A question of dubious value on how respondents would vote if Kevin Rudd were leader will hog all the headlines, but a Galaxy poll of federal voting intention in Queensland gives Labor one of their better results of recent times.
The Courier-Mail reveals a Galaxy poll of 800 Queensland respondents conducted on Wednesday and Thursday evenings shows a result for federal Labor which is better than their recent form, with Labor holding its ground from 2010 (not that that’s saying much) with 33% of the primary vote and a two-party preferred deficit of 55-45. This is the first time in a while that Labor has been able to enjoy a poll pointing to a status quo result. However, the headline-grabber is a supplementary question on how people would vote if Kevin Rudd was leader, which suggests Labor would be at 47% on the primary vote and lead 53-47. I have all sorts of problems with this kind of exercise, but you can nonetheless expect to hear a great deal of these results in the coming days. The full figures will be published in the Courier-Mail tomorrow.
UPDATE: Full results courtesy of GhostWhoVotes here. The primary vote figures are remarkably similar to the last such Galaxy poll in late November, back when Labor were thought to be on the upswing: 33% for Labor (steady), 46% for the Coalition (steady), 9% for the Greens (up one).
UPDATE 2 (25/2/13): A dire result for Labor in the latest Essential Research poll, which has the Coalition up two points to a epic 49%, Labor down one to 34% and the Greens steady on 9%, with the Coalition two-party lead blowing out from 54-46 to 56-44. Despite that, extensive questions on expectations of a Coalition government are not all that rosy, despite a net positive 10% rating for the economy: workers rights, job security, public services, and even interest rates, the cost of living and personal financial situation are all solidly in the negative. The kicker is that 57% say the government does not deserve to be re-elected, against only 26% who say it does. Thirty-six per cent said the Liberal Party was ready to govern against 45% who thought otherwise. Further questions gauge responses to policies on flexible work hours, industry and supplying mining projects, which party best represents blue-collar workers, and trust in various types of information sources.
Seat of the week: Port Adelaide
Since we already have a new thread going courtesy of Galaxy, Seat of the Week will attend to an electorate of marginal importance for which I was never planning on going to the effort of making a map.
The electorate of Port Adelaide includes Port Adelaide itself and the adjacent Le Fevre Peninsula, including the suburbs around Sempahore and Largs Bay, along with Woodville and its surrounds to the north of the city and, some distance to the north-east, a stretch of suburbs from Parfield Gardens north to Salisbury North, which are separated from the rest of the electorate by the Dry Creek industrial area. Over-quota enrolment required that the seat be pared back with the redistribution to take effect at the coming election, which has added 8000 voters around Salisbury North while removing 700 in the badlands west of Princes Highway. A little further south again, a projected 7,200 voters in a rapidly growing area from the University of South Australia campus at Mawson Lakes north to Salisbury Park have been transferred to Makin. At the southern end of the electorate, 3,300 voters around Seaton have been transferred to Hindmarsh. The changes have boosted the already handsome Labor margin from 20.0% to 21.4%.
Port Adelaide was created with the expansion of parliament in 1949 from an area that had previously made Hindmarsh a safe seat for Labor. Labor’s strength was such that the Liberals did not field candidates in 1954 and 1955, when it was opposed only by the Communist Party. Rod Sawford assumed the seat at a by-election in 1988 upon the resignation of the rather more high-profile Mick Young, member since 1974, and held it until his retirement in 2007. His successor has been Mark Butler, previously state secretary of the Left faction Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union and a descendant of two conservative state premiers: his great- and great-great-grandfathers, both of whom were called Sir Richard Butler.
Butler has quietly established himself as a rising star over his two terms in parliament, winning promotion to parliamentary secretary in June 2009 and then in the junior ministry portfolios of mental health and ageing after the 2010 election, despite his hesitancy in jumping aboard the Julia Gillard bandwagon for the June 2010 leadership coup. He was elevated to cabinet in December 2011 when social inclusion was added to his existing responsibilities, and was solidly behind Gillard when Kevin Rudd challenged her leadership two months later. Housing and homelessness were further added to his workload in the reshuffle which followed Nicola Roxon and Chris Evans’s departure in February 2013.
The Liberal candidate for the second successive election will be Nigel McKenna, a self-employed painter and decorator.
William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.