With just two days until the Queensland election, Poll Bludger’s psephological wizard William Bowe covers the latest from the hustings – including a ReachTEL poll that indicates a 54.2-45.8 victory to the LNP in Campbell Newman’s all important seat of Ashgrove …

Nanango (Independent 2.9% versus LNP): The outgoing independent member, Dorothy Pratt, has endorsed independent candidate John Dalton, described by Antony Green’s election guide as “spokesman and secretary for the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group (KCCG) and Assistant School Principal at the St Mary’s Catholic College in Kingaroy, where he has worked for 22 years”. Sarah Elks of The Australian reports the LNP is expressing confidence that its candidate Deb Frecklington will win the seat in the face of the challenge from former Test cricketer Carl Rackemann, running for Katter’s Australian Party. Bob Katter is sounding somewhat more modest about his party’s chances than he was in the lead-up to the campaign, countenancing the possibility of it failing to win any seats. Katter says the legal challenge against ballot papers identifying the party merely as “The Australian Party” cost it “one-fifth to one-seventh of all of our money for fighting”, although it presumably went into that obviously doomed effort with its eyes open.

Ashgrove (Labor 7.1%): The Australian reports Labor is accusing the LNP of colluding with sand mining firm Sibelco in a campaign targeting Ashgrove residents over government moves to phase out its operations on North Stradbroke Island. Labor is querying how Sibelco has been able to obtain voters’ names and addresses, which appears to suggest access to a copy of the electoral roll — something that is only provided to candidates, parties, MPs and government authorities. Meanwhile, the results of ReachTEL’s final automated phone poll of Ashgrove for the campaign, conducted last night from a sample of 931, overturn last week’s result in favour of Labor’s Kate Jones and has Campbell Newman with a 54.2.-45.8 lead on two-party preferred, based on the preference distribution from the 2009 election. The primary votes were 49% for the LNP, 40.8% for Labor and 7.5% for the Greens. Full details here. Galaxy was also in the field in Ashgrove last night and will presumably report this evening.

Nicklin (Independent 16.3% versus LNP): Katter’s Australian Party candidate Matthew Smith has claimed the local LNP branch manager approached him with an offer to print his how-to-vote cards if he directed preferences to his party’s candidate, former Wallabies coach John Connolly. Owen Jacques of the Sunshine Coast Daily also reports that independent member Peter Wellington has accused a local political opponent, Kathy Marshall, of seeking to discredit him with a concocted letter from Neil Turner, whom Wellington unseated as National Party member for the seat in 1998. The letter accuses Wellington of failing to report to Parliament on a government-funded trip to North America in 1999, and was said to have been provided to Marshall three days before Turner’s death on July 4 last year. Marshall has signed a statutory declaration vouching for the letter’s authenticity.

Coomera (LNP 1.9%): Greg Stoltz of The Courier-Mail reports that residents near the property of LNP member Michael Crandon are “furious” at his move to lease part of his Kingsholme property to Telstra to erect a mobile phone tower, which “will earn him hundreds of thousands of dollars”. The property is located in the neighbouring electorate of Albert. This has evidently been in the works for over three years, but the tower is due to be erected within weeks, and residents are seeking to express their ire by whipping up controversy days out from the election.

In other news …

Bligh’s whirlwind tour Heavy storm damage has given Anna Bligh an opportunity to play to her strengths in Townsville, where Labor is at risk of losing Townsville, Thuringowa and Mundingburra. This also coincides nicely with Bligh’s “blitz” of visiting 50 electorates in five days, reprising a tactic that appeared to work remarkably well for her at the last election.

And the all-important result … My guess as to the result. I’m tipping Labor to lose everything on a margin of up to 8.5%, though no doubt the swing will not be quite as clean as that and I’ll be wrong on a fair few seats either side. I’m giving Labor the benefit of the doubt in Thuringowa (8.5%) because of the Townsville storms and Mulgrave (8.1%) because Curtis Pitt is due for a sophomore surge. No rabbit out of the hat for Kate Jones in Ashgrove. I’ve been blowing hot and cold over Katter’s Australia Party, but their 8% showing in Galaxy has switched me to hot: One Nation managed three seats on similar numbers in 2001. I’ve never been in much doubt that Shane Knuth would win Dalrymple, and I’m giving them Mount Isa and Nanango as well. Nobody’s discussed the three sitting independents much that I’ve seen, but I suspect Chris Foley and Peter Wellington might be in trouble in Maryborough and Nicklin. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt though. Totals: LNP 64, Labor 19, KAP 3, Independents 3.

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Peter Fray
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