Queensland election endgame

An account of the electoral and constitutional situation in Queensland, most of it cribbed from Professor Graeme Orr.

I ceased updating my Queensland election count thread on Saturday, partly due to distractions from Canberra, but mostly because incoming votes had reduced to a trickle. With the dealine for receipt of postal votes passed at 6pm this evening, we can expect the final tallies and preference counts to be conducted over the next two or at most three days. No late count surprises transpired, so it is beyond doubt that 44 seats will be declared for Labor, 42 for the Liberal National Party, two for Katter’s Australian Party and one independent, Nicklin MP Peter Wellington, who has thrown his lot in with Labor while the Katter members continue to haggle for terms. To summarise the last four seats I had left on my watch list:

Ferny Grove. There have been 193 new votes added here since Saturday, and the Labor lead of 414 is now at 408.

Mount Ommaney. Another 109 votes added, and the LNP lead is up from 170 to 187.

Whitsunday. A further 249 votes have been counted. Here there is a complication, explained thus by Antony Green: “The votes have been counted but they haven’t been isolated by count centre and so haven’t been entered into the computer system. I’ve had a discussion with the ECQ who are seeing what they can do, but it may be that the count in Whitsunday won’t include all the votes until the actual distribution of preferences is reported this evening or tomorrow. There are no votes missing and everything adds up except the website.”. It matters little – my projection had the LNP lead at 351 on Saturday, and 352 now.

Lockyer. Ian Rickuss never looked comfortable in his tussle with Pauline Hanson, but his lead is now at 194, compared with 183 on Saturday.

Today I wrote an account for Crikey concerning the constitutional situation given the apparent conviction of the Liberal National Party that it can remain in power until any uncertainty surrounding Ferny Grove is resolved. By the time of publication, this had been overtaken somewhat by two events. The first was Campbell Newman’s visit to the Governor to tender his resignation, “pending the appointment of a new Premier” – so not actually a resignation at all then, as far as I can see (UPDATE: J-D in comments reasonably argues in comments that this is overreach, but I remain curious about the timing). Ordinarily when a Premier tenders their resignation, they concurrently advise the Governor to call upon somebody else to form a government. I am left to surmise that the true purpose of the visit was to get in before Annastacia Palaszczuk with legal advice he had sought yesterday, which in the words of The Australian included “a plan for the Queensland Governor to delay commissioning a new government until after a possible by-election in a Brisbane seat that could be months away”.

The second of today’s two events was an announcement by the Governor, Paul de Jersey, which suggested Newman’s visit might not have gone entirely according to plan. Taking to Twitter, de Jersey announced he would “commission new Premier following #qldvotes polls declaration”.Since there is no question that Ferny Grove will be declared for Labor, that doesn’t leave much room for doubt that he will commission Palaszczuk. Certainly the result in Ferny Grove will not be undeclared by virtue of being referred to the Court of Disputed Returns, which will require a substantial amount of time to consider the various legal arguments. This will involve establishing that Palmer United candidate Mark Taverner was indeed disqualified by virtue of bankruptcy; that precedents at federal elections finding against nullification of elections on the basis of candidate disqualification do not apply under optional preferential voting, since those who cast a one-only vote for Taverner were deprived of a valid vote; and that the number of such votes was potentially great enough to affect the result, which would require further scrutiny of ballot papers. There would then follow an automatic right of appeal.

To push the envelope for the sake of argument, the Governor might accept that, for the sake of continuity pending a final resolution, he should install Lawrence Springborg in some manner of ongoing caretaker capacity. However, this would require holding off summoning a parliament in which Mark Furner would be entitled to sit until the Court of Disputed Returns ruled otherwise. To put it mildly, keeping the parliament in suspension for the deliberate purpose of maintaining in office a Premier who lacks its confidence does not seem in accordance with responsible government. If the LNP believes it will attain Ferny Grove in due course, there doesn’t seem any reason why it shouldn’t sit it out in opposition until that occurs – other than the purely political consideration that it would be less likely to win the by-election from opposition, which is no concern of the Governor’s. Furthermore, Graeme Orr observes that the caretaker conventions under which Springborg would presumably be obliged to govern are expressly designed from the period between the dissolution of parliament and the declaration of the result.

If a new election is indeed required for Ferny Grove, which is far from being the foregone conclusion that the LNP and friendly elements of the media are suggesting, the ECQ says the earliest possible date is April 11. However, that is surely based on untestable assumptions as to how long the legal process will take unfold. A notable wrinkle in the situation is the role of the Chief Justice, Tim Carmody, an enormously contentious Newman government appointment to replace Paul de Jersey on his appointment as Governor. As Fairfax’s Amy Remeikis describes it, “the Chief Justice may elect to be the single judge, or appoint another Supreme Court judge to act in his place”. However, Graeme Orr (who you might well think I should just pass this post over to) refuted this notion in an interview on 4BC today, saying there was “a roster of judges that are picked at random in advance”.

UPDATE: I should also have noted the following from Graeme Orr: “The killer argument is simpler. Let disqualified losing candidates upset a close election, and in future every marginal seat will be seeded with a dummy candidate whose disqualification is obscure, but ready to be leaked to upset the result if it doesn’t go the way the dummy’s masters want.”

Queensland election late counting

Slowly over the course of the coming week, we will learn if Labor has scrambled over the line for a parliamentary majority. Follow the action day-by-day on this post.

ALP LNP ALP lead/deficit Outstanding (estimated) ALP target Projected ALP final
Ferny Grove 14128 13714 414 1003 28.3% 50.8%
Whitsunday 14019 14370 -351 1902 60.2% 49.6%
Mount Ommaney 13649 13819 -170 874 60.1% 49.7%

Saturday evening

“Labor 44, LNP 42, KAP two and one independent” is looking firmer than ever after Chris Foley conceded defeat today in Maryborough, presumably having done the maths from a) his 1271 deficit against Labor on the primary vote (7980 to 6709), b) the fact that there are only 7215 votes from the exclusion of Palmer United, One Nation, the Greens and a second independent to help him close the gap, and c) a knowledge I don’t have concerning the exhaustion rate of Palmer United and One Nation in particular, which is presumably exceedingly high. The LNP didn’t do too badly on today’s counting in Ferny Grove, gaining 31 on counting of 371 absents as well as 30 on 194 postals, while losing three on out-of-division pre-polls. But with a 414-vote Labor lead and barely 1000 votes outstanding, the door remains bolted. All we got today from Mount Ommaney was a handful of declaration votes which broke 18-11 to Labor. Another 326 postals and 254 absents were counted in Whitsunday, adding five votes to the LNP lead by my reckoning. Pauline Hanson is still 183 votes behind in Lockyer, though I think there were actually new numbers added today. As best as I can tell though, we’re now down to the last 1000 outstanding votes.

Friday evening

A final result of Labor 44, LNP 42, KAP two and one independent continues to firm. Labor have shut the door on Ferny Grove with a first batch of absent votes that have favoured them 716-585, despite 460 pre-poll absents and 284 postals respectively closing the gap by 34 and 24. Whitsunday continues to slip from Labor’s reach, a 400-372 split on the latest batch of absents being less than they needed. Also added were a 77-75 split to Labor on pre-poll absents and a 94-54 split on declaration votes. Labor keeps edging closer in Mount Ommaney, making up 11 on counting of 495 pre-poll absent votes and 13 on 261 election day absents. But with perhaps less than 1000 votes to come, it’s too little too late.

Friday morning

The maths got quite a bit harder for Labor in Whitsunday yesterday with the addition of a strong batch of absents for the LNP, as is explained below. The situation in Ferny Grove remains stable, which is to say that an LNP win will require a big surprise on absent votes, none of which have yet been counted. The LNP is home and hosed in Mansfield, so I won’t be following the count there henceforth, but they can’t quite shake off Labor in Mount Ommaney, where Labor yesterday made up 136 votes on absents while losing 14 on the diminishing number of postals. The situation in Mount Ommaney is similar to Ferny Grove in that I expect out-of-division pre-polls to confirm the anticipated result, but I can’t quite put down my glasses until I see some solid numbers. Pauline Hanson lingers in contention in Lockyer, where she is just 183 votes in arrears. This follows a surprisingly bad showing for the LNP on absents, over half of which were counted yesterday. However, there’s no guarantee that this trend will carry through the remainder of the absent votes, which might come from different locations. All told, the most likely outcome is Labor 44, LNP 42, KAP two and one independent, with Labor to form a minority government with the support of the independent, Peter Wellington.


4.45pm. A second batch of absents in Whitsunday obviously came from a much better place for the LNP than the first, as I am estimating them to have gone 153-110 in favour of the LNP compared with 171-103 to Labor from the first batch. Another 558 postals have broken 289-223 to the LNP, but I’m guessing there won’t be many of these to come, whereas there could still be as many as 2000 absents outstanding. However, there are also no out-of-division pre-polls counted yet, which were slightly favourable to the LNP in 2012. My projection of the Labor total is back to 49.6% after rising to 49.8% yesterday, and their estimated required share of outstanding votes is up to an imposing 56.6%. Better news for Labor from Ferny Grove, where 284 postal votes have actually broken in their favour, by 115-105. Still no absent votes though, which I have consistently been anticipating will decide the result for Labor. In Lockyer, Pauline Hanson has made up a tiny amount of ground from 1464 absents and 415 out-of-division pre-polls, her deficit down from 214 to 198.

Thursday morning

Whitsunday continues to look like the decisive factor in whether Labor can get over the line to a majority, as I discussed in a piece for Crikey yesterday. Yesterday’s counting will have raised Labor’s hopes, with an extremely strong batch of 313 absent votes cutting the published lead to 88. However, I’m calculating that postal and pre-poll votes that haven’t yet been added to the two-party count will push it out to a little over 300. Even so, my projected final result for Labor is up from 49.6% to 49.8%, and it’s possible that this will be a trend if my assumptions about the behaviour of absent votes turn out to be disproved. Postal votes continue to chip away at the Labor lead in Ferny Grove, but I expect that absent votes will settle the issue in their favour when they are added. The trend has been to Labor in the other two seats I am tracking, Mount Ommaney and Mansfield, but not strongly enough to overturn the LNP’s leads. Counting of absent votes is particularly advanced in Mansfield, and there are too few votes left outstanding for the result to be in doubt. The narrow LNP lead over Pauline Hanson in Lockyer has increased ever so slightly with further counting of postals and pre-polls, up from 122 yesterday to 214 today, which should increase by another 30 when pre-polls counted on the primary vote are added to the two-party total. If the 2012 results are anything to go by, out-of-division pre-polls should settle the issue when they are counted.


4.30pm. The first batch of 313 absent votes is in from Whitsunday, and they haven’t disappointed so far as Labor is concerned, breaking 171-103 that way. If that trend is maintained over the remaining absents, Labor will bolt home – but I think it’s pretty safe to assume that they won’t. Absent vote counting tends to be highly variable depending on where particular batches were sourced from, and I’d say these ones come from Mackay. My projection in the table above is not based on such an assumption, but even so the projected ALP total has now shifted from 49.6% to 49.8%. There have also been 256 “uncertain identity” votes, but these have only been slightly to the advantage of Labor. A further 609 postals have been added to the count for Ferny Grove, which by my reckoning will break 311-282 to the LNP on two-party preferred, bringing the Labor lead down from 385 to 337, assuming primary votes not yet added to the two-party total behave as the others have on preferences. While the trend appears to be against Labor as postal votes continue to be added to the count, absent votes will surely favour them when finally added to the count, which is why my projections aren’t rating the LNP as much of a chance.

Wednesday morning

To summarise yesterday’s counting, the LNP continues to chip away at Labor’s lead in Ferny Grove, but probably not by enough given the likely trend of yet-to-be-counted absent votes; Labor has made what are probably too-little, too-late gains in Mount Ommaney and Mansfield; Pauline Hanson is running the LNP very fine in Lockyer but will most likely fall short; and the likelihood is that a Labor majority will depend on the very close call of Whitsunday, where the odds are slightly favouring the LNP. I mean to add Lockyer to the table above when I can find the time. For now, the table has a new feature in a column called “ALP target”, which estimates the share of the two-party vote Labor will need from the votes outstanding in order to win the seat. For those of you who have just joined us, the seat tally in the seats excluding the four in the table plus Maryborough and Lockyer is 42 for Labor, 38 for the LNP, two for Katter’s Australian Party and one independent. The six outstanding seats include one where Labor is not in contention and one where the LNP is not in contention, so their best case scenarios are 47 and 43 seats respectively – although you can just about write Labor off in Mount Ommaney and Mansfield.


6pm. I’ve updated the table for three of the four listed electorates. In Ferny Grove, 311 declared institution votes and a few others have broken strongly to the LNP, probably because they’re from old people’s homes and such. On my reading this reduces the Labor lead from 502 to 385, and the projected winning margin from 1.1% to 0.9%. But there are still no absent votes in the count, which in 2012 were nearly 4% worse for the LNP than the booth results, and particularly strong for the Greens. So I will remain surprised if the LNP can rein it in. In Whitsunday, another 1070 postals behaved exactly as previous batches, which is to say they flowed strongly to the LNP. They haven’t been added on 2PP yet, but my total above applies the existing preference split to them and suggests they increase the LNP lead from 163 to 371. The question remains whether absent votes will save Labor when they are added, which none yet have been. The projection continues to be that they will fall 0.4% short. It’s probably too little too late, but 852 votes in Mount Ommaney, mostly postals, have been to the advantage of Labor, reducing the LNP lead by 24 where previous batches had increased it. Labor may yet hope for a surprise when absents are added, but the projection remains LNP by 0.6%. More pre-polls and postals have been added for Mansfield on primary but not 2PP, which I’ll attend to later.

3.45pm. With the notional count now having all but caught up with the primary one, LNP member Ian Rickuss leads Pauline Hanson in Lockyer by 122. Out-of-division pre-polls are unlikely to favour her, and absent votes will presumably come more the eastern edge of the electorate, where she performed slightly less well. So my earlier assessment of close-but-no-cigar still looks solid. The LNP is now well and truly out of the woods in Gaven, the 2PP lead now at 823. Not sure exactly what’s going on in Maryborough, one of the few seats where the ECQ hasn’t pulled the 2CP count, despite the fact that the count itself is not particularly interesting. What we need is a three-candidate preferred count to establish if minor party and independent preferences will push Chris Foley ahead of Labor, but I gather we’ll actually have to wait for the final preference distribution to see what’s happened here.

Tuesday morning

The big news yesterday came from Lockyer and Gaven, where new notional preference counts are being conducted to replace those conducted on election night which identified the wrong candidates as the two who will make the final count. Both these counts are turning up surprises on early indications, respectively in favour of Pauline Hanson and Labor. Hanson seems to be receiving enough preferences from Labor supporters who tuned in to the exhortation to “put the LNP last” – not in fact what the Labor how-to-vote card directed them to do in this particular electorate – to take the fight right up to LNP incumbent Ian Rickuss. The media is particularly excited that Hanson has a strong lead on the raw count, but this reflects the fact that the five booths where the notional count has been completed were particularly strong for her. She is definitely in the race, but for reasons explained below, Rickuss would probably be slightly favoured.

