Thursday June 30, 2011
The Australian has a story saying that Labor is in trouble in Queensland. This is based on an aggregation of recent Newspolls into 3 month chunks, giving Newspoll decent sample sizes in each state (except Tasmania). Some quick reactions.
At the last election, in 2010, Labor got 33.6% of 1st preferences cast in Qld. The Coalition got 47.4%. The aggregation of April to June Newspolls has the corresponding numbers at 31% and 48%, respectively. That is not a big change, and certainly not “statistically significant” on the Coalition side of the ledger, although probably getting close on the Labor side. The bigger story might be the way the numbers for “Others” are bouncing around: 8.1% at the 2010 election, and then 13%, 14% and 11% in the Newspoll aggregations. Where those votes and their preferences wind up going will be quite consequential.
Interestingly, Labor was at 31% in the Feb-March 2011 Newspolls too. So the “Labor on the nose in QLD” story is hardly new, nor especially striking. I agree that a seat like Lilley (Wayne Swan’s seat, and taking in my old northside of Brisbane stomping ground) hasn’t got a lot of slack in it for Labor (and indeed, has changed hands when Labor is really on the nose). But the QLD numbers aren’t exactly jumping off the page.
Bigger differences from 2010 lie elsewhere: NSW 37.7 (2010 actual) to 30 (Apr-Jun 2011 Newspolls) for a 7.7 percentage point fall. VIC, 42.8 to 37, a 5.8 fall. SA: 40.7 to 34, a 6.7 fall. WA: 31.2 to 27, a 4.2 fall. Qld: 33.6 to 31, 2.6, which is the smallest of the falls in the state-by-state break-outs.
Put differently, look at the graphical depiction of the data I’ve made below; after seeing that, how are the QLD numbers the story? If the NSW numbers are even close to being right, then you can forget QLD, it won’t matter.