The looming Queensland election just got interesting. Well, actually, it’s been quite fascinating for a while but it just got even more interesting.
Take a look at this graph. Polling company ReachTEL conducted a survey of 616 residents of the all-important electorate of Ashgrove on February 9:
The primary vote of Campbell Newman — you remember, the unofficial leader of the LNP who hasn’t actually been elected yet — fell below 50% for the first time in the poll series. Labor’s Kate Jones picked up 3.4 percentage points since early January, and both candidates are now neck and neck.
The campaign proper kicks off on February 19 and Crikey has many treats in store. In the meantime, the flood inquiry rolls on as accusations of mismanagement of Wivenhoe Dam continue to be thrown around, Premier Anna Bligh has started appearing at fundraisers (despite her 2009 pledge to refrain from participating in “pay-per-view politics”), the opposition leader has gone to ground after his in-laws and their business dealings dominated headlines last week, and Bob Katter’s Australia Party is flinging mud early by accusing the Newman camp of funding last year’s controversial Rip & Roll safe s-x campaign.
Meanwhile, the spectre of Kevin Rudd at sausage sizzles across the state (not to mention speculation that he could launch a leadership bid off the back of an ALP drubbing) looms …
Brace yourselves as Queensland becomes the centre of the political universe.