News & Current Affairs
29 January 2015
Campbell Newman on brink of defeat in Ashgrove, Queensland poll shows
Labor’s Kate Jones extends lead on two-party-preferred basis to eight points, with uncertainty over who would lead LNP if premier is ousted
Ashgrove voters appear ready to vote Campbell Newman out of office, with a new poll showing the Queensland premier trailing his Labor opponent just four days before the election.
The ReachTEL poll commissioned by Seven News showed Newman had 46% of the two-party-preferred vote in his inner-west Brisbane seat, a drop of one point since a previous poll on 13 January.
Labor’s former Queensland environment minister, Kate Jones, who is following a low-key campaign strategy, had improved her two-party vote by one point to 54%.
The results are likely to trigger a fresh round of speculation about who would become premier if Newman lost his seat of Ashgrove and the LNP won Saturday’s state-wide election.
The poll of 861 Ashgrove voters on Tuesday evening also confirmed significant discontent with Newman’s governing style.
The telephone-based survey was conducted after Newman released his privatisation-based election costings and argued the LNP was the only side with a plan to “fund the future”.
The primary vote for both Newman and Jones declined since the previous ReachTEL poll, but a three-point increase in support for the Greens (now 8.2%) helped improve Labor’s two-party-preferred vote based on preference flows from the 2012 election.
Newman’s primary vote dropped from 43.7% to 42.3%, while first-preference support for Jones declined from 47.6% to 46.5%.
ReachTEL asked respondents who did not select the LNP as their first preference to choose from a list of reasons.
Nearly 24% of that group selected Newman’s “style of leadership” as the main reason for not voting for him, while a further 21.4% nominated the proposed asset-leasing program and 20.4% cited his performance as premier.
About 8% said they did not normally vote for the LNP, while a similar proportion cited Newman’s performance as a local member. Nearly 18% selected some “other” reason.
The poll’s stated margin of error was 3.3%.
In the leadup to the poll, media coverage focused on Newman’s claims that Labor should prove it was not receiving funding from bikie gangs, and his press conference on Monday when he determinedly repeated his message about jobs and the economy regardless of the question.
Tony Abbott, who is yet to join Newman on the campaign trail, acknowledged his decision on Monday to award a knighthood to Prince Philip had caused a distraction.
The premier has gambled his re-election prospects on his “strong plan” to raise $37bn through long-term leases on state assets including ports and electricity businesses. The proceeds would pay for new infrastructure and debt reduction.
The Labor leader, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has cast the election as a chance for voters to prevent privatisation and to have their say on Newman’s abrasive leadership style. Palaszczuk said she would release her party’s election costings on Thursday.
Newman holds the seat of Ashgrove with a margin of 5.7%, but a larger state-wide swing would be required for Labor to win government.
Newman has repeatedly argued the LNP would not retain government if he lost Ashgrove, and in the past few days has urged voters not to risk a hung parliament.
At an LNP fundraising event on Wednesday, Newman said polls showed a hung parliament was a “very real possibility” and argued this was a “recipe for chaos”.
“In uncertain times you need a strong team that sticks to a strong economic plan,” he said.
Newman’s LNP won 78 of the 89 seats in state parliament when it swept to power in 2012, leaving Labor with just seven seats. Although several seats have since returned to Labor in byelections, a close result in Saturday’s general election would represent a huge shift in sentiment away from the LNP.