In Gaven, the ECQ count on the night assumed independent incumbent Alex Douglas would make the cut, but he finished a distant third. Now a count is being conducted between the LNP and Labor, and it seems Douglas’s voters followed his recommendation to preference Labor. As noted below, I’m projecting the LNP to be about 200 votes ahead when all this is done, remembering that this doesn’t account for absents, pre-polls and outstanding postals not yet added to the count. The precedent of 2012 offers no clear indication of these being decisively favourable to one side or the other.

Of the five seats on my existing watch list (i.e. those in the table above plus Maryborough), nothing much changed yesterday, with little progress in four of the five. The exception was Ferny Grove, for which 1079 postals wore down the Labor lead from 577 to 502 without changing the final projection. What did happen yesterday was that the ECQ pulled down the notional two-party counts for every seat except Gaven, Lockyer, Mansfield, Maryborough and Whitsunday, on the basis that it will not continue the notional count with votes to be added henceforth, and that what we don’t know won’t hurt us. So the table above (which may well come to include Gaven and Lockyer shortly) will project preferences from the primary votes added to the count henceforth using the existing preference flows.

So to summarise. Assuming no late surprises in Ferny Grove, Mount Ommaney and Mansfield, we can start with a base of 43 seats for Labor, 39 for the LNP, two for the KAP and one independent, namely Peter Wellington in Nicklin. Beyond that, Whitsunday and Gaven might go either LNP or Labor, Maryborough might go either Labor or independent (although Amy Remeikis of Fairfax relates that Labor is “expected” to win), and Lockyer might go to either the LNP or Pauline Hanson. My feeling is that the LNP will most likely win Whitsunday, Gaven and Lockyer, and Labor will most likely win Maryborough, leaving Labor one seat short of a majority. But I could well be wrong about any or all of those. It would seem the best the LNP can hope for is 42, whereas Labor could get to 46.


5.35pm. On closer examination, I suspect this will be as good as it gets for Hanson. Her primary vote in the booths that have reported is 34.1%, compared with 27.3% in the electorate at large. Presumably her preference share will be correspondingly lower in the rest of the electorate as well.

5.20pm. Projecting the preference flows from five booths over the entirety of the results, I end up with the LNP 92 votes in the lead over Hanson for a margin of 0.2%. I’ll now try and see if I can come up with a more sophisticated means of projecting it based on regional booth variations.

5pm. Bloody hell. Indicative count finds Pauline Hanson a show in Lockyer – doing better than expected on preferences. Developing.

4.32pm. Two more booths in now from the Gaven LNP-versus-Labor count, making for three polling day booths and the pre-poll booth, bringing the projected LNP margin up from 213 to 226.

4.30pm. A further 772 postals in Mansfield are better for Labor than the first, but they’ve still broken 408-330 to the LNP (mercifully, the two-party results are still up here). There have also been 138 declaration votes added from those who hadn’t brought ID that have broken 79-53 to Labor. While the LNP lead is out from 495 to 547, their projected final result is down from 51.2% to 51.0%.

4pm. A second batch of 1079 postals have been added to the primary vote count in Ferny Grove, and they’ve behaved almost exactly the same as the first, leaving my projection of a 1.0% Labor win unchanged. Unfortunately, the 2PP count for this and many other seats has been taken down. Please don’t let this be permanent …

3.45pm. I hadn’t been rating Labor’s prospects in the Gold Coast seat of Gaven, but now the ECQ is conducting an LNP-versus-Labor preference throw it’s looking at least interesting. The issue here is that the notional preference count on election night was conducted on an independent-versus-Labor basis, the independent being Alex Douglas, a former LNP member who quit mid-term during the term and contested the election as an independent. Douglas in fact finished a distant third, so the issue was how preferences would go in determining the result between the LNP and Labor. Douglas directed his preferences to Labor, but given his flow needed to be almost Greens-like to get Labor over the line, I didn’t think it probable. But with preference counts now added for pre-polls and one election day polling booth, the flow is 40.5% to Labor, 16.2% to the LNP and 43.3% exhausted. There’s very little local variation in this seat, so this pattern will presumably play out over the results to come. Projecting that on to the total primary vote count leaves the LNP with a lead of only 213, or 10466-10253.

2.30pm. The ECQ has curiously removed most of the notional two-party results from its website and media feed, which I can only hope is very temporary (one effect of which has been to send the ABC’s results display haywire, so that the LNP is now wrongly credited with a majority). As far as I can see, the only substantial progress in the key seats has been what was foreshadowed in the previous post, namely that the 421 postals from Whitsunday that were added on the primary vote yesterday are now there on 2PP as well, breaking 223-144 to the LNP and boosting the lead from 84 to 163.


This post will be progressively updated to follow the late counting for the Queensland election over the coming days. There was a fair bit of counting done yesterday in key seats, mostly consisting of the first batches of postals and out-of-electorate pre-polls. In my post yesterday I identified six seats that I was ready to give away, but one of those, Redlands, was put beyond doubt by the counting of pre-polls, which broke 3757-3153 the way of the LNP to blow the lead out to 974. Excluding the remaining in-doubt seats of Ferny Grove, Whitsunday, Mount Ommaney, Mansfield and Maryborough, the tally of confirmed seats is now 42 for Labor, 39 for the Liberal National Party, two for Katter’s Australian Party and one independent. Since Maryborough is a race between Labor and a potential second independent, the best the LNP can hope for is 43, which is two short of a majority, whereas Labor could theoretically make it to 47. However, they are behind the eight-ball in Mount Ommaney and Mansfield, so their more realistic path to a majority involves staying ahead in Ferny Grove, holding off independent Chris Foley in Maryborough, and closing what is presently an 84-vote deficit in Whitsunday.

The table at the top shows the raw two-party totals for four of the five seats (the exception of Maryborough is explained below), an estimate of the number of votes outstanding (I’m hoping the ECQ will provide me with data to make these guesses more educated) and a projection of the final Labor two-party result, derived mostly from historical experience of how particular vote types deviate from the ordinary votes.

Here’s a quick account of each:

Ferny Grove. The addition of 1227 votes yesterday, mostly postals, narrowed the Labor lead from 703 to 577. I’m roughly estimating around 2500 postals to come, which would cut the lead by a further 250 if they continued to break 55-45 to the LNP. However, past form suggests Labor should gain about 100 on absents, with the rest being roughly neutral.

Whitsunday. The only real progress here yesterday was a batch of 421 postals, but they went strongly to the LNP and should add about 100 to the existing 84-vote lead when they are added to the two-party count. If that trend continues the LNP will win, but postals can behave erratically, and Labor historically performs strongly on absents in this electorate, presumably because most of them are cast in Mackay.

Mount Ommaney. The 1136 votes added to the count yesterday were mostly postals, and as postals often do they favoured the LNP, pushing the lead out from 389 to 525. Labor should do better on absents, but it’s very unlikely to be enough.

Mansfield. A lot of progress in the count here yesterday with a big batch of 2128 postals added, and it was very favourable for LNP incumbent Ian Walker, turning his 25-vote deficit into a 495 lead. My guess is that that’s unlikely to change much from here, with slight gains to Labor from absents and outstanding pre-polls to be cancelled out by the trend to the LNP on postals.

Maryborough. This one’s the great imponderable so far as the progress of the count is concerned, as what we need to know is whether preferences from Palmer United and others will push independent Chris Foley to finish second ahead of Labor, in which case he will win the seat. We won’t have any idea about this until the ECQ does a preference count, either at the very end of proceedings in about a week’s time or (hopefully) in the next day or two by conducting an indicative count of the relevant minor party and independent votes to see how their preferences are going. Labor has 6891 votes to Foley’s 5837, and there are 5566 votes from various other candidates, including 3354 from Palmer United.

What happened

How a dramatic change in the behaviour of minor party and independent preferences powered Labor to the cusp of victory in Queensland, plus results broken down by region.

I’m going to progressively add a region-by-region post mortem to this thread as I go, so be sure to hit “refresh” every now and then if you’re hovering around the site and you think that might of use to you (UPDATE: Scratch that – I’ll do it tomorrow). I’ll start by answering a question that will be on the lips of many: how did the polls (and by implication the poll aggregators – see the sidebar) get it so wrong? The answer to this is simple: by allocating preferences as they flowed at the 2012 election. In fact, the pollsters did well at predicting the primary vote. As noted two posts back, all three late-reporting pollsters essentially had the LNP on 42% and Labor on 37%. The present vote totals are 40.8% and 38.1%, and they will probably edge closer in the direction of the poll results during late counting. This tends to argue against the notion that there was a violent late surge to Labor – and also the notion that there is likely to be a particularly big move back to the LNP on late counting.

The real key to the surprise is that Labor’s share of minor party and independent preferences went from 27% to 45%, the LNP’s went from 22% to 15%, and the exhaustion rate fell from 51% to 39%. This is based on slightly incomplete data, but it should be probably be near enough. Applying those preference flows to the current primary vote totals, it’s Labor and not the LNP that comes out 52-48 ahead, contrary to what all three of the aforementioned polls said. If the pollsters had been operating on accurate assumptions concerning preferences, they would have come out at 51-49 to Labor. Which gives them a lot to think about going forward, particularly with another optional preferential election on the way in New South Wales in a little under two months.

Anyhow, stay tuned.

UPDATE: Or I could leave it for tomorrow. Yes, I think that’s the go actually. Here’s a table that should set you a long way towards working out what I’ll end up saying. Seats are rated in doubt if Labor is ahead by less than 1.8% or the LNP is ahead by less than 1.2%, according to a crude 0.3% estimate of how much late counting generally favours the conservatives. The six in question are Mansfield (Labor leads by 0.1%), Mount Ommaney (LNP by 0.9%) and Redlands (LNP by 0.9%), in Southern Brisbane; Ferny Grove (Labor by 1.6%), in Northern Brisbane; and Whitsunday (LNP by 0.2%) and Maryborough (a special case, in that it will come down to who finishes second out of Labor and independent Chris Foley) on the Central Coast. Since Maryborough is in doubt between Labor and an independent, the ceiling for the LNP is 43, which includes the long shot of Ferny Grove.

Inner Brisbane 41.6% 40.1% 15.7% 2 8 0 0
-8.2% +7.2% +1.5% -7 +7 0
Northern Brisbane 41.3% 44.3% 8.9% 3 8 0 1
-11.4% +14.0% +0.6% -9 +8 0
Southern Brisbane 38.7% 47.1% 8.7% 2 10 0 3
-11.1% +13.7% +1.2% -11 +8 0
Ipswich 29.0% 54.3% 7.0% 0 3 0 0
-9.4% +20.4% +1.3% -2 +2 0
Gold Coast 48.1% 30.2% 7.8% 10 0 0 0
-10.2% +6.6% +1.1% 0 0 0
Sunshine Coast 45.2% 24.2% 12.7% 6 0 1 0
-12.4% +7.8% +0.7% 0 0 0
Central Coast 35.2% 38.2% 4.5% 4 6 0 2
-6.8% +13.1% +0.3% -5 +4 -1
Northern Coast 36.8% 40.6% 6.1% 1 7 0 0
-3.4% +13.1% +0.4% -6 +6 0
Urban Hinterland 45.0% 30.5% 6.1% 5 0 0 0
-5.6% +11.3% +0.3% 0 0 0
Interior 46.6% 23.5% 4.0% 5 0 2 0
-5.5% +8.5% +0.7% 0 0 0
TOTAL 40.8% 38.1% 8.4% 38 42 3 6
-8.9% +11.5% +0.9% -40 +35 -1

Queensland election live

Live coverage of the count for the Queensland election.

10.09pm. All seats on my watch list have three booths outstanding, so maybe that represents consistent blank spaces for things that won’t be counted tonight.

10.04pm. Another booth in from Whitsunday and the LNP moves into the lead (bearing in mind that I’m talking about the booth-matched computer projection here, not the raw result), going from Labor 0.3% ahead to LNP 0.1% ahead.

9.54pm. Though I’m beginning to think these outstanding booths are perhaps things like that won’t be counted this evening.

9.45pm. Another booth from Mansfield, effectively no change, but the change there has been has been from a 0.1% Labor lead to a 0.1% LNP lead. Three booths outstanding.

9.40pm. Another booth in from Mount Ommaney, leaving three outstanding, but Labor’s lead is unchanged at 0.7%.

9.35pm. Then there’s Maryborough, which Labor will win if Chris Foley doesn’t finish ahead of them. With 27 of 30 booths, the primary votes are 29.6% for the LNP, 25.3% for Labor and 22.1% for Foley. Whether Foley closes the gap depends on preferences, which we won’t know about this evening. That includes 12.6% for Palmer United and 10.4% for others.

9.30pm. So here’s the seats I’ll be over like a rash from now on, namely Labor’s shortest path to 45 off its base of 42:

Ferny Grove. Labor leads by 0.9%, three booths outstanding.
Mansfield. 50.0-50.0, four booths outstanding.
Mount Ommaney. Labor leads by 0.7%, four booths outstanding.
Whitsunday. Labor leads by 0.3%, four booths outstanding.

9.26pm. Pumicestone has moved hard to Labor: lead now of 3.0%. Perhaps we’re seeing different dynamics in Caboolture and Bribie Island, with the count ping-ponging as booths from either end report.

9.18pm. Some of those Labor leads have slackened a bit: from a base of 41, they’re ahead by 0.9% in Ferny Grove, 0.1% in Mansfield, 0.7% in Mount Ommaney, 0.5% in Pumicestone and 0.3% in Whitsunday. It’s certain doable for a broad trend in late counting to wash that away.

8.55pm. I might be a little more cautious than Antony in describing 43 Labor seats as “definites”, given the number of amount of pre-polling and the evident late swing. Having said that, you’d rarely win much money backing my assessment over his.

8.49pm. That said, there are further seats which might go Labor: Mansfield, Maryborough, Pumicestone, Whitsunday, over and above the four that are their most likely pathway to a majority.

8.46pm. The ABC has reined Glass House back from LNP hold to LNP ahead. But my instinct would be that the LNP will end up winning anything where they’re ahead. The question is, are these 2% Labor leads in Ferny Grove, Mansfield, Mount Coot-tha and Mundingburra sticky enough to hold off a likely move back to the LNP in late counting.

8.41pm. I’ve still got Labor working off a base of 41, and I would rather be Labor than the LNP in Ferny Grove, Mansfield, Mount Coot-tha and Mundingburra.

8.38pm. ABC computer says Labor win in Mount Ommaney, but they’re only 1.0%. Not that it had ever been in my Labor total.

8.38pm. Mount Cooth-tha now reined back from Labor win to Labor ahead – a bit of a trend.

8.27pm. I’d been assuming Chris Foley was headed for third in Maryborough, but Palmer United preferences might push him ahead of Labor. So hard to see the LNP winning, but this could increase the cross-bench to four, and reduce Labor to 42.

8.26pm. I should add that given the late surge to Labor, you would expect late counting to be better for the LNP. So I’m leaning back towards a hung parliament.

8.23pm. Ferny Grove pegged back from Labor win to Labor gain. So it’s still a very live question whether it’s a hung parliament or a Labor majority. Wayne Swan graciously allowing for an LNP majority, but that’s hard to see. My count: Labor 43, LNP 37, cross-bench 3. In doubt: Ferny Grove, Mansfield, Maryborough, Pumicestone, Whitsunday.

