Graham Young discusses polling and voting patterns in the Queensland election in his prediction of the outcome of the NSW election.
‘Newspoll has never shown the Coalition on less than 54% two-party preferred, which would suggest they will retain a small, but workable majority (although how that could require 54% in a working democracy is hard to understand).
‘But therein lies their weakness. As the Queensland election showed, a weaker opponent can do a Judo throw, using your strength against you to score an unheralded win.
‘The Queensland election worked like this. The Newman government went into the election with 73 seats, and Labor 9. Looking at the seats, and not the polls, virtually no-one (this analyst aside) thought this could be reversed in just one election.
‘Electors were cranky with Newman, and he ran a campaign based not on his achievements and Labor’s past performance, but on spending promises funded by a massive privatisation campaign of electricity and port and rail assets.
‘There was a 14% swing against the government, Newman lost his own seat and they fell 3 seats short of a majority. There is now a Labor minority government in Queensland.
‘Our qualitative polling of swinging voters showed the loss was due to three factors – dislike of asset sales (14%), dislike of Newman or the style of government (34%), and a protest vote cast to send the government a message in the “knowledge” that they were certain to be returned (34%).
‘What gave these traction was the deeply held conviction that how you voted didn’t really matter, because Newman was certain to get back in.