It is likely that a number of these Brisbane seats will fall to the LNP. Assuming the Galaxy poll html is a reasonable point in time reflection of voters’ intentions and there is a 50:50 split in two party preferred, that would represent a 4.9 percent turnaround since 2006. There are 12 Labor seats that would fall if this is a uniform swing – but the stark reality of the numbers means that would still leave the government with a comfortable working majority.
Possum (Scott Steel) publishes the complete Galaxy poll data at Pineapple Party Time (the Crikey group blog devoted to the Queensland election). With a low sample size of 800 people, there is a significant 3.5 percent margin of error. However, apart from whimsically suggesting that the data marked “NFI” (No further information) actually stands for “No Fucking Idea”, Possum leaves the analysis of the poll to his stablemate William Bowe.
Bowe begins by turning to his home state of WA for comparison. He analyses a Galaxy poll prior to the WA election last year and points out similarities and differences between the two states. While the WA Coalition lead on health issues was replicated by the LNP, Labor polled better on water, education and law and order in Queensland. They also did well in roads and public transport, issues not in the WA survey, However Bowe cautions the Queensland survey didn’t appear to include an important question that was asked in the WA one: “Has the decision to call an early election made you more or less likely to vote for the Labor Party?” In WA over a quarter of the respondents said the early election decision made it less likely.
As I’ve written before, an early election is Labor’s biggest danger. Malcolm McKerras predicted earlier this year Anna Bligh would be re-elected Premier (despite a 50:50 two party preferred vote) but he also cautioned she would call an early election “at her peril.” Many would agree with the Queensland Greens who say Bligh’s decision to hold an early election is bad for democracy. They want fixed four year terms and want to stop governments from rigging elections “by calling them at a time that takes advantage of wavering public opinion.”
This election is about how Labor could lose government, not how the LNP can win. As Brian Costar writes, Queensland is beset by serious infrastructure deficiencies in water, health and transport infrastructure. The advantages of incumbency have turned into the staleness of entrenched power. According to LNP supporter Russell Egan, Springborg has one huge advantage in this election: “he hasn’t been in government for 11 years and doesn’t have to explain why not a single inch of new highway or rail has been laid for 11 years, why our hospitals are clogged with elective surgery waiting lists and schools are being outgrown by ballooning outer suburbia.” Three weeks tomorrow, the voters will get their chance to vent their anger. Bligh will be hoping she gets away with a bollocking, but not the sack.