Why swingers voted in Queensland

This analysis is based on the 24 respondents from our exit survey who identified as having changed their vote since last election, or who normally vote LNP but this time voted for the ALP. These were the voters who decided the election, so why they changed their vote is the best gauge of what really happened.

Exit Swingers Direction

This is a general question which gives some idea of what respondents think is pushing the state forward or holding it back. These respondents were 92% likely to say the state was heading in the wrong direction. These are the reasons why.

Exit Swingers Issue

When it comes to the election, respondents will have a different take. There are some issues that while important are intractable, or common to both parties. So Newman wasn't in the responses to "heading in the right direction" but he appears here. Although when you add him to style of government it is a similar figure to the total for style of government in the first table.

Exit Swingers First Pref

This is the business end of decision making. They've refined their choices down to what really mattered. This is where the protest vote first appears. Newman and style of government still sum to the same total, but asset sales is much less important. Only one person voted on the basis of the local Labor candidate.

Was Tony Abbott a factor?

From this group only one respondent mentioned it as a reason for not voting LNP. So he had a barely measurable effect.

Approval of Newman

Exit Swingers Newman Approve

This is very strong disapproval of Newman.

Approval of Palaszczuk

Exit Swingers Palaszczuk Approve

This is a more normal distribution. They're not strongly favourable to her, and some even disapprove. A large group doesn't have a strong opinion, while 54% approves.

Preferred Premier

Exit Swingers Preferred Premier

An interesting contrast with their approval of Palaszczuk. While no one chose Newman, around a quarter weren't really sure of Palaszczuk.


It was a completely home grown own goal, if the son of Tasmanian politicians who transplanted himself here can be described as "home grown".

Campbell Newman and the way he ran the government was the deciding factor amongst those people who decided the result. The lawyers and civil libertarians had the last laugh – just.

In my view it didn't have to be this way. Liberal campaign failures, looking at this were:

  1. The LNP didn't centre their campaign on the economy, which according to Newspoll was their strongest suit. The economy is long down the list of important things here.
  2. The LNP did centre their campaign on Newman. He was the biggest thing holding them back.
  3. Asset sales on their own weren't the deciding factor, but they were a contributor.
  4. There was no negative campaign against Annastacia Palaszczuk and the ALP so their approval probably rose during the campaign. They certainly weren't seen as a risk.
  5. The big spending campaign fed into perceptions of corruption, particularly as money seemed to be spent in special seats, like Ashgrove. It also took the focus off the economy and put asset sales front and centre.
  6. The general rule of politics is that people vote against, not for. The campaign broke that rule, and offered a product that no one wanted to vote for anyway.

Labor's successes were:

  1. Keeping expectations of a win by them vanishingly small
  2. Not trying to match the government on big spending promises. Not only did this contrast them with a government felt to be bribing its way back into office, but it meant there was little to argue about when it came to problems with their costings.
  3. Switching their emphasis from jobs early in the campaign to Campbell's not listening.

Ultimately Labor didn't really win this campaign, the LNP lost it. A sign of that is that the ALP was campaigning against "cuts to frontline services" for months, but it hardly shows in the data. What does show is Campbell Newman.

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