Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

LNP Gains in Two New Queensland Polls

The Queensland election will be held on 31 January. Two new Queensland polls from Galaxy and Newspoll, both published today, show the Liberal National Party (LNP) gaining support from Other parties. As a result, the LNP clearly leads Labor on primary votes, and would very probably win an election held now.

Newspoll has the LNP opening up a 53-47 lead, a 3% gain for the LNP since the October-December quarterly Newspoll. Primary votes are 42% for the LNP (up 5), 37% for Labor (up 1), 7% for the Greens (down 3) and 14% for all Others (down 3). I think the LNP Two Party Preferred (2PP) lead based on these primaries is more like 52-48 than 53-47. Newman’s satisfied rating is up 3% to 41%, and his dissatisfied rating is steady on 51%, for a net approval of -10, up from -13. Palaszczuk has a net zero rating, down from +4. 49% are strongly committed to voting for their chosen party, lower than at the same stage of previous elections, but LNP supporters are more committed than Labor supporters. 47% think the LNP will win the election, and 31% think Labor will win. This poll was taken last Tuesday to Thursday from a sample of 800.

Galaxy also has the LNP improving to a 52-48 lead, a 2% gain for the LNP since a November Galaxy. Primary votes are 41% for the LNP (up 4), 38% for Labor (steady), 8% for the Greens (down 1) and just 3% for Palmer United Party (PUP) (down 4). From these primaries, I think the 2PP is 51-49 to the LNP, not 52-48. Newman’s ratings were flat, with an approval of 41% and disapproval of 52%, for a net approval of -11, down from -10. Palaszczuk had a net approval of +1, up from zero net approval. This poll was conducted from a sample of 800 on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

The one encouraging sign from these polls for Labor is that the LNP gains came at the expense of minor parties, not Labor. This happened before in September, when PUP support first started shrinking, and Labor clawed back lost ground by November. There are still three weeks until the election, so it is possible that Labor could lift its primary vote again.

In about the middle of 2014, PUP had well over 10%, and it was plausible that it could win a few seats, making a hung Parliament more likely. The latest polling shows that PUP has become greatly diminished, and is unlikely to win any seats. Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) won 11.5% of the vote and two seats at the 2012 election, but now it barely registers in polls, though their two existing members may still win due to personal vote effects. Queensland has never been a great state for the Greens, and on current polling they will probably do worse than their 7.5% at the 2012 election.

With chances of a hung Parliament diminishing, the head to head battle between the two major parties will very probably decide this election.

NSW Labor Gains Small Boost Following Leadership Change

A NSW Galaxy poll has the Coalition leading Labor by 54-46, a 2% gain for Labor since November. Primary votes are 44% for the Coalition (down 2), 36% for Labor (up 2) and 11% for the Greens (steady). This poll was taken following Luke Foley’s election as Labor leader on the 5 January, though only 19% correctly identified him as the Labor leader, with 14% opting for someone else, and 66% saying they did not know who the Labor leader was. The poll’s sample size and fieldwork dates are not yet available. The NSW election will be held in late March.

The Greens vote in NSW is high compared to Queensland, and so Labor is hurt by optional preferential voting (OPV) much more in NSW than in Queensland. In Queensland, some of the Others vote is right wing, so OPV helps Labor in some seats.

In Shock Result, Sri Lanka Ousts Incumbent President

Mahinda Rajapaksa had been the Sri Lankan President for almost a decade, and had been widely expected to win a third six-year term in office. He had called this election two years early after changing the Constitution, which previously limited Presidents to two terms. Surprisingly, he lost Thursday’s election to Maithripala Sirisena, a former member of Rajapaksa’s Cabinet, by a 51.3-47.6 margin on a turnout of over 81%.