Polling in The Sunday Mail today shows the sort of problem that the Queensland coalition has in winning seats from Peter Beattie. It was done in the seat of Gaven where the sitting member, Robert Poole, has been forced to resign because he is spending most of his time in Thailand with his family rather than in the electorate.
The poll shows the following figures:
This should be a close win to the Liberal Party you might think. Wrong. Courtesy of the most cack-handed negotiations you have ever seen in your life it is the National Party that is contesting this seat, because the Liberal Party gave it to them in the Coalition negotiations. This is Beattie’s only advantage, because there are Liberals who will never vote National, and enough of these might vote third party and exhaust their preferences to give Labor a win.
If the locals want to give Beattie a bloody nose that can’t be treated by fixing the local hospital system, then they need to run an Independent Liberal candidate who would probably win. This might then jolt septuaganarian Liberal Party president Warwick Parer awake long enough to re-re-negotiate the agreement with the Nationals. Queensland is on the verge of significant change, but the Libs are too lethargic to take advantage of it prolonging the difficulties in the Coalition arrangement indefinitely.
One interesting thing about the result is that it is somewhere around a 16% swing against Labor on first preferences (a figure I calculate by notionally giving them 26% of the “Don’t know” vote and comparing it to the 47.33% they won last time). Beattie claims that Labor will suffer a swing of 20 to 25 percent against it. So he is going with an even higher estimate which is presumably designed to frighten some of his voters back. This raises the question as to why he has apparently been so critical of our Whatthepeoplewant research which has him losing the next election. If he wants to manage expectations down, then we’re inadvertently doing it for him.
My colleague John Black is the best weapon he has. John is using our research and research he does separately to predict a wipe-out. Seeing Black is open in his dislike of Beattie, the Premier ought to be savouring the irony, and using it to his best advantage. If he does win he’ll be able to look Black in the eye and say “I told you so, thanks for the favour mate.”
P.S. If you’re from South Australian you might be interested in completing our questionnaire on the state election.