Wednesday 28 September 2011

Queensland Labor Government would be washed away

Anna Bligh stranded as post-disaster support surge washes away
QLD Newspoll primary vote
Source: The Australian

Anna Bligh is facing a landslide defeat at the Queensland election next March, with the latest Newspoll showing Labor's primary vote has slumped to almost half that of the Liberal National Party.

The record surge in popularity that Ms Bligh enjoyed after her widely lauded performance during Queensland's summer of disasters has been almost wiped out, with the government's primary vote now sitting at 27 per cent, just one point above its pre-Christmas depths when a leadership change was being mooted.

The state Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian from July to this month, reveals that as the Campbell Newman-led Liberal National Party now holds a 22-point lead on a two-party-preferred basis, Labor could be left with as few as 13 seats in the 89-seat parliament.

After the distribution of preferences, the LNP is on 61 per cent against Labor's 39 per cent.

The figures show the ALP in Queensland is headed for a similar rout to that suffered by the party in NSW earlier this year. At a similar stage in the electoral cycle, the NSW Labor government led by Kristina Keneally had 23 per cent of the primary vote; at the election six months later, in March this year, Labor lost 30 seats in the 93-seat parliament.

Unlike NSW, Queensland does not have fixed terms of parliament, but Ms Bligh must face the voters at an election before March next year - the first government to face voters after the announcement of federal Labor's carbon tax deal.

The Queensland Newspoll also suggests that the newly registered federal MP Bob Katter's Australian Party is bleeding primary support from both Labor and the LNP.

Since the last Newspoll, published in May, Labor's primary vote has slipped from 31 to 27 per cent, while the LNP has slipped from 51 to 50 per cent.

The Greens have picked up only one percentage point to give them a standing of 8 per cent, but the biggest mover is the minor parties and independents, which have soaked up an extra four percentage points, which has most likely gone to Mr Katter's party.

Mr Newman, who quit as Brisbane's lord mayor in March to lead the LNP from outside parliament, continues to hold a big lead over Ms Bligh as preferred premier despite his lack of experience in the parliament.

Shortly after the Queensland floods, Ms Bligh staged the biggest comeback in Newspoll history. At the time, she was preferred premier over then LNP leader John-Paul Langbroek by a margin of 53 per cent to 26 per cent. Now, Mr Newman is leading Ms Bligh as preferred premier by 48 per cent to 34 per cent.

The was also a small drop in Ms Bligh's satisfaction rating, with a two percentage point rise in dissatisfaction to 52 per cent offset by a two point drop in satisfaction to 38 per cent.

The only comfort for Labor is that Mr Newman's dissatisfaction rating has risen from 22 per cent to 27 per cent, but even this has not translated into a direct problem for the ALP, with the wavering voters in this category reserving their views about Mr Newman rather than expressly changing them.

Mr Newman, who will contest the Brisbane seat of Ashgrove, has not made any major policy announcements since the April-June Newspoll and has been strongly attacked by the ALP over several weeks about his financial interests.

The poll results suggest the ALP attack is not having any impact on the electorate.

The Newspoll also shows the steady decline in the ALP's fortunes since the last election in March 2009, with the only pick-up being in the first quarter of this year.

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