Today we shall revisit our analysis of the Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) vote at the 2012 Queensland election and look at the implications for the KAP for the next Queensland state election which, if the parliament runs full term, would be in 2015.
It is important to note at the outset that our analysis of the future performance of the KAP is based on a vital assumption, that the KAP organisation maintains its current organizational strength and does not splinter or fracture like other minor parties are prone to do. Consequently our analysis assumes that the KAP will be able to field a full slate of candidates at the next state election.
2009 party vote correlations revisited
Before we start posting on 2015, let’s revisit our multiple variable regression we ran in the last post. We have run the same regression again with the final primary vote figures and a full table is below. As discussed in the last post the use of SEQ and Regional regressions is more useful as it filters out the Rural bias of the KAP results. we include the state-wide results for completeness.
The take home messages are:
- KAP did best with 2009 “Others” voters in regional Queensland. These voters are conservative but not LNP voters. The KAP is their natural home.
- In regional Queensland KAP pulled more 2009 Labor voters than 2009 LNP voters. This was because Labor was the state and federal governing party and the LNP had clean record being out of office.
- In South East Queensland, KAP won more 2009 Labor voters than 2009 LNP voters, but the difference was less pronounced. Furthermore, the smaller Urban share of the vote and co-efficient suggests that the KAP was a minor protest party.
The KAP vote in 2015?
Simply put, after three years of government the LNP would be more vulnerable to losing voters to the KAP at the next election. Generally when in government, parties lose voter support.
Conversely, 2009 Labor voters who voted for the KAP in 2012 may float back to Labor, after 3 years out of office and a desire to express opposition to the LNP after 3 years in government. A limiting factor to this drift would be if Labor was still in office federally in 2015.
So it is these two factors that will affect the KAP vote in 2015. Let’s game a few scenarios with a combination of the above factors to forecast 4 possible outcomes. Here it is in table form.
We expand on these four scenarios below.
Scenario 1 – Labor can’t recover its vote & LNP state government is unpopular
This is the best scenario for the KAP. Their state-wide vote will increase and more seats are in play for the KAP to win. The KAP would lead the primary vote in Mulgrave, Thuringowa and Hinchinbrook, if 1 in 5 2012 LNP voters defected to the KAP.
More seats would be winnable on ALP preferences if they were so directed to the KAP in Townsville, Nanango, Beaudesert, Mundingburra, Burdekin, Whitsunday and Callide. The KAP may also be in with a chance in Burnett and Maryborough if the independents Messenger and Foley do not re-contest.
It should be noted that a 1 in 5 LNP voter defection to the KAP and ALP direction of preferences to the KAP are best case assumptions. But this is the best case scenario for the KAP.
Scenario 2 – Labor can’t recover its vote & LNP state government is popular
In this scenario the KAP vote pulls a status quo performance to 2012. It gains no new LNP voters and it holds disenchanted former Labor voters.
Scenario 3 – Labor can recover its vote & LNP state government is unpopular
In this scenario, the KAP vote is variable, but its strength changes with a fall in support in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay, set off by an improved performance in regional areas south of the Tropic of Capricorn, both on the coast and inland. The greatest area of improvement would be the belt of inland seats from Callide to Beaudesert.
As in scenario 1, the KAP may also be in with a chance in Burnett and Maryborough if the independents Messenger and Foley do not recontest.
Scenario 4 – Labor can recover its vote & LNP state government is popular
This is the worst scenario for the KAP as their state-wide vote will fall mostly in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay, with no offsetting vote gains elsewhere. All eyes would then be on Mount Isa and Dalrymple to see if the sitting members can hold their seats. However in these contests the KAP is the incumbent which is a different dynamic altogether.
Final note on assumptions
Now these scenarios are based on the assumption that the party holds it campaign infrastructure together as noted above and if no other political “black swan” event affect the party. But, given their profile and seats held in parliament, the KAP can consolidate their position and be a force for the next few election cycles in Queensland. The open question is how strong of a force.