Queensland election: highlights of week two

ReachTEL once again comes in a few points better for the LNP than other pollsters, while Galaxy Research finds there’s nothing in it between Labor and the Greens in Deputy Premier Jackie Trad’s seat of South Brisbane.

Yesterday’s Sunday Mail had results from a ReachTEL poll of 3435 respondents conducted on Thursday, but rather than report the voting intention results, the paper instead focused on detail about the attitudes and demographics of the poll’s unidentified share of One Nation supporters. Sky News later reported the poll had the LNP with a two-party lead of 52-48, which is unchanged from the last ReachTEL poll in late September, and consistent with the pollster’s recent form. ReachTEL’s three state polls this year have been unique out of the 11 published overall in having the LNP slightly ahead on two-party preferred, rather than slightly behind. Part of the reason is the high 74.5% flow of respondent-allocated preferences from One Nation to the LNP.

Also from the Sunday Mail report:

their education is evenly split, with 31.7 per cent holding a university degree and 29.5 per cent a TAFE certificate, while 31.1 per cent ended their learning after high school, and just over 6 per cent completed their learning after primary school. While some work in construction and mining (9.4 per cent) and others in transport, health, retail and manufacturing, almost 40 per cent of One Nation supporters say they are retired or unemployed. About the same percentage live in households that are trying to make ends meet on less than $50,000 a year, and very few (4.9 per cent) earn more than $200,000. Politically, 45.7 per cent voted for the LNP at the last Queensland election, while 19.8 per cent supported Labor, and 21.1 per cent Katter’s Australian Party.

Today’s Courier-Mail has one last result from the nine electorate-level polls conducted for it last week by Galaxy Research, offering the very big finding that Deputy Premier Jackie Trad is indeed under substantial pressure from the Greens in her seat of South Brisbane. Continue reading “Queensland election: highlights of week two”

Strike two: the Bennelong by-election

Some recent historical perspective on another looming federal by-election.

Hot on the heels of Barnaby Joyce’s disqualification by the High Court, there is now a second Section-44 related by-election on the way following Saturday’s resignation announcement by John Alexander, the Liberal member for Bennelong. As in Joyce’s seat of New England, reports suggest the government will act quickly to get the by-election over and done with, which could mean writs being issued today for a pre-Christmas poll on December 16. Whereas the New England by-election looks like being nothing more than an expensive diversion that will shortly restore Joyce to his place in parliament, Bennelong is a loseable seat, as John Howard memorably discovered on the occasion of his government’s defeat in 2007.

As you can see on the sidebar, I now have guides up for both the New England and Bennelong, although the latter as yet has no detail to relate concerning candidates other than Alexander. For some perspective on how much danger the goverment is in, the chart below compares results in federal and state by-elections that were contested by both the Coalition and the Labor going back to the 1980s with the state of play in opinion polls at the relevant time. Results in both cases are conceived in terms of swings to the government party, which in the case of opinion polling is determined either through the most recent Newspoll or, where available, my own poll trend measurement.

The red line constitutes a line of best fit for the available data, which suggests that there is indeed a relationship between polling and by-election results, even if it’s far from ironclad. The Turnbull government has been looking at an adverse swing of around 3% in poll trend measures for some time now, which translates into a typical by-election swing of around 8% – not quite enough to erase Alexander’s margin in Bennelong of 9.7%. However, it today’s 55-45 result from Newspoll is more indicative of the government’s true form, the anticipated swing lands right on the mark. A comparable feat was achieved by Labor at the by-election for the Brisbane seat of Ryan in February 2001, at which a Liberal margin of 9.5% was barely accounted for by a swing of 9.7%.

Newspoll: 55-45 to Labor

Bill Shorten almost matches Malcolm Turnbull on preferred prime minister, as the Coalition cops its worst Newspoll result since February.

Newspoll breaks out of its long-established 53-47 to 54-46 rut by recording Labor with a two-party lead of 55-45, compared with 54-46 a fortnight ago. On the primary vote, Labor is up one to 38%, the Coalition down one to 34%, One Nation is up one to 10% and the Greens are down one to 9%. Malcolm Turnbull suffers a body blow on personal ratings, down two on approval to 29% and one on disapproval to 58%, and his lead on preferred prime minister all but disappears, now at 36-34 compared with 41-33 last time. Bill Shorten is up two on approval to 34% and down three on disapproval to 53%. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1625. Full report from The Australian.

UPDATE: The poll also finds Julie Bishop clearly favoured over Malcolm Turnbull to lead the Liberal Party, by 40% to 27%. Peter Dutton on 11%, being most favoured by One Nation voters on 24%.

Queensland election minus 15 days

One Nation goes for the scorched earth approach on preferences, published candidate lists bring forward an array of familiar names, and a poll finds opposition to taxpayer-funded loans to Adani.

A loose assortment of recent developments:

• The Courier-Mail reports One Nation is set to preference all sitting members second last, ahead of only the Greens. The report also says the LNP is now likely to direct preferences to Labor’s Jackie Trad ahead of Greens candidate Amy MacMahon in South Brisbane, despite earlier reports that a proposal to do the opposite had won wide support on the party’s state executive.

