Mackay exit polling offers insight into the minds of voters
BIG personalities, familial voting habits and divisive issues are on Mackay voters' minds as they head to the polls for the Queensland election.
Electoral Commission Queensland says a whopping 20,000 people have already voted in Mackay, compared to 6500 in Whitsunday.
The Daily Mercury team has been conducting anonymous exit polling since early voting opened.
This involved asking those coming out of the booths who they voted number one on their ballot paper and why.
There were the usual donkey voters, who admitted they simply numbered the ballot paper in ascending order, as well as plenty of informal voters.
Of the majority who did carefully consider their democratic duty, many focused on the big personalities or party leaders.
A female Whitsunday voter in her 60s said she voted Labor because: "I love Annastacia Palaszczuk, so I wanted to support her".
A pair of One Nation voters said they backed Pauline Hanson because she was "good with the mines".
"We both work at the mines and we don't want to lose our jobs," one of them said.
Another ALP voter commented that "Annastacia Palaszczuk has been amazing with the border closures".
For others, contentious issues such as coal mining, gun ownership and the push for a separate NQ state were front of mind.
An NQ First voter said they liked the party's stance on pursuing the interests of North Queenslanders.
Another respondent said they voted One Nation because "they are pro gun laws".
A male Whitsunday voter in his 60s said he voted for Amanda Camm because she supported the coal industry.
Many voters, both young and old, also turned to their family's rusted-on voting habits to help them decide.
A woman said she voted for Julieanne Gilbert purely based on her husband's advice.
An Amanda Camm supporter said they simply followed their dad's political preference.
"I literally have no idea about politics. I trust dad," they said.
First-time voter Keione Hulme-Moir, 18, described the whole process as "interesting".
The grandson of Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said he was thinking about jobs and the interests of the younger generation when he headed to the ballot box.
"I was thinking about my future and the future of other young people," Mr Hulme-Moir said.