With new polls from Nielsen published in Fairfax metropolitan newspapers and Essential Media, the Poliquant Australia Poll Average and Seat Projection has been updated. Full details can be found by clicking the Australia tab above.
It has been my great pleasure to provide quantitative political analysis here at Poliquant.com over the past year. However due to new employment circumstances I will be unable to maintain and update the Poliquant website in the future. Therefore this website will be closed down. A big thanks to all Poliquant readers for making this site a success with …View full post
With a new poll from Essential Media released today the Poliquant Australia Poll Average and Seat Projection has been updated. Full details can be found by clicking the Australia tab above.View full post
With a new poll from Essential Media today and Newspoll tomorrow in The Australian, the Poliquant Australia Poll Average and Seat Projection has been updated with both polls. Full details can be found by clicking the Australia tab above.View full post
The Australian published a bi-monthly Newspoll of Victorian state voting intentions in today’s edition. The online article accompanying the poll with the tables can be found here. (paywall) The poll of 1,162 Victorian voters returned primary vote figures of Labor 38%, Coalition 36%, Greens 16% and Others 10%. The state-wide TPP was pegged at 55% for …View full post
The Australian has again given us some summer poll reading by publishing a New South Wales state voting intention Newspoll in today’s edition. The poll was taken progressively over the November-December period. The topline primary vote figures for the poll of 1,297 New South Wales voters are Liberal/National Coalition 45%, Labor 29%, Green 11%, Others 15%. …View full post
5:30 PM: Channel Seven Brisbane political reporter Patrick Condren has informed us on Twitter that a fresh Queensland state voting intention poll from ReachTEL which will be broadcast in Seven’s 6 pm bulletin tonight. Queensland readers should tune in.
As usual we will be conducting a seat projection from the poll results which will be posted here shortly after 6 pm Brisbane time. Patrick Condren informs us on Twitter us that the LNP Government’s performance is slipping so this implies a fall from the previous ReachTEL poll results of 25 November set out below:
25 November Queensland State ReachTEL Poll Results
Primary Votes (%): LNP 42 , ALP 34.2 , KAP 8.9 , Grn 9.5 , Others 5.4
TPP (%) (Poliquant estimate): LNP 53.8 ALP 46.2
Mr Condren also is foreshadowing some federal questions in the poll, which will be of interest. Come back in just over 30 minutes for the seat projection.
5:45 PM: It will also be interesting to see how the Katter’s Australian Party will score in the poll tonight given the events of the past few weeks. I doubt their will be a Palmer Party/UAP option in the polls given that the new party does not yet exist, so any split in the right of centre vote due to the events of the past few weeks should show up in the KAP score or perhaps others.
5:55 PM: The seat projection from the last ReachTEL Poll was LNP 53, ALP 32, KAP 2, IND 2, this was the closest seat projection between the parties all year so any further closing of the gap will mark a low water mark for the LNP.
6:25 PM: Tonight’s ReachTEL poll results
Primary Votes (%): LNP 41.9, ALP 32.1, KAP 12.1, Grn 8.2, Others 5.7.
TPP (%) (Poliquant estimate): LNP 55.5 ALP 44.5
Full details: http://www.reachtel.com.au/blog
This poll and the seat projection is the KAP’s best since the election and they can probably thank Ray Hopper’s defection to their ranks as bringing the party much needed attention as the bolstered third force in Queensland politics.
A bit of explanation is needed for the projection of 5 seats for the KAP. While the KAP vote has increased marginally it has gained more seats due to the drop of the LNP primary vote by 7% and that the built in mechanism in the seat projection concentrates the swing for the KAP in seats where the KAP vote is high, such seats are unsurprisingly in rural and regional Queensland.
The seat projection model sums probabilities to arrive at the seat projection, so we do not proscribe which KAP seats will fall. Feel free to have a look at this previous post about Queensland’s new electoral state of play for an idea of which seats are vulnerable to the KAP.
As for the majors, 41.9% is the lowest LNP primary vote for the year, but the more alarming news is that their second front of electoral defense against the KAP is now live with the rise of the KAP vote in tonight’s poll and the LNP vote static whilst Labor’s vote has receded, albeit by a margin inside the MoE.
As for Labor, they are up off the mat in terms of public support, but this poll contained no extra good news for them bar the arrival of the KAP as a second threat to the LNP which will drain their eternal rivals of resources should the KAP’s rise hold until the election.
Finally to put tonight’s results in context below is a table of poll results and seat projections for Queensland state politics for the second half of this year. Thanks for popping by have a good night.
Post Live Blog Note: For the avoidance of doubt, the above seat projection does not take into account the defection of MPs from their parties during the current term. Unless there is polling evidence to confirm that a former LNP MP (Hopper, Douglas, Judge) can win their seat as an independent of a KAP MP their seat remains in the LNP/ALP contest in the projection.
As the end of 2012 draws near it’s time to look back at some of the more meaty analysis posts which have graced the blog this year. As the year has progressed the blog has attracted new readers, so some may find these posts new as they were posted before they first visited the blog. If this looks like a end of year wrap up post to you, do not worry, new posts will continue to be posted at Poliquant over the summer.
Below is a short description and a link to the 11 most in depth posts of Poliquant in 2012. The link is embedded in the title for each post.
This post evaluated the fortunes of previous Right-wing minor parties in Queensland state elections since 1992 ahead of the 2012 Queensland state election. The post estimate that there was a natural 8-15% state-wide vote for such a minor party.
This series of posts evaluated the KAP vote in the 2012 Queensland state election, specifically from which major party the vote came from and the near term future for the party.
During the current UK parliamentary term, the right-wing eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party has gained support in the polls due to right-wing voters dissatisfaction with the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government and the decline of the Liberal Democrats a third force of UK politics. This April post looked at the demographic basis of UKIP support in the polls at that time.
This post examined in which constituencies UKIP could elect MPs at a General Election.
This post looked the effects in a House of Reps election if Labor placed the Liberals above the Greens on their HTV.
This post looked at calculating a status quo result for by-elections in the absence of single major party. In this post the absence of the Liberals for the Melbourne by-election is estimated.
This post sets out the seats in play in a federal election if the national vote is 50-50.
The post investigates the historical changes in polling due to the change in the federal leaders of the major parties.
A November post setting out a projection of a new Senate based on then current polling.
A post investigating the effect of large swings to the Coalition in Western Sydney and Tasmania and the effect that Labor will need over 51% of the TPP for victory if this occurs.
A post looking at the electoral effect of a bolstered third force in Queensland politics in the form of the KAP and a Palmer Party.
With polling for the year almost complete it is worthwhile to look at the high and low points of the polling fortunes for the major parties. Below is a the Poliquant Poll Average chart marking the rise and fall of the Coalition national TPP vote since 1 February this year.
Those readers who are keen consumers of irony will notice that we are pretty much back where we were at 1 February, on that day the poll average Coalition TPP was 54.5%, today it stands at 54.2%. In the interim federal politics was filled with much colour and movement of the fierce combat kind and the poll average Coalition TPP moved 3.9% towards the Coalition to 58.4% on 8 May, just prior to the Federal Budget. The events during this period included the Labor Leadership ballot in late February and the landslide LNP Queensland election win in late March. The seat projection and state swings based on 8 May poll average figures are set out below.
If replicated at an election this result, a Coalition majority of 70 would have been record breaking for the Coalition in several respects;
- The largest number of House of Representatives seats won by a single party/coalition
- The largest Government House of Representatives majority won by a single party/coalition
- The largest proportion of House of Representatives seats won by a single party/coalition
- The largest number of House of Representatives seats gained at a single federal election by a single party/coalition absent an expansion of the parliament.
- The largest national TPP won by a victory party/coalition since the 1943 Labor-Curtin Wartime landslide.
However for the next six months Labor rallied after a May budget aimed at its base and a the introduction of the carbon tax on 1 July which proved that for this issue the bark was worse than its bite. The poll average improved for Labor to the point that it was only trailing the Coalition by 5 % on the TPP, 47.5 -52.5% on 7 November. The seat projection and state swings based on the 7 November poll average figures is set out below.
The Coalition majority was slashed from 70 in early May to 16 in early November. The Labor House of Representatives contingent had gone from the spectre of being nearly halved to suffering only 7 losses.
However this movement has stalled in November for Labor and this week’s relatively favourable polls for the Coalition from Newspoll and Essential Research has restored the pink to the Coalition’s poll average fortunes with a rise in the in Coalition TPP to 54.2% and and more healthy projected House of Representatives majority of 28. As always full details can be found by clicking the Australia tab above
With very few polls to come this year, it looks like the high and low water marks for the majors in 2012 are now set. Labor’s polling position will need to improve in 2013 to have a chance of victory. As noted yesterday campaign poll movements have favoured the underdog in the past four campaigns. The probabilities favour such narrowing but it is no certainty.
Given the recent movement in the Poliquant Australia Poll Average it is clear that the movement back to the Government which commenced after the May Budget has ended for now. Since the 7 November low point for the Coalition with a national TPP of 52.5% the poll average has moved back to the Opposition’s favour by 1.7%, inclusive of a 1.2% jump yesterday. This is a significant move back to the Coalition and the turnaround rebuts any presumption of a continuing trend back to Labor for now.
It is also possible we have a turning point in the trend back to the Coalition, however we will need future data to confirm this position. With very few polls to come for the remainder of this year, we are entering into the poll summer hibernation. For our poll average this means that individual polls will not be removed from the poll average for being over 14 days old during December and January. However only the latest poll for each pollster is included in the average.
The Mainland States
At the state level the most notable feature of the poll average is that the Coalition has now hit the TPP lead in South Australia. The swing to the Liberals in South Australia is 4.3%, enough to start to put the heat in Labor marginal seats of Hindmarsh and Adelaide, but not enough for any seat gains according to our seat projection.
In terms of other mainland states, NSW is still the biggest problem for Labor with 8 seats falling from Labor to the Coalition. This is due to NSW being the largest state in terms of seats and Labor holding 8 marginal seats with a margin of under 5%. Victoria shows only three gains for the Coalition at the expense of Labor, as it only holds 3 seats with margins of under 5% in that state. Queensland with its attenuated swing to the Coalition only shows two such gains. WA is still no change, but only barely, the seat projection is currently showing only a 60% chance that Labor will retain Brand.
Is Labor competitive?
Federal politics watchers will now turn their attention to the resumption of hostilities in the new election year. If the polls return to the same position as they currently stand, many will see the Labor Government’s fortunes as behind the eight ball. But if we have learnt one thing from 2012 is that polls can move far over the course of several months. In the heat of an election campaign polls can also move significantly. Below is a table of an average of polls of the first polls of the campaign from both Newspoll and Nielsen and the corresponding election result in terms of Government TPP.
In four of the last five campaigns the shift between the first polling of the campaign after the election announcement and the election result in TPP terms has been 2% or more. The largest gaps came from the 2001 and 2010 campaigns where there were significant events before the campaign, (2001: 9-11 and Tampa, 2010; Rudd Removal). The shifts for 2001-2010 inclusive all moved in the direction of the party that was behind at the start of the campaign. So even from 46-54 behind at the start of the election campaign the Government can still make it close. However a shift of 4% is at the outer bounds of possibilities for an eventual close election and the two past occurrences of a shift of 4% or more required significant events to affect public support.
Therefore a good rule of thumb from the above data is that a 53-47 TPP split at the commencement of the campaign is the point where the election will definitely be competitive. Between 53-47 & 55-45 makes a competitive election unlikely but not impossible. A TPP split wider than 55-45 bakes in victory for the leading party.Therefore the current position of 46-54 for the Government means it still has some ground to make up before we can say for sure that the election will be competitive.
That being said no party would prefer to be behind in the polls, a TPP lead at the start of the campaign will be much prized. In the last 5 elections no Government with a TPP of 48.9% or less has won.
At every federal election in the recent past, interest rates and the effect on voters servicing a residential mortgage has been a key issue. This is no surprise, for those servicing a mortgage the movement of the RBA cash rate which in turn affects home loan interest rates has a big effect on a borrower’s cost of living.
With the RBA cash rate at historically low figures this issue should be running in favour of the incumbent Labor Government. Is the Coalition vulnerable to a Labor campaign on interest rates?
It is conventional wisdom that elections are decided in outer metropolitan electorates chock full of young families with home loans. However a cursory look at the 2011 Census figures shows that not all marginal seats are seats with high concentrations of home loan borrowers. Also not all seats with high concentrations of home loan borrowers are marginal seats.
In this post we will look at the 2011 Census data on owner-occupied dwellings owned with a mortgage as a share of total dwellings to see how to concentrations of home loan borrowers are spread across Australia’s 150 electorates.
Below we have separated all 150 seats by seat status/safety (Safe Labor, Marginal Labor, Marginal Coalition & Safe Coalition) and the share of all dwellings which are owned with a mortgage. For the latter metric we have broken down the seats into three brackets, the 50 highest seats, the 50 middle seats and the 50 lowest seats marked in red, yellow and green respectively. The table is below, it is a large one so click to enlarge.
In the above table have marked in bold are the 10 highest shares of dwellings owed with a mortgage. Only two of these seats are marginal.
The defining feature of the above table is that generally higher shares of mortgaged owner-occupied residential properties are found more often in Labor seats while the lower shares of the same are found more often in Coalition held seats. This is due to geography, in the capital cities, due to their large size federal electorates can entirely contain the new suburbs on the urban fringe which have a high proportion of new residential developments, many of which are purchased by the owner with a home loan.
In regional Australia, new residential developments in the smaller provincial cities are balanced out by existing housing stock. As the Coalition holds a majority of rural and regional seats, they hold more of the seats which exhibit a lower share of dwellings owned with a mortgage. While Labor with a greater strength in the capital cities hold more seats with a higher share of owner-occupied dwellings owned with a mortgage. Keep in mind, this is a tendency not a hard and fast rule. Seats with a high share of dwellings owned with mortgages fall all over the political spectrum from the uber-safe Labor seat of Gorton to the uber-safe Liberal seat of Bradfield.
It is also important to note that the issue of interest rates can shift swinging voters, but not all voters are swinging voters, ultimately interest rates as a single issue can only effect elections in the marginal seats. Below is table of the marginal seat pendulum with the shares of dwellings owned with mortgages included. For this metric we have retained the 3 cohort color coding for ease of comparison.
As you can see it is the Coalition marginal seats which are more affected by high shares of dwellings owned with mortgages. Of the Mortgage Belt Marginals (seats in the above table shaded red) the Coalition hold 10 compared to Labor’s 4. With this demographic disadvantage combined with being in Opposition in the current low interest rate environment, the Coalition are vulnerable to the current low interest rates as an election issue. Furthermore of the 16 Coalition held seats on TPP margins of 3% or less, 10 are Mortgage Belt Marginals.
That being said, this weakness is ameliorated somewhat by the fact that of 10 Coalition held Mortgage Belt Marginals, 5 are held by MP’s who have won the seat for the first time at the last election and if they re-contest will be sophomores.
Nevertheless, with home loan interest rates at relatively low levels by historical standards this is an issue in Labor’s favour and the Mortgage Belt Marginals are a weak spot in the Coalition’s electoral defences given a 50-50 election.
Special Postscript (12/12)
In comments Fmark has asked for scatter plot of (presumably) electorate shares of dwellings owned with mortgages and the TPP. We have used the Coalition TPP as a reference. The scatter plot is below.
In the scatter plot we have marked the Labor seat data points in red and the Coalition seat data points in blue. The chart shows that the Labor seats do occupy more data points towards the top of the chart. Of all seats above a 35% share of dwellings owned with a mortgage, 20 are Labor, 14 are Coalition. Furthermore averages of the two groups also show Labor seats with more residential mortgage holders, the Labor seats average is 30.8%, the Coalition seats average is 29.4%. However there is little to no correlation between electorate shares of dwellings owned with mortgages and the TPP vote. The reason we have not plotted a trend line, is that the R squared is only 0.03, not enough to justify plotting a trend line let alone prove any relationship.
The other day we had a look at the three-way contest in regional Queensland with the rise of the Katter’s Australian Party with the use of a scatter plot. Today we will turn out attention to the other side of the country and look at the next election in Western Australia and the three-way battleground in the non-metropolitan areas of the state.
In rural and regional Western Australia, another three-way contest in is in play with Labor and Liberal competing with the WA Nationals in most seats outside of Perth. The WA Nationals have historically been the governing coalition partners of the urban conservative party in Western Australia. However during the leadership of the current WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls the party has taken steps to act more independently with a looser coalition with the Liberals and a an expansion in the rural and regional seats it contests. Historically the WA Nationals have primarily contested and held seats in the Western Australian Wheatbelt region. Under Grylls the party has returned to contesting seats in the vast mining and pastoral region of the state.
Unlike in other states there is no deal with the Liberals in avoiding contesting each others seats. Every seat the WA nationals contest is a three cornered contest and thus where the Nationals run in Rural and Regional WA a three way-electoral contest is in play.
To give a one look chart at the electoral prospects in these seats, we have set out a scatter plot containing 12 of the 17 non-metropolitan state seats in WA where the Nationals ran a candidate in 2008. The Nationals have preselected candidates for the March election for each of these seats except Murray – Wellington. Each seat is plotted by the Labor Two Party Preferred percentage and the Nationals primary vote percentage.
The figures used for the chart have been obtained from Antony Green’s estimation of the effects of the 2011 redistribution of WA state seats which will come into effect at the March election. The chart is below.
The above chart requires a bit of explanation:
- Each data point is coloured by the party that currently holds the seat, blue for Liberal, red for Labor, Green for National and Grey for Independent.
- Each data label is shaded by electoral region, lime green for Agricultural, orange for Mining and Pastoral and light Blue for South-West. A map outlining these non-metropolitan electoral regions can be found here.
- Kalgoorlie is noted in italics as it has an incumbent independent MP John Bowler. Therefore the 2008 figures are not comparable to the other seats as Mr Fowler won a primary vote of 34% on redistributed figures depressing the votes of the other parties. However the Nationals 19% lower house primary vote is similar to the upper house vote in the same seat.
- The horizontal axis is crossed at 50% ALP TPP, any seat to the left of the vertical axis is a Labor seat, any seat to the right of the axis is not held by Labor.
- The vertical axis is crossed at 30% National PV. This is an arbitrary threshold for where in any give seat the Nationals would come into contention for taking the seat. If the Nationals outpoll Labor, they should be able to threaten victory on Labor preferences. If the Nationals out poll the Liberals , unless the Labor vote is very high, a competitive final count is in the offing. However the 30% threshold is not hard and fast rule in determining Nationals seat chances. Nevertheless the National held seats below the horizontal axis are held due to extenuating circumstances, Warren-Blackwood has undergone significant boundary changes while North-West Central is the National fold due to incumbent crossing the floor from Labor.
Like our Queensland exercise earlier in the week. The above chart lends itself to grouping the seats by virtue of their vulnerability or safety for any given party. In the above chart 4 such groups come to the fore. We will go through each below
Safe National (Wagin & Central Wheatbelt)
These seats are in the Nationals historical Wheatbelt heartland and form the floor of the National seat tally.
Nationals Marginals (Moore, Eyre, Warren-Blackwood, North-West Central)
These seats are vulnerable to switching parties and can be considered the marginal battleground for the Nationals where Labor is unlikely to be a threat if the state wide swing is on against Labor as the polls indicate at this time. Moore and Eyre both had tight National vs Liberal TCP contests, with the Nationals winning the former and the Liberals winning the latter. Warren-Blackwood’s Nationals redistributed vote is much smaller than the vote won by the Nationals in the predecessor seat of Blackwood-Stirling in 2008 (27.8 vs 44.9) while incumbent MP Vince Catania’s party hop to the Nationals means he has a margin to make up from third place as the Nationals candidate in 2013.
Provincial Centers (Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Albany)
In these seats the Nationals vote is substantial but a larger jump is needed for the Nationals to win the seats where such a win would be ground breaking. These seats are definitely expansion territory for the Nationals.
Labor Marginals (Pilbara & Kimberley)
These seats are open contests between all three parties given the expected swing against Labor and the comparative positions of the Liberals and Nationals. However the Nationals chances in Pilbara are boosted by the candidacy for the party of the leader, Brendon Grylls who is vacating his safe Central Wheatbelt seat to spread the party’s gospel. These seats are also expansion territory for the Nationals
This seat is not in any group as it has the smallest National vote share of the 12 at the last election and the Nationals have not yet nominated a candidate.
It will be interesting to see how the Nationals will do in the face of the current high voter support for the Barnett Government , if the later lasts until election day. Will rural and regional voters deliver their thanks to the local Nationals or the leading Liberals?
Postscript: Independent MP for Kalgoorlie John Bowler will not contest the next election. This has led to suggestions that Mr Bowler may endorse the Nationals at the election as he has given Nationals political support in the current parliament.
This may play to the Nationals advantage however Mr Bowler’s candidacy did not drag down the National vote in the lower house compared to the upper house in 2008 (Nat LH: 19.0, Nat UH 19.4). It was the majors, especially Labor, that lost votes to Bowler’s independent candidacy in 2008, (Lab LH: 17.6, Lab UH 33.2) (Lib LH: 24.9, Lib UH 33.7).
The Poliquant Australia Seat Projection and Poll Average has been updated after the release of the Essential Research poll this afternoon. Details can be found by clicking the Australia Tab above.
Update: The New Zealand poll average has also been updated after two major TV polls broadcast last night. The poll average is now at the lowest point for the government this year with the combined lead of the government’s current supporters down to one seat. Details can be found by clicking the New Zealand tab above.
Note: The Australia Poll Average and Seat Projection has been updated this morning after the Galaxy poll. Click on the Australia Tab above for details.
The landslide victory of Liberal National Party in the 2012 state election obscured the arrival of a two and a half party system in Queensland politics. The solid showing of the Katter’s Australian Party heralded the possibility that when LNP support returned to normal levels it would be a two front battle to re-elect its MPs.
The downward trajectory of the support for the LNP in opinion polls over the second half of 2012 and the defection of Ray Hopper to the KAP has now sharpened the public attention to two and half party politics in Queensland. With the former LNP life member and mining billionaire Clive Palmer threatening to form a new party, the spectre of three or possibly four party politics state-wide now looms.
With the parties that are capable of winning seats in Queensland now beyond the two majors, in this post we will assess the new electoral calculus that is emerging in Queensland politics.
South East vs the Rest
In the below table we take the last election and split the results between South East Queensland (SEQ) and the rest of Queensland (RoQ). The definitions for these areas are based on the geographic seat groupings Antony Green uses in his election analysis publications for Queensland elections after the previous redistribution in 2008.
As you can see if we split the state into two separate elections we get two different contests. In SEQ we have a two party system where one party has won a crushing landslide. In RoQ, the LNP still is the dominant party but faces two oppositions with almost equal support.
This geographical divide gives us the “two and half” party system with a two party system in one part of the state and a three party system in the other.
With the possibility of a new well funded party backed by Mr Palmer, this dynamic may change again depending on the nature of the new party and any relationship it may have with the KAP. We now turn to the two broad areas of Queensland and look more closely at the differing electoral contests in each.
Rest of Queensland (RoQ) & Katter’s Australian Party (KAP)
With the rise of the KAP, the electoral contest in RoQ has now become a three way contest. To map out this 3-way contest, we will visualise it with a scatter plot.
In the below chart we have taken every seat currently held by an LNP member in RoQ except Burnett and Maryborough which had independent incumbents which makes these seats difficult to compare on the below chart. Please click to enlarge.
We have plotted each seat with regards to the difference in primary votes between the LNP and KAP on the horizontal axis and the difference in primary votes between the LNP and Labor on the vertical axis.
The graph gives us an ability to look to each seat in two dimensions, in terms of each LNP seat’s vulnerability to capture by Labor and the KAP. As we need to look in two dimensions we need to compare primary votes not the one dimensional TCP count. This acceptable for our purposes as under OPV; the primary vote leader has a mortgage on a victory. However, we should keep in mind that a primary vote lead of 5% of less can be overturned on preferences.
As you can see of the 23 seats in the above graph we have split the seats into six groups based on their vulnerability to either or both of Labor or the KAP with some consideration to geography.
The transition of moving from a two party system to a two and half party system depends on the third party’s ability to win seats and force a hung parliament. The more seats won by a third party and the major party that is shut out of seats won by the third party are factors in determining the dynamics of two and a half party system.
For example if the KAP can only win significant number of natural conservative seats then the LNP ability to form a government in its own right will be restricted to solid to landslide election victories for the major centre-right party.
