ReachTEL has deftly targeted Campbell Newman’s electorate of Ashgrove with one of its automated phone polls: this one from a substantial sample of 661, with a margin of error of slightly below 4%. Daniel Hurst of Fairfax reports the poll has Labor 51.5-48.5 ahead if preferences are distributed as per the last election, compared with Newman’s 55.7-44.3 win at the state election. The primary votes are 41.1% for Labor (compared with 36.6% at the election), 42.8% for Campbell Newman (51.8%), 9.7% for the Greens (9.2%) and 4.0% for Katter’s Australian Party (1.7%). (UPDATE: Full results here).
• Newman’s performance received a 47.7% poor or very poor rating against 42.3% for good or very good.
• 45.3% supported “the Newman government pledge to reduce the size of the Queensland public services to help reduce the state’s debt”, against 46.0% opposed.
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• 27.9% rated the state government’s financial position strong or very strong, against 34.0% poor or very poor and 38.1% average.
I wouldn’t normally give such a poll its own post at this point of the electoral cycle, but besides the intrinsic interest of the figures, the Newman government and its federal implications seems a worthy topic for a dedicated thread. Labor will clearly seek to make capital out of Newman’s aggressive style during the federal election campaign, and the poll indicates that they will have something to work with – although it should be recalled that Labor went into the 1996 election hoping to win seats off the back of Jeff Kennett’s budget-slashing, for all the good it ended up doing them. I would also caution that the immediate aftermath of the breast screening flare-up was probably an inopportune time for a poll to have been conducted from Newman’s perspective.
ReachTEL’s electorate-level polling has a patchy track record, but it seemed to do well in its very extensive coverage of Ashgrove before the state election. It apparently tracked the internal party polling closely in showing a steady narrowing in Newman’s lead up to the second last week, when Labor clawed its way to a statistic dead heat, followed by a blowout in Newman’s favour in the final week. The latter point may be telling, as it appeared many in Ashgrove fell in behind Newman because it had become incontrovertibly clear the LNP would win the election. The ReachTEL poll could well suggest that a lot of this apparent support remains very soft.
The Ashgrove gamble having served its purpose, I would suggest that Newman now cop a hit to his pride and stake a claim on the first safe LNP seat that becomes available.