8.18pm. So I’ve still got Labor on 44, with another four seats that could go either way.

8.16pm. Albert now being called for LNP.

8.09pm. Pumicestone has been downgraded from ALP gain to ALP ahead, so Labor back down to 44. So sorry if any champagne corks just popped/wrists got slashed.

8.05pm. The ABC computer is now calling Mundingburra for Labor, so I’ve now got Labor to 45. Not that late count reversals are unheard of, but there’s another four seats that are lineball – Albert, Mansfield, Maryborough, Mount Ommaney and Whitsunday. Plus Redlands, where the LNP is ahead but not home and hosed.

7.58pm. Things keep falling Labor’s way. Brisbane Central, Ferny Grove and Mount Coot-tha now called for Labor. Only Redlands goes the way of the LNP. Still in doubt: Albert, Mansfield, Maryborough, Mount Ommaney, Mundingburra, Whitsunday. Any one of them, and Labor wins.

7.54pm. Antony says 46 the most likely result. Need I remind you, 45 is a majority. But, of course, he advises caution.

7.52pm. I’d neglected to mention Maryborough. Chris Foley falling short, producing a Labor versus LNP contest in which Labor has its nose in front.

7.51pm. My calculations didn’t account for Springwood, a spectacular Labor gain. So adding in Mundingburra, that reads as 41 Labor, 36 LNP, cross-bench 3, nine in doubt.

7.49pm. One of those key seats, Mundingburra, is now being called by the ABC computer for Labor.

7.45pm. Or to put it another way, Labor on the cusp of the barest of majorities. If they fail, very likely a hung parliament. Nearly everything would have to go right for the LNP to get them to 45.

7.43pm. In sum: Labor 40, LNP 36, cross-bench 3, in doubt 10.

7.40pm. In doubt: Albert, Brisbane Central, Ferny Grove, Mansfield, Mount Coot-tha (another inner-city surprise), Mount Ommaney (big show for Labor if so), Mundingburra, Redlands, Whitsunday.

7.38pm. No sooner do I type than does Brisbane Central tick back to Labor ahead. Certainly not being called though.

7.36pm. Surprisingly close in Brisbane Central though. ABC computer says LNP with nose in front.

7.36pm. LNP at least looking better on the Gold Coast now. Albert and Broadwater in doubt, but Burleigh down as LNP retain.

7.35pm. No, nothing doing in Burdekin or Gaven. Both to go LNP. Same cross bench as last parliament.

7.33pm. Cross bench: Mount Isa, Dalrymple, Nicklin. But the ABC computer isn’t yet saying anything about Burdekin or Gaven. Will look into those.

7.28pm. Predictable Labor gains: Ashgrove, Brisbane Central, Bulimba, Cairns, Capalaba, Cook, Greenslopes, Ipswich, Ipswich West, Keppel, Logan, Lytton, Morayfield, Nudgee, Sandgate, Townsville, Waterford, Yeerongpilly. Less predictable: Barron River, Algester, Bundaberg, Kallangur, Mirani, Murrumba, Pine Rivers, Redlands, Stretton, Tooowoomba North.

7.25pm. Labor looks like winning Barron River, but LNP predicted to retain Mundingburra, so a mixed picture up north.

7.23pm. Just stepped out for an ABC News Radio appearance, come back and see the ABC computer is now projecting 42 seats for Labor, which is certainly minority government territory. Wayne Swan talking up Murrumba big time, so clearly a huge swing in that outer northern Brisbane sweet spot where so many seats stand to be won and lost.

7.13pm. Whitsunday perhaps a slight disappointment for Labor – ABC projecting LNP ahead.

7.12pm. More good news for Labor: Wayne Swan talking up Pine Rivers, Labor ahead in Burleigh, a few obvious gains like Yeerongpilly, Greenslopes (though somewhat modest swing there), Ipswich. Labor holds Redcliffe and wins Stretton, the latter being a strong result. The verdict: the LNP will struggle to keep a majority.

7.10pm. Townsville to Labor. Kallangur though is the most exciting result for Labor yet.

7.05pm. Cairns and Kallangur called for Labor, and so apparently are Gladstone and Mackay, which might otherwise have gone independent.

7.03pm. With talk of a 9% swing, and nothing yet locked down for Labor above that range, the results are still consistent with the LNP getting over the line – but I attach a very big zone of uncertainty to that observation. And clearly Newman has lost Ashgrove.

7.01pm. Huge swing in Toowoomba South – not winnable for Labor, but presumably stands them in good stead for Toowoomba North.

7.00pm. Labor ahead in Bundaberg, which is great news for them. Close in Pine Rivers, with big 13% LNP margin.

6.58pm. Newman gone in Ashgrove, if what I just caught on the screen is any guide. More calls from the ABC computer: Labor to gain Ipswich West, Lytton, Capalaba, Stafford as well as the aforementioned Mirani. Shane Knuth to hold Dalrymple for the KAP.

6.52pm. First booth from Bulimba has a modest but sufficient swing to Labor. This seat swung relatively mildly in 2012, so it stands to reason the swing this time might be below par as well. Labor on track to win Nudgee – no surprise there.

6.50pm. ABC computer now has enough results in from Mirani to say something about it, which is “ALP ahead”.

6.49pm. Antony still grappling with tiny early results.

6.40pm. The very early result in Lockyer looked vaguely interesting for Pauline Hanson, though lack of preferences will surely thwart her.

6.38pm. Over 5% counted in Mirani, on the primary vote least. The 2PP swing is 12.2%, just enough to deliver the seat to Labor, but that’s only from about 600 votes, the 2PP count being some distant behind the primary.

6.35pm. “All over the shop outside of urban areas”, says Possum, who has his act together sooner than I do. “Big indie, KAP and PUP votes in some places, smashing the LNP primary”.

6.33pm. I’m not telling you anything here you wouldn’t already know, but for the record, Leroy Lynch relates the exit polling in comment. Usual story for the Galaxy state poll: it would only be of use if we knew what seats, and what the swing was. But clearly Newman is gone in Ashgrove, and the whole show looks like being worse than expected for the LNP.

6.26pm. So there are exit polls, and they show frankly astounding result for Labor. Perhaps this means the Ashgrove debacle has driven late-deciders to Labor in their droves. I suspect there is at least an element of that. But exit polls generally target particular electorates, and are difficult to read if you don’t know which ones or how they’ve gone about it.

6.25pm. Otherwise, it’s the usual early count story of tiny booths coming in from rural electorates.

6.23pm. I’ll say this much: Ben Hopper doesn’t look like he’s going to do much in Condamine, so mark that one down for the LNP.

6.15pm. Polls closed 15 minutes ago. I’ve been distracted for the past hour or so, but I understand the exit polls were interesting. More on that shortly. I see a booth from Warrego is in, but there’ll be nothing worth discussing for at least half an hour.

Newspoll, Galaxy and ReachTEL: 52-48 to LNP; Galaxy: 55-45 to Labor in Ashgrove

An epic Queensland election day overview encompassing late polling, seat result modelling, seats to watch (i.e. most of them), and a big colourful map.

