Leaders neck and neck in race to bottom: poll
ANNASTACIA Palaszczuk has plummeted to become the most unpopular Queensland premier in recent history, yet her second-term Government has still begun to claw back lost support.
A shock new YouGov poll, conducted exclusively for The Courier-Mail, has revealed that while Ms Palaszczuk has fallen out of favour with voters, her decline has been eclipsed by a dramatic backlash over Deb Frecklington's efforts as opposition leader.
Eight months before the official start of the campaign for the October 31 election, the poll shows Labor and the LNP are locked in a dead heat, with Queensland facing the prospect of a messy minority administration for its first-ever four-year term.
Labor stalwarts last night blamed Ms Palaszczuk's failure to cauterise her deputy Jackie Trad's integrity crisis for her popularity falling to levels lower than those of the LNP's Campbell Newman and Labor's Anna Bligh before their defeats.
"No other Labor premier would have copped this," one senior party figure said.
"But this Premier has been unwilling to show leadership and now the electorate is responding to that."
Ms Frecklington also faces internal criticism that she is blowing an opportunity to beat Labor following her full-frontal assault on Ms Palaszczuk's fashion, and failure to prevent veteran MP Jann Stuckey's sudden resignation.
One party figure described her as "useless".
The poll result ensures the March 28 by-election for Ms Stuckey's marginal Gold Coast seat of Currumbin is a litmus test for both leaders.
Conducted during the first sitting week of State Parliament for 2020, the poll of more than 1000 voters from across Queensland found Labor's primary vote had inched forward two points to 34 per cent in the five months since the height of the integrity crisis in August.
The LNP primary vote slipped by the same margin to 35 per cent following the party's summer of self-inflicted foibles.
Pauline Hanson's One Nation improved to 15 per cent while the Greens dropped to 10 per cent.
On a two-party-preferred basis, Labor and the LNP are locked at 50-50, a result that would imperil the Government's grip on the seats of Townsville, Gaven, Mundingburra and Aspley, and force both parties to seek crossbench support to gain power.
The Labor Government currently holds a two-seat majority in Queensland's 93-seat Parliament, while the LNP hold 38 seats and needs to win another nine to govern in its own right.
Ms Palaszczuk holds a commanding lead over Ms Frecklington as better premier, 34 per cent to 22 per cent, after the number of voters who preferred the LNP leader plunged by 7 per cent.
However, with 44 per cent uncommitted, vast swaths of the state are indifferent about both leaders - a record result for Courier-Mail opinion polls, three times the rate before Mr Newman lost in 2015 and four times than when Ms Bligh lost in 2012.
The same sentiment is echoed in the verdict of voters on the performance of Ms Palaszczuk and Ms Frecklington, with the number of voters dissatisfied with both leaders significantly outstripping the number satisfied.
Just 29 per cent of Queenslanders approve of Ms Palaszczuk's performance - another record - compared to 46 per cent a year ago, while the dissatisfied figure grew from 38 per cent to 44 per cent in the same period.
Ms Palaszczuk's performance was weakest among voters in southeast Queensland areas other than Brisbane, where just 24 per cent were satisfied with her efforts.
The number satisfied with Ms Frecklington's performance fell from 31 to 23 per cent over the past year, while the percentage of dissatisfied voters grew from 38 per cent to 44 per cent.
Just 21 per cent of Brisbane residents approved of the Opposition Leader's efforts - only marginally better than 22 per cent in regional Queensland.