Government loses election campaign

On the basis of our results I suspect that the LNP is on about 52% of the vote with a greater than 7% swing. This is better for them than Galaxy or Newspoll, but historically the National Party vote has tended to be underestimated in polls. Galaxy and Newspoll also don’t tend to catch the late behaviour until it is too late.

Voters’ reasons for changing their votes are a microcosm of the issues driving the whole sample.

Labor is losing because voters believe they haven’t performed and that they are all spin and no substance. Health policy, and delivery of services generally, are their key weaknesses.

The Liberal Nationals aren’t winning because voters perceive them as insubstantial. They’re not losing, because most believe they wouldn’t be any worse than the government.

The Labor Party has tried to make jobs and the economy the issues of the campaign, but they have failed.

The table below tracks the number of times the major issues are mentioned by those voters who have changed their voting intention during the campaign.


It demonstrates that health is far and away the most significant amongst this group. Jobs is significant, but only in one group – those changing their vote to Labor. And even amongst this group it is not significantly higher in mentions than health and equal with the economy.

This table gives a false impression of what is driving voter behaviour, which is not policies, but rather voters’ beliefs as to whether the policies will be implemented at all. So most judgements are about the quality of the two sides, not anything specific.

Here are a few verbatims from those moving to the LNP to give you a flavour of how they are thinking.

“Because I agree with the bulk of LNP policies. I think Labor have been in long enough and the things that Labor have had time to fix they have not. That does not mean that the LNP can either but they deserve a chance. Throwing money at health for example may not be the answer. It needs more than that. Tony Morris QC might be a good place to start.” Male, 55-64, retired

“The Labor lot are hopeless and not trustworthy, the LNP may be about the same.” Male, 65-74, retired

“Greens are preferencing Labor in 14 seats. I\'m appauled that they are doing any preference deals whilst TCD is still on the Labor table. Greens have lost my vote and my confidence.” Female, 35-44, Educator/Professor/Teacher

“went to a local LNP candidates meeting and asked questions and got answsers” Male, 75+, retired.

Those moving to Labor are driven more by fear that the LNP might win, than support for the government.

“jobs, I have three sons would like to keep them in work” Male, 55-64, retired.

“Actully feeling scare the LNP may pip labor at the post.” Male, 35-44, Government official

“I am scared at how close the election seems - if we wake up on Sunday with Springborg as premier we are in DEEP trouble” Male, 35-44 Supervisor

“I want Anna Bligh to be premier but I want her to heed the voice of the people on Daylight Saving/Traveston Dam.” Female, 65-74, Educator/Teacher/Professor

“Labor doesn't deserve another guernsey, but for f***s sake the LNP couldn't organise a piss-up at Milton stattion.” Male, 35-44, Scientist

“Labor has dissapointed but the LNP just can't be trusted at such a crucial time - voting Greens is a protest vote but I'll direct preferences to Labor as the best Govt option compared to the LNP” Malre, 45-54, Scientist

“I wanted to vote LNP because Labot has had 9 yrs and hospitals, schools and infrastructure is still a mess.
However LNP has not come up with specific details on what they will do. \"Improving hospitals \' is not a meaningful statement to me .” Male, 55-64, Retired.

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0 #1 CommentAdrian 2009-03-21 06:59
Even though daylight saving "is not an issue", I wonder how the DS4SEQ party will do tomorrow. For a such a non issue, the party seems to have gained momentum, maybe daylight saving will be the biggest issue in this election.
0 #2 CommentJohn 2009-03-22 02:25
Labor may have its faults but to entrust the state with the unholy alliance of the Nationals and a few Liberals is crazy stuff. Buyer beware.
0 #3 CommentLaurence Jones 2009-03-24 17:29
The LNP lost because they simply do not listen. First, they picked a loser, as nice as he is, as leader, second, at the end, the LNP failed to present itself as an alternative government with alternative policies.

Their policy on treated sewage effluent for human consumption was the same, as the Australian pointed out on Saturday,fluori de the same, and forced amalgamations the same. Three critical issues.

They continue to use the same advisers that have now lost three elections. I don't think that I could ever vote for the LNP again.

0 #4 CommentRonda Herrmann 2009-03-24 18:39
I do not agree that NLP was seriously at fault in its campaign, otherwise there would be a uniform swing throughout large sections of the state. Sadly, some candidates get endorsed by the Party and then sit back waiting for the drones to gather the honey, whilst others get going with doorknocking and 20-hour days of general campaigning and meetings. The difference between a 2 per cent swing in one seat compared with a ten to 12 % swing in the neighbouring seat screams out that one of the candidates was waiting for campaign help that never came. Moreover, candidates who "farm" the electorate for years to get themselves known will always get more votes than a last-minute nominee. Also, there is such a thing as "the right spouse" whose input to the campaign is demanding but beneficial.
0 #5 CommentMicky 2009-03-24 18:41
The general public believed the lies told by labor. Also the scare tactics regarding jobs. What about the many, many threatening phone calls in the last week to workers saying they will lose their jobs if LNP got in. In the end jobs were the most important thing. No job - no money.
0 #6 CommentR Paine 2009-03-24 19:23
Hopefully voters have learned a lesson and will not be stampeded by Media opinion in future elections.
0 #7 CommentR Paine 2009-03-24 19:24
Hopefully voters have learned a lesson and will not be stampeded by Media opinion in future elections.
0 #8 CommentR.A. Laws 2009-03-24 20:33
When we went to vote our name was not on the role and I have lived here since 1950 and this was not an isolated insadent. I have been lead to believe our vote will not be counted as we weren't on the roll.