that has the party expecting to win a very close race; Kevin Bonham discerns a tendency for the Greens to under-perform their own published seat polling; and even the pollster itself cautions that the Greens are “typically over-represented in polls”, as reported by the Courier-Mail. Each of the polls was conducted “over the past month” by phone and SMS from samples of 600.

• A statewide poll conducted by LNP-aligned think tank the Australian Institute for Progress was trumpeted in the Courier-Mail on Monday as a YouGov poll showing Labor on 32%, the LNP 38% and the Greens on 12%. However, it turns out these were the results of the paper’s own YouGov poll from early June that the pollster used as a weighting base for responses to a series of other questions. The Courier-Mail report no longer claims the poll was conducted by YouGov, but continues to present its numbers as fresh results. The new poll would actually appear to have covered barely more than 300 respondents drawn from the organisation’s own online panel, which is quite a lot smaller than those used by YouGov and Essential Research. For what it’s worth, it finds a 56-44 split in favour of the LNP to form government, plus other findings you can read in the pollster’s own report.

More affairs of state

More evidence of a tight contest looming in Queensland while Mark McGowan reigns supreme in Western Australia; and a parliamentary committee in Victoria kicks the upper house electoral reform can down the road.

Not every state this time, but half:


The Victorian parliament’s electoral matters committee has tabled the report of its inquiry into the 2018 state election, of which the greatest item of interest is a full chapter devoted to reform of the upper house electoral system. Together with Western Australia, Victoria is the last hold-out of the group voting ticket system that is electing ever-increasing numbers of preference-harvesting micro-party candidates. This reached a new height at the 2018 election, at which parties other than the Coalition, Labor and the Greens won 10 out of the 40 seats in the Legislative Council, including two elected with less than 1% of the vote. However, the report recommended only that a further parliamentary inquiry be held into the matter. The report also recommends no change to the two-week period for pre-polling, which the Liberals and Nationals called to be shortened.


Polling of the marginal state seats of Currumbin, Mansfield and Aspley by YouGov for the Australian Conservation Foundation shows a combined two-party result of 52-48 for Labor, compared with an almost exact 50-50 for these three seats in 2017. The primary votes are Labor 37%, LNP 37%, Greens 10%, One Nation 4% and 10% don’t know, compared with 2017 election results of Labor 41.2%, LNP 38.4%, Greens 10.6% and One Nation 8.5%. The poll was conducted from August 17-19 and targeted 200 respondents in each of the three electorates.

Western Australia

A poll for The West Australian by Painted Dog Research showed Mark McGowan with an approval rating at 91%, up four from an already stratospheric result in June. Support for the state’s border closure was at 92%, up from 89% in May. The poll was conducted from a sample of 837, with field work dates not provided.

Northern Territory

As related in the dedicated post, the CLP sneaked home in an eighth seat in the Northern Territory election as the count concluded last night, producing a final result of Labor 14, CLP eight, Territory Alliance one and independents two.

Affairs of state

One finely crafted electoral news item for every state (and territory) that is or might ever conceivably have been part of our great nation.

A bone for every dog in the federation kennel:

New South Wales

Gladys Berejiklian has backed a move for the Liberal Party to desist from endorsing or financially supporting candidates in local government elections, reportedly to distance the state government from adverse findings arising from Independent Commission Against Corruption investigations into a number of councils. Many in the party are displeased with the idea, including a source cited by Linda Silmalis of the Daily Telegraph, who predicted “world war three” because many MPs relied on councillors to organise their numbers at preselections.


The second biggest story in the politics of Victoria over the past fortnight has been the expose of the activities of Liberal Party operator Marcus Bastiaan by the Nine newspaper-and-television news complex, a neat counterpoint to its similar revelations involving Labor powerbroker Adem Somyurek in June. The revelations have been embarrassing or worse for federal MPs Michael Sukkar and Kevin Andrews, with the former appearing to have directed the latter’s electorate office staff to spend work time on party factional activities.

Together with then state party president Michael Kroger, Bastiaan was instrumental in establishing a conservative ascendancy with help from Bastiaan’s recruitment of members from Mormon churches and the Indian community. Having installed ally Nick Demiris as campaign director, Bastiaan’s fingerprints were on the party’s stridently conservative campaign at the 2018 state election, which yielded the loss of 11 lower house Coalition seats. Religious conservatives led by Karina Okotel, now a federal party vice-president, then split from the Bastiaan network, complaining their numbers had been used to buttress more secular conservatives.

The Age’s report noted that “in the days leading up to the publication of this investigation, News Corporation mastheads have run stories attacking factional opponents of Mr Bastiaan and Mr Sukkar”. Presumably related to this was a report on Okotel’s own party activities in The Australian last weekend, which was long on emotive adjectives but short on tangible allegations of wrongdoing, beyond her having formed an alliance with factional moderates after the split.

Continue reading “Affairs of state”