The last three statewide polls of the Queensland election campaign have spoken with marvellous unanimity, and they are joined by an Ashgrove poll from Galaxy that emphatically confirms the impression to emerge from ReachTEL on Tuesday that Campbell Newman is headed for defeat at the hands of Labor’s Kate Jones. First the state polls:

• The Newspoll survey for The Australian reached 1682 respondents between Tuesday and Thursday, offering a refrain with which you will shortly become familiar: a lead to the Liberal National Party of 52-48 on two-party preferred, with the LNP on 41% of the primary vote and Labor on 37%. For the minor parties, the Greens were on 6%, Katter’s Australian Party was on 2%, and Palmer United was as usual rolled into “others” – a bit unfortunately, given that PUP is fielding candidates in 50 seats and KAP is doing so in only 11. Campbell Newman’s approval rating of 35% was down six points on the survey Newspoll conducted at the start of the campaign, while his disapproval was up seven to 58%. Annastacia Palaszczuk’s ratings were little changed, with approval steady on 38% and disapproval up two to 40%. Newman’s modest 42-38 lead from the earlier poll as preferred premier was all but erased, the latest resulting putting it at 43-42.

• The Galaxy poll for the Courier-Mail was likewise conducted between Tuesday and Thursday, though with a much more modest sample of 800. Nonetheless, the result was exactly identical to Newspoll on two-party preferred and both major parties’ primary votes. The Greens were slightly higher at 8%, Katter’s Australian Party the same at 2%, and a result was offered for Palmer United, that being 4%. Preferred premier too was all but identical to Newspoll, except that the one-point lead was in favour of Palaszczuk, who had gone from a 45-40 deficit in the Galaxy poll at the start of the campaign to a lead of 45-44. She also had a slight 44-41 edge on the question of who had performed better during the campaign.

• Were ReachTEL in the business of rounding its results to whole numbers, it too might have come in the same as Newspoll and Galaxy for the major parties on both two-party and primary measures. The automated phone poll was conducted on Thursday night from a sample of 1560, and had the LNP on 41.5% of the primary vote, Labor on 37.2%, the Greens on 7.5% and Palmer United on 4.4%. On the question of who would win, there was a clean 60-40 split in favour of the LNP. There were also further questions on leader approval which you can read about in the link.

I have plugged all that into my poll tracker model, the output of which you can see in the sidebar. On every measure, the three polls have made next to no difference to the result that came out last week when the previous statewide ReachTEL poll was added to the model. The LNP is still credited with a modest absolute majority of 52 seats out of 89, and Labor with a total of 34 which, although being nearly five times what it was able to manage in 2012, still leaves it well out of contention for victory.

There are as always a few caveats that need to be added here. The modest allocation of three seats to “others” is based simply on an assumption that minor party and independent candidates elected in 2012 who are recontesting this time – namely Mount Isa MP Rob Katter and Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth of Katter’s Australian Party, and independent Peter Wellington in Nicklin – will win re-election, and that all other seats will divide between the LNP and Labor. While such results are extremely difficult to predict, it seems there are plausible prospects for independents in Maryborough, Burdekin and Gaven, which the model allocates to the LNP, and also in Mackay and Gladstone, which go to Labor. That said, it is by no means certain that the aforementioned three incumbents will win election. Nonetheless, if the evidently sour mood towards the LNP was to cause independents to poach traditionally conservative seats, the projected LNP majority would look that little more precarious.

Then there is the issue of preferences, which pollsters generally are assuming will behave as they did in 2012. This is problematic, since 11% of the vote in 2012 was for Katter’s Australian Party, which this time is contesting only 11 seats, most of them conservative rural strongholds. There is also a strong case to be made that Left hostility towards the Newman government, stimulated by a “put the LNP last” messages being waged by the union movement which appears to have gained a certain traction on social media, will substantially reverse a trend that saw the just-vote-one rate among Greens voters steadily ascend from 23.6% at the 1995 election to a peak of 50.1% in 2012. My poll tracker attempts to account for this by using a model to determine the preference distribution, but its assumptions are conservative and its result not dramatically different from those produced by the pollsters. The impact of all this should not be overestimated, but it’s certainly plausible that this brace of 52-48 results is really more like 51-49, which would chip away a little more at that LNP seat tally.

If these two factors are added together, and the swing is distributed in a sufficiently inopportune fashion, it certainly could be that the LNP is unable to make it to the magic number of 45 out of 89. However, there are quite a few stars that need to align in order for that to happen, and it would seem that far the most likely outcome is that the LNP makes it over the line – minus one Premier. For the other poll to report today is a survey of Ashgrove from Galaxy, which finds Campbell Newman with a devastating 55-45 deficit against Kate Jones (although I’m unable to locate a sample size). The primary votes are 48% for Jones, 42% for Newman and 8% for the Greens, all of which sits very comfortably with the poll conducted on Tuesday evening by ReachTEL, the result of which was 46.5% for Jones, 42.3% for Newman, 8.2% for the Greens and a two-party Labor lead of 54-46. Possum Comitatus posted the following insight into Newman’s fortunes in Ashgrove, derived from union polling over the past term:

Today’s papers offer the following:

• According to Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail, “insiders last night expected Labor to win Cairns, Cook, Townsville and Thuringowa but fall short in Barron River and Mundingburra”. Whitsunday and Mirani “remain tight races while Keppel was expected to swing to Labor”. The Gold Coast seats of Burleigh and Broadwater are “vulnerable”, apparently thanks to Mermaid Beach MP Ray Stevens. In Brisbane, “the LNP faces significant swings against it but may cling on in Sunnybank, Stretton, Ferny Grove and Murrumba but lose a swag of others, including Bulimba, Waterford, Lytton, Greenslopes, Sandgate and Nudgee”. As for Ashgrove, insiders from both camps reportedly expect it will be “tighter than the polls are predicting”.

• Elsewhere in the Courier-Mail, Paul Williams of Griffith University says “the early feedback was Mackay’s former mayor Julie Boyd was a threat, but I’ve heard she has fizzled”.

• In The Australian, Michael McKenna reports that “insiders from both major parties say their tracking shows that the swings are patchy, and some traditional Labor seats – which fell to the LNP for the first time in decades in 2012 – are inflating statewide polling”. A Labor source is quoting saying they expect to gain only 20 to 25 seats, but offers that “our support was falling last week but as come back in the past few days”.

To help guide you through an extremely complex election, I offer you the colour-coded map at the bottom of the post, which being embedded in Google Maps can be zoomed in and out of and navigated around at well, and the following region-by-region review. The colours of the boundary outlines shown in the map correspond with the ten regions detailed below. The filled colouring for each electorate works as follows. There are three shades of blue, of which the deepest indicates a safe seat for the LNP, the middle shade is a seat that could go either way, and the light shade means an anticipated Labor gain. I’ve played this by ear a little, but generally speaking a seat is rated a certain Labor gain if the margin is less than about 6%, and a certain LNP retain if upwards of 13%. Red indicates a seat Labor won in 2012; the tint is lighter in the case of Mackay, to signify that it might fall to an independent. If a seat is held by an independent or the KAP and seems to have any chance of staying that way, it’s in grey.

Taking all that together, and to give you an idea of how difficult this election is to read, I’ve got 33 seats which I’m confident will be won by the LNP, 21 ditto for Labor, 25 designated seats-to-watch, and 10 which are complicated by an independent or the KAP. Of that 10, there are three that might be won by Labor (Mackay, Gladstone and Mount Isa), or four if you want to be generous and throw in Gaven. Condamine, Dalrymple, Nicklin, Burdekin and Nanango will be won by the LNP if they’re not won by an independent or the KAP. Mount Isa, Maryborough or (just maybe) Gaven could be counted as three-cornered contests.

Inner Brisbane (LNP 9, Labor 1)

In what would ordinarily be perhaps Labor’s strongest area, its only win in 2012 was Anna Bligh’s seat of South Brisbane. Labor unconvincingly retained South Brisbane at a by-election when Bligh quit shortly afterwards, and emphatically gained Stafford at a by-election in July last year. Labor should have little trouble recovering Brisbane Central, Mount Coot-tha, Bulimba, Greenslopes and Yeerongpilly. Greenslopes was corroborated by a Galaxy poll a fortnight ago which had Labor with a lead of 59-41. Yeerongpilly is held by Carl Judge, who won the seat for the LNP in 2012 but later parted company with the party, and now seeks to retain it as an independent. Labor’s by-election win in Stafford should stand it in good stead there, but the 7.1% margin from the 2014 election means I’m not giving it away. Then there is Ashgrove, scene of the election’s million dollar question. There is now voluminous evidence that it will go Labor’s way, but under the circumstances I’m erring on the side of caution.

Northern Brisbane (LNP 12, Labor 0)

Brisbane’s suburbs are a mother lode of seats that could go either way. I’ve identified Nudgee, Sandgate and Morayfield as seats Labor should win easily, and their task in Redcliffe should be greatly assisted by the fact that it’s now held for them by Yvette D’Ath following her big win in the by-election of last February. Apart than that, apart from two safe LNP seats, everything is rated as up for grabs: Everton (13.2%), Ferny Grove (9.5%), Kallangur (12.4%), Pine Rivers (13.7%), Murrumba (9.5%), Redcliffe (10.1%) and Pumicestone (12.1%). I’m told Labor is expecting big swings in Kallangur and Pine Rivers, which despite their present formidable margins were in Labor hands before 2012, and the LNP’s behaviour tells us it is very worried about Murrumba. However, a Galaxy poll of Pumicestone a fortnight ago had the LNP leading 52-48.

Southern Brisbane (LNP 13, Labor 2)

I’ve identified Lytton, Capalaba, Waterford and Logan as certain Labor gains. I observe that Possum‘s localised polling map doesn’t look great for Labor in Capalaba, but he advises that this should not be taken too literally, and it seems hard to believe Labor would be unable to knock over a margin of 3.7%. In the balance are Algester (9.1%), Stretton (9.6%), Sunnybank (10.2%) and Mansfield (11.1%). The strength of the LNP margins in Stretton and Sunnybank is something of a puzzle to me, given how multicultural they are. Mansfield is one of the state’s most reliable bellwethers, as traditionally has been Springwood, but such is its 15.4% margin that I’m leaving it in the LNP column. Worth keeping an eye on though.

Ipswich (LNP 2, Labor 1)

Labor did very badly to lose the seat of Ipswich (margin 4.2%) in 2012, and only to a slightly lesser extent Ipswich West (7.2%), while retaining the seat of Bundamba. I’ve got Ipswich down as a done deal, but Ipswich West will be that little bit harder.

Gold Coast (LNP 10, Labor 0)

Despite Labor’s success here in the Beattie years, the Gold Coast traditionally votes conservative, its three federal seats all being safe for the LNP. I’ve identified Albert (11.9%), Broadwater (11.3%) and Burleigh (11.0%) as seats where Labor might be a show, but I wouldn’t have my money on them. Certainly a poll conducted by ReachTEL this week for the Gold Coast Bulletin (see at bottom of post) suggests swings will be in the high single figures, and not double as required. The other big point of interest here is Gaven, which LNP dissident Alex Douglas is seeking to defend as an independent. This may emerge as a seat where the LNP’s just-vote-one mantra doesn’t do them any favours, as conservative vote-splitting might create an opening for Labor. However, I’m hearing an LNP win is the most likely result.

Sunshine Coast (LNP 6, Independent 1, Labor 0)

Labor aren’t seriously competitive here, so the only point of interest is whether Peter Wellington gets re-elected as an independent in Nicklin.

Central Coast (LNP 9, Labor 2, Independent 1)

Perhaps demonstrating the advantage of long-term incumbency in regional seats, Labor managed to retain Rockhampton and Mackay here in 2012. They also got cleaned up in a number of seats which are traditionally marginal at state level, and good enough for Labor federally to win them the seat of Capricornia a lot more often than not. That leaves a three seats in the vicinity of Rockhampton and Mackay which are on the Labor watch list, namely Keppel (6.4%), Whitsunday (10.7%) and Mirani (11.2%). Mirani stayed conservative through the Beattie years, but Labor was strengthened when the 2009 redistribution merged the electorate with the abolished Labor-held seat of Fitzroy. Veteran LNP member Ted Malone is retiring, and long-serving former Fitzroy MP Jim Pearce is contesting the seat for Labor. Three seats in the area are identified as being vulnerable to independents. Two of these are held by the LNP, namely Maryborough and Burdekin, which are respectively facing highly rated challenges from Chris Foley, who held the seat from 2003 until his very narrow defeat in 2012, and BJ Davison. In Mackay, the retirement of Labor member Tim Mulherin is coinciding with a strong run from former local mayor Julie Boyd. NB: My graphic overlay for Gympie doesn’t seem to be working: if it was, it would be down as safe LNP.

Northern Coast (LNP 7, Labor 1)

Encompassing Cairns and Townsville, which are both more-or-less home to three electorates, along with rural Hinchinbrook and the Top End electorate of Cook, Labor has very high hopes here. Galaxy helped light the way here a fortnight ago by targeting all the Cairns and Townsville seats with automated phone polls, showing Labor ahead in all three Townsville seats – by 58-42 in Townsville (margin 4.8%), 52-48 in Thuringowa (no margin as Labor came third in 2012) and 51-49 in Mundingburra (10.2%) – and two of the three Cairns seats, by 53-47 in Cairns (8.9%) and 61-39 in Mulgrave, the one seat in the region it currently holds. In the other Cairns seat, Barron River (9.5%), the result was 50-50. Of those six, I’ve got Townsville and Mulgrave down for Labor and the others on the watch list, and it also seems generally presumed that Labor will win Cook.

Urban Hinterland (LNP 5, Labor 0)

Labor’s only show here is Toowoomba North, where former Attorney-General Kerry Shine was defeated in 2012 and is now seeking to win the seat back. Nanango is down on the watch list because Condamine MP Ray Hopper is running here in a bid to extend the empires of his own family and Katter’s Australian Party (see under Interior below), but it’s hard to believe he can knock off Deb Frecklington.

Interior (LNP 5, KAP 2, Labor 0)

Three seats here are held by Katter’s Australian Party, including two that were won at the 2012 election – Mount Isa by Rob Katter, and Dalrymple by Shane Knuth – plus Condamine, which was won for the LNP by Ray Hopper, who jumped ship for the KAP over the course of the term. Hopper, who entered parliament in 2001 as an independent but shortly joined the Nationals, is now seeking to poach Nanango from the LNP, leaving Condamine to be contested by his son, Ben Hopper (see under Urban Hinterland above). It seems unlikely that either Hopper gambit will pay off, and such is the KAP’s parlous state that even Katter and Knuth can’t take anything for granted, although both would probably be slightly favoured.

Queensland election minus one day

A calm-before-the-storm post, ahead of a flood of late polling to hit us this evening, followed tomorrow by the only poll that matters.

Just a few things to run by you, pending a more complete review of the situation tomorrow, together with late polling of which there will presumably be a good deal.

Essential Research released a poll compiled from its regular weekly surveying over the past three weekends. The sample is a very modest 566, and the result not terribly timely, but let it be noted nonetheless that the poll has it at 50-50, with primary votes of 39% for the Liberal National Party, 38% for Labor, 7% for the Greens and 5% for Palmer United.

• I’ve finally gotten around to adding campaign updates to my election guide, so you can now find individual electorate entries appended with poll results and accounts of incidents during the campaign period where applicable.

