Voters can’t decide who is worse
QUEENSLAND will head into 2015 with a state election due and voters unhappy with the capacity of either of the major parties to lead.
Reachtel polling conducted for the Seven Network last month found only 35.2% thought the LNP had done enough in this past three-year term to be re-elected.
Yet based on its performance in opposition, only 32.8% thought that Labor deserved to win office.
If an election had been held in the first week of December, Labor would have won with 51% of the vote on a two-party preferred basis.
That's a significant turnaround since polling in June gave the LNP a 53-47 lead over Labor.
The LNP faces losing a significant number of the seats it secured in its 2012 landslide, and potentially also government.
Such a prospect was unimaginable when it stormed into office in March, 2012, on the back of a 14.5% swing, winning a record 78 seats to Labor's seven.
Of those, 37 were won in Brisbane with the LNP also taking Cairns from Labor for the first time in more than 100 years.
However a raft of aggressive measures to address what it described as a budget crisis eroded confidence in the government.
The areas it targeted included the axing of up to 20,000 full and part-time government positions, tough VLAD laws, scandals involving LNP members, reports of ministerial favours granted to developers, interference in local government planning matters and perceived assaults on the integrity of the CMC and judiciary.
Mr Newman and his ministers have not been helped by pointed attacks coming from Fitzgerald Inquiry head Tony Fitzgerald and a judiciary furious at the appointment of Tim Carmody as Chief Justice.
The resignation of Scott Driscoll and the subsequent by-election trouncing the government received in Redcliffe was repeated in Stafford after Dr Chris Davies also quit citing dissatisfaction with new donation laws, changes to the CMC and new doctor contracts.
The 18.6% