Today we shall have a look at the recent Queensland state voting intention polling which has been produced in the past few weeks. From the state-wide polls we shall attempt to deduce the state of play in Queensland. Along the way we shall look at the challenging psephological issue we will encounter due to the rise of the KAP and their electoral performance.
There have been two state-wide polls released by ReachTEL and Galaxy which have both shown a swing away from the LNP since the last state election. There have also been several single seat polls released by ReachTEL which are interesting, but today we shall stick to the state-wide picture.
Below is a one off poll average using both polls weighted by sample size. The table of the polls and derived averages is set out below and a second table indicating the swings since the last election on primary vote and TPP.
As you can see there has been swing away from the LNP since the last election, but the LNP are still well in front. How do these results translate into parliamentary seats?
This where it gets a bit tricky, normally a uniform TPP swing or some derivative thereof is used to determine the change in seat numbers in accordance with changes in voting support. However, Queensland has the complicating factor of Katter’s Australian Party which won 11.5% of the vote at the last state election. The KAP vote was concentrated in regional Queensland and in 14 seats the KAP vote exceeded 20%. A uniform swing is not applicable to the KAP vote because of its small statewide share of the vote and the wide variation between seats.
Furthermore the KAP vote diminished the swing towards the LNP. The higher the KAP vote the smaller the swing was towards the LNP. Below is a scatter plot of the primary vote swing from the ALP to the LNP calculated as half the difference of the two primary votes swings (the UK method) vs the KAP vote.
As you can see there is a clear relationship and we can use the slope of the line to determine that for every 1% of KAP support the LNP primary vote lead over the ALP decreases on average by 0.2886%.
A reduction of the KAP vote is modelled in the seat projection model as a first step by altering the 2012 election figures for the level of the KAP vote in a poll or average of polls using the above relationship as a guide. Once this is done a uniform primary vote swing is applied between the adjusted 2012 election figures and poll average primary votes.
Preferences are applied in the following assumed preference flows derived for the 2012 election. Preference flows of individual parties and candidates in electorates are not provided by the ECQ. Therefore the preference flows were calculated based the following assumptions:
- An average Green preference flow is calculated in the 5 seats where the Greens were the only non-major candidates.
- Using an aggregation of the 71 seats where the LNP and the ALP are the TCP candidates, the overall preference flow is calculated.
- Using the Green preference flow from the first step we subtract the Green preferences from the overall flow to calculate a overall preference flow for the KAP and “others”.
We obtain the following preference flows:
The overall preference flows are applied to the primary votes to obtain the TCP votes. A probability is calculated for each seat in the same manner of the Australia poll average using a standard deviation of 4. The sum of the probabilities for each party is the number of seats each party wins in the seat projection.
We set out the seat projection below.
As you can see the LNP would still win handily, but the Queensland ALP caucus would be in the market for another 2 Taragos.
Another important thing to note is like the federal seat projection, we will not award crossbench seats away from the incumbent unless there is direct polling evidence to support such a move (i.e. a seat poll that indicates the incumbent is losing). This includes KAP MPs as it is possible that even if the vote dissipates for their party they can hold the seats in isolation as a sitting MP. A classic example of this was Rosa Lee Long who represented the seat of Tablelands for One Nation between 2001 and 2009. During her career the One Nation vote collapsed, but she was able to hold her seat with a decent share of the vote.
As we are more than 2 years away from the next Queensland election the above figures are academic. However we have touched on a very important feature of the next Queensland election; the future of the Katter vote. If the KAP vote falls at the next election then it will impact on a swing back to Labor at the next election.
At the March election the TCP swings to the LNP in seats with high Katter votes were reduced. Consequently if there is a swing back to Labor at the next election and the Katter vote falls, then the TCP swing to Labor will be smaller in seats with previously high KAP votes and larger in seats with a low or non-existent 2012 KAP vote, absent any other factors.
However, two and a half years is plenty of time for new factors to come to the fore.