• The one campaign update that won’t sound familiar to followers of my blog posts relates to the electorate of Mackay, and it reads thus: “There has been widespread talk that Labor’s hold on the seat is under serious threat from independent candidate Julie Boyd, explaining Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision to visit the electorate the Tuesday before polling day. Boyd served as mayor from 1997 to 2008 and made three bids for LNP preselection federally before quitting the party, complaining she had been told she had ‘not made enough tea and bickies’ to win support.”

• For more on Mackay and other independent prospects, I had a good deal to say in a paywalled piece for Crikey yesterday.

UPDATE: The Gold Coast Bulletin reports that a ReachTEL poll of 1115 voters on the Gold Coast, conducted at an unspecified time this week, had the LNP on 48.3% and Labor on 29.4%, compared with 58.3% and 23.7% at the 2012 election. The paper also reports that internal polling by both Labor and Palmer United suggest Albert, with a margin of 11.9%, is “in play”, and that Labor is “hopeful of a win” in Broadwater, margin 11.3%.

ReachTEL: 54-46 to Labor in Ashgrove

A new poll finds Campbell Newman in desperate straits in the race for his seat of Ashgrove.

Courtesy of the Seven Network, ReachTEL offers what is perhaps a note of insight into the tone of panic that has been emerging lately from the Campbell Newman campaign, with no sign of the late-campaign surge that powered him to victory in Ashgrove in 2012. Labor’s lead has in fact increased from 53-47 in the January 13 poll to a formidable 54-46, from primary votes of 46.5% from Labor’s Kate Jones (down 1.1%), 42.3% for Newman (down 1.4%) and 8.2% for the Greens, up a solid 2.8%. The poll was conducted yesterday by automated phone polling from a sample of 861; full results here.

Queensland election minus three days

Tide yourself over in the calm before the late-campaign polling storm with an assemblage of campaign bits and pieces compiled from news media reportage.

Nothing on the public polling front for the Queensland election since Saturday’s odd effort from Newspoll, but this evening’s Seven News will have an Ashgrove poll conducted by ReachTEL last night. There are also reports that Newspoll and Galaxy are in the field, but presumably we won’t see anything from that until Friday. I must get around at some point to adding campaign updates to my election guide entries – when I do, they will say things like this:

• Dennis Atkins wrote in the Courier-Mail on Friday of Labor internal polling showing Campbell Newman’s net approval rating had slid from minus 21% to minus 35% since the campaign began, while Annastacia Palaszczuk had gone from plus 8% to plus 14%. Those who wish to file this under they-would-say-that may of course feel free to do so. However, Michael McKenna of The Australian today reports talk from “LNP insiders” that Newman had blundered when he suggested that Labor had been receiving donations from bikie gangs during Friday’s leaders debate. As one such insider put it: “When he gets stroppy, goes on the attack, his numbers goes down”.

• Michael McKenna of The Australian observes that Campbell Newman’s all-important seat of Ashgrove, “covers a republican stronghold in the failed 1999 referendum largely opposed by the rest of Queensland”, the significance of which at present will not require reiterating.

• Jason Tin of the Courier-Mail today reports that Annastacia Palaszczuk has “launched a final-week blitz of key seats, targeting areas that would require a swing of up to 13.6 per cent to return to Labor”. Yesterday she had visits to the Brisbane seats of Brisbane Central, Pine Rivers and Kallangur wrapped up early, then flew to Cairns and Mackay.

• As of Saturday at least, Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail continued to pitch at the low end of market expectations in his reading of the likely outcome, reporting that “the LNP regaining office after losing between 15 and 20 seats is the outcome insiders from both parties believe will occur”. As for Ashgrove: “Behind the scenes the LNP is confident, maybe overconfident.”

• Mark Ludlow of the Financial Review last week reported that retiring independent MP Liz Cunningham believed her seat of Gladstone was likely to be won by Labor due to local anger over the government’s plan to make the city’s port a key element of its plan to lease public assets to pay down debt. This did not bespeak great confidence for the prospects of independent candidate Craig Butler, who she has endorsed as her successor.

• There is vague talk emerging about Pauline Hanson’s prospects in Lockyer, but it might just be the struggle for a headline talking. In today’s Courier-Mail, Matthew Killoran reports it is “believed” that Hanson “could surprise the field”, while Dennis Atkins relates that “some people on the ground say she is getting plenty of sympathy”. However, Atkins also concedes that “Labor’s standing appears to have recovered enough to put its candidate in second place” – not that Labor is in fact directing preferences to Hanson ahead of the LNP member, Ian Rickuss.

• In an article by Matthew Killoran of the Courier-Mail, Paul Williams of Griffith University rates highly the chances of independents Chris Foley in Maryborough, who held the seat from 2003 until his defeat in 2012 by Anne Maddern of the LNP, and former local mayor Julie Boyd in Mackay, which is being vacated by Labor’s Tim Mulherin.

• Ray Stevens, the LNP member for the Gold Coast seat of Mermaid Beach, learned the hard way last week about the existence of things called social media and the internet, following his peculiar non-response to questions posed by David Donovan of pro-Labor website Independent Australia. Stevens’ now-famous bird impersonation was caught on camera; Donovan did not prove of a mind to accede to his request that it not be published; and the results went, as the young folks apparently like to say, “viral”. The issue related to Stevens’ contentious involvement in a cable car project on which government approval is pending. Stevens’ long-established point-blank refusal to answer questions on the subject has long been exercising elements of the media, particularly the Gold Coast Bulletin.

• Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail itemises the specific targets of Campbell Newman’s vote-for-us-or-else strategy, on which I had a good deal to say in Crikey yesterday. In Ipswich, a $1.5 million cycling facility would only proceed, according to Newman’s construction, if LNP incumbent Ian Berry was around to put it forward for the government’s Get in the Game program. Lytton MP Neil Symes was likewise the only conceivable person who Newman wished to hear a word about with respect to a promised (if that’s the right word) $300,000 upgrade to the facilities of the Wynnum Manly Seagulls rugby league club, and $100,000 for lighting upgrades for the Wynnum Bugs Rugby Club. Likewise, voters in Bulimba, Rockhampton and Murrumba will respectively know what to do if they want an upgrade to facilities at the Morningside Panthers AFL Club, a $1 million skate facility, and a roundabout upgrade.

• Amid high hopes for their prospects in north Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk last week visited the Keppel electorate to promise $30 million in spending on fishing facilities around the state, to be funded by “economic growth”.

• An article from Paul Syvret in the Courier-Mail offers some interesting factoids about electoral geography. In relation to Brisbane Central:

Since 2012 about 42 per cent of the population who were enrolled to vote in the last election have moved out … while the average age of voters has dropped to 42, one of the lowest in the state. In fact, since 2012 there has been a 40 per cent increase in enrolled voters under the age of 30, as thousands of younger Queenslanders move into the medium-high density apartment developments mushrooming in areas such as Bowen Hills, Teneriffe and Kelvin Grove.

And from retiring Labor MP Tim Mulherin concerning his electorate of Mackay:

“The big demographic change began with the mining boom. We had a massive influx of blue collar workers who I initially thought would be natural Labor voters, but they were also affluent, aspirational and earning huge wages; they were swinging voters.” Most of those workers have now left, he says, as the construction phase of the mining boom ebbs. “As things stabilise I don’t expect the wild swings we’ve seen recently,” Mulherin says.

And more generally:

According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the fastest population growth areas in the state are Pimpama north of the Gold Coast, Woolloongabba, Derragun in Townsville’s outer suburbs, the North Lakes-Mango Hill area in the northern Brisbane seat of Murrumba and Ooralea in South Mackay. Areas around Brisbane such as the Lockyer Valley and the “nappy valley” suburbs like North Lakes and Springfield Lakes recorded the highest nominal population growth in the year to June 2013, with Upper Coomera-Willow Vale (in the electorate of Albert) adding more than 2000 residents in just 12 months.