However if the KAP can also win a significant number of hitherto Labor seats in RoQ, most of which were won by the LNP in 2012, then both major parties’ ability to form government will be impaired and will require a landslide victory by a major in the SEQ for majority government to be achieved.
To address the effect on the LNP or Labor from forming majority government we have coloured the data points by the party that won the seat in 2009 so as to indicate which party is effect by each respective KAP gain. We will now turn to these groups as labelled on the charts.
Group A – 3 seats
These seats are the closest to three-way marginals in Queensland. Labor held- Mulgrave can also be considered in this group. These seats are all North Queensland seats
If the KAP can take these seats this is the next step to becoming a long term broad based third party in RoQ. It will also impair Labor’s recovery efforts as the three seats in this group were all held by Labor at the 2009 election.
Group B – 4 seats
These rural seats all had the KAP finish in the TCP count in 2012 and are all rural by nature. They would be the first seats to fall if there was a large rural swing away from the LNP to the KAP and consequently they are in the front line of any LNP defence against the KAP.
Group C – 3 seats
Similar to the Group B seats, these seats are a degree more safer for the LNP. If a KAP rural rout was on they would fall.
Group D – 6 seats
These seats as a group are based on regional centres or surround them. All bar one seat was held by Labor at the 2009 election. These LNP held seats are slightly more vulnerable to Labor, however it not out of the realms of possibility that they can be won by the KAP. If the KAP can snatch these seats than any future Labor representation outside the SEQ would be sparse.
Group E – 4 Seats
These seats are all in provincial regional centres and recorded relatively low KAP votes in 2012. All bar Toowoomba North were held by the LNP in 2009 and thus are safe for the governing party from either challenger.
Group F – 3 Seats
These rural seats are hyper-safe for the LNP and probably can withstand a rural rout by the KAP.
A best case scenario for the KAP is that they win:
- All LNP seats in Groups A-D above (16 seats);
- Labor held Mulgrave;
- hold the three seats current held by KAP MPs; plus
- Maryborough and Burnett.
These 22 seats can be considered the present KAP best case scenario, given that the party has limited appeal in the SEQ and could not win any seats there in its present format. Twenty-two seats is more than enough to force a hung parliament on a regular basis but is just shy of minimum 23 seats needed to have any chance at forming a minority government.
Of course this all requires a lift in the KAP vote from its present position in the polls of 7-9%. The fact that the KAP can hold this support in the polls given the absence of an election campaign bodes well for the minor party. However to win all of the broader range of seats indentified above (Groups A-D), the KAP would need a state-wide vote of at least 17-18%. Such support for the KAP has not yet been registered in opinion polls before or after the election. The above analysis is designed to map out the possible for the KAP not the probable.
If this best case scenario of 22 KAP seats (Groups A-D) occurs then it becomes difficult for both parties to win majority government. Labor would need to win 43 of the 57 SEQ seats to form majority government, more seats than the ALP won at the 2009 election in SEQ.
The LNP would need 38 of the 57 SEQ seats to form a majority government. Taking into account the recent defections of Carl Judge and Alex Douglas, the LNP would have to lose 13 seats in SEQ to fall below this threshold. Such a loss would occur on a uniform TPP swing of 5.6% to the ALP in SEQ.
If Labor wins the provincial seats Group D as a group the KAP universe is reduced to 16 seats and Labor would only need to win 37 of the 57 SEQ seats to form a majority government only one seat less than won by the party in SEQ in 2009.
If KAP gains are limited to the more marginal A & B Groups (10 seats). The SEQ seat requirements for either major party to win majority government would vary depending on how many seats Labor won back off the LNP in RoQ. The ranges would be 27-33 seats for the LNP, 36-42 seats for the ALP.
South East Queensland (SEQ)
In SEQ the electoral contest for now is still a two party affair. A table of all SEQ seats ordered by geography, party status and LNP TCP margin is set out below.
In all likelihood the SEQ electoral battle ground in 2015 will be the LNP seats held on margins of up to 10% which were formerly Labor safe seats.
However a new possibility has risen on the political horizon in the form of a new party to be formed at the instigation of the mining billionaire and former LNP life member Clive Palmer. The mining billionaire who was also a lifelong political conservative political activist who has fallen out with the Queensland LNP and is now a bitter opponent of premier Campbell Newman. Mr Palmer is now threatening to set up his own party in Queensland and has suggested that it will be known as the “United Australia Party” (UAP).
There are further suggestions the Mr Palmer’s new party will seek a relationship with the KAP. This is just as well as Palmer’s renegade conservative party would share at least some natural supporters with the KAP. If the UAP chose to run a full state wide slate of candidates then they would split the vote in regional seats with the KAP.
The relationship between the UAP and the KAP could range from a coalition to an outright merger. Even if a coalition cannot be agreed between the parties it would in their interests to form a looser arrangement such as an alliance or an electoral pact to avoid contesting the same seats. Such an arrangement for optimum electoral advantage preserve the KAP in RoQ where it performed best and leave SEQ for the UAP.
So how would the infant party do in SEQ? Obviously it is too early to tell with certainty as there are many factors in play. However a few factors deserve some exploration.
Leadership, Ideology and Appeal
It is not certain that Mr Palmer will even lead the new party as he has made some equivocal statements in this regard. While his approval ratings are tepid (25.6% approval vs 33.7% disapproval- Nov ReachTEL), there is no other public figure associated with the party at this time which has any public profile.
A Galaxy poll released early last week indicated that 27% of voters would vote for a Palmer Party. If this was a simple yes/no question instead of a full suite of party voting options, then it does not carry much weight.
Will the new party have any ideological differences with the LNP? At this point the purpose of the party seems to be to oppose the Newman Government. However we can only assume that it will be right of centre.
LNP “oncer” Lifeboat?
Another possibility is that the UAP may attract current LNP MPs in SEQ which hold seats in 0-10% battleground noted above. A common term for these MPs who hold seats that are deep within Labor territory are “oncers”, reflecting to assessment that they cannot win hitherto safe Labor seats in a regular electoral contest.
A jump to the UAP by any of these MPs would allow these MPs to campaign against the Newman Government in their electorates and give the MP’s the possibility of holding on to their seats. However with the exception of the recently unbound MP Carl Judge no such MPs have indicated any desire to throw their lot in with the UAP. However impending political demise can be a powerful incentive.
If this occurred, the likely scenario is that the LNP would put up a candidate but not seriously contest such seat so as to save resources for the seats needed to retain government. However the rump LNP vote in these seats would in all likelihood prevent the re-election of UAP MPs unless an explicate preference recommendation was made.
Sunshine and Gold Coasts
Another possible base of support for the UAP is the Sunshine and Gold Coasts. Mr Palmer is a resident of the Gold Coast and owns the Coolum resort on the Sunshine Coast. Mr Palmer’s links to the community are the strongest in these areas and combined with the fact that all of the Sunshine And Gold Coast seats are safe LNP, none of these seats will be targeted by the ALP In 2015 when they will seek to win back seats on lower margins in Greater Brisbane. The UAP could fill this vacuum in these areas.
The electoral contest in 2015 is still too far away to say with certainty about its outcome. Minor parties do fizzle out and their electoral threat may disappear by 2015.
But given the huge landslide win of the LNP this year, the decimation of Labor and the rise of new parties, the electoral contest 2015 could be a patchwork quilt of novel contests if the KAP and the UAP do not dissipate as political forces in the meantime as minor parties commonly do.
In at least half of RoQ seats the contest could either be a three way match between the majors and the KAP or a LNP/KAP duel.
In SEQ former Labor heartland seats snatched by the LNP in 2012 could see contests between sitting MPs under the UAP umbrella competing against Labor, while on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts the LNP may have to fend off a well resourced UAP challenge.
However the end game for the KAP and for any UAP is to win enough seats to force a hung parliament. From the current position the KAP cannot win enough seats on its own in RoQ to ensure a hung parliament. Either Labor needs to win back some its former heartland seats and/or the UAP needs to win seats.
Given current polling Labor look set to win back a score of its former seats. If the LNP wants to avoid a hung parliament then it needs to hold its second front against the KAP and possibly (if Clive Palmer is so inclined) a third front against the UAP.
However with 2 years to go until the next election, this is plenty of time for Queensland’s electoral calculus to change again.