• Nominations closed on Tuesday, and the Poll Bludger’s election guide has now been brought up to date with full candidate lists in ballot paper order. A total of 453 candidates have nominated for the 93 seats – a record in absolute terms, although the 1998 election exceeded it for average number of candidates per seat. I count ten former LNP members defeated in 2015 who are seeking to make a comeback, including three running for One Nation and two as independents (One Nation’s count of former LNP members increases to four if Buderim MP Steve Dickson is included). Perhaps the most optimistic of the bunch is independent Redlands candidate Peter Dowling, whose career as the seat’s LNP member ended ignominiously in 2015 after a personal scandal and preselection defeat.

• The contest for the Rockhampton electorate has been shaken up by the entry of local mayor Margaret Strelow as an independent. Strelow ran for Labor preselection with the support of Annastacia Palaszczuk, but was rebuffed by the locally dominant Labor Unity/Old Guard faction in favour of Barry O’Rourke, regional director of the Department of Housing.

• The Courier-Mail reports a ReachTEL poll for the Stop Adani Alliance found 70% of respondents were opposed to taxpayers’ funds being loaned to the company. The poll was conducted from 1652 respondents ten days before Annastacia Palaszczuk announced she would veto any such loan.

• Betting markets continue to see nothing in it. Despite Labor’s shaky campaign, Ladbrokes has had Labor nudging to favouritism, paying $1.83 to the LNP’s $1.95, which reverses what was on offer at the start of the week. However, the movement merely brings it closer to Sportsbet’s $1.75 for Labor and $2 for the LNP, which has been unchanged over the past week.

Update: Galaxy electorate polls

The Courier-Mail has excitingly unrolled individual electorate poll results from Galaxy Research on an hourly basis:

• The surprise packet turns out to be southern metropolitan fringe seat of Logan, where One Nation candidate Scott Bannan is far outperforming his peers to record a slight primary vote deficit, of 35% to 33%, against Labor incumbent Linus Power. However, One Nation’s flow of respondent-allocated from the 20% LNP and 12% “others” voters is not enough to overturn the Labor lead, which finishes at 52-48.

• Aside from that, results for One Nation tend to be on the modest side. In the low-income retirement haven seat of Hervey Bay, which the party won in 1998, their candidate came in third with 25% of the vote, behind LNP incumbent Ted Sorensen on 38% and Labor on 31%. This converts into a 55-45 two-party lead for the LNP, compared with an existing post-redistribution margin of 6.5%.

• The poll credits the LNP with a crucial gain in Mundingburra, with One Nation again needing to make the final preference cut. Labor incumbent Coralee O’Rourke and LNP challenger Matthew Derlagen are finally matched on primary votes of 29% and 30% respectively, with Derlagen emerging 52-48 ahead after preferences, including from One Nation on 20% and Katter’s Australian Party on 12%.

• The Rockhampton result suggests Margaret Strelow – mayor, Labor preselection aspirant and now independent candidate – is unlikely to trouble Labor, recording only 14% of the vote. This accounts for most but not all of a drop in the Labor primary vote, from 52.9% in 2015 to 33%. Labor still holds a 58-42 after preferences, but this amounts to a 6% swing to the LNP. Primary votes of 23% for the LNP (down from 30.3%) and 22% for One Nation raise the possibility that it may be the latter that makes the final count, but they would have a steep hill to climb on preferences.

• Another independent recording weak numbers is Rob Pyne, the Labor-turned-independent incumbent in Cairns, who scores only 11%. Labor leads the LNP on the primary vote 37% to 32% and finishes 54-46 ahead on preferences, amounting to a 3.5% swing to the LNP.

• The new Gold Coast seat of Bonney registers at 50-50 result, for a swing to Labor of 2.2%.

• The Sunshine Coast hinterland seat of Glass House is also at 50-50, off a post-redistribution LNP margin of 0.9%.

BludgerTrack: 53.2-46.8 to Labor

As chaos mounts in Canberra, the situation on the polling front remains eerily quiet.

The recent action and excitement in federal politics continues to make no impression on the polls. This week’s reading of the BludgerTrack aggregate nudges very slightly to the Coalition on two-party preferred, but the vagaries of state breakdowns cause Labor to pick up two on the seat projection, with a gain apiece in New South Wales and Victoria. The only new addition this week is the regular Essential Research result, which provided no new data on leadership ratings. Full results on the sidebar.

ReachTEL: 53-47 to Nick Xenophon in Hartley

Further indications that Nick Xenophon has his nose in front in a competitive race against the Liberals in Hartley.

Seven News in South Australia has the second in what will evidently be many ReachTEL polls of the state seat of Hartley, which Nick Xenophon will contest at the election in March. The poll records primary vote support for Xenophon at 29.3%, with the Liberals on 36.4% and Labor on 20.7%, though this would not exclude an undecided component that is probably in the vicinity of 10%. After respondent-allocated distribution of Labor and other preferences, Xenophon emerges ahead 53-47 – equal to the result of a Galaxy poll result shortly after Xenophon announced his intentions a month ago, but better for him than the 50-50 result in a ReachTEL poll conducted at the same time. The poll also includes a preferred premier result which has Xenophon on 43.7%, Steven Marshall on 31.3% and Jay Weatherill on 25%. It was conducted last night from a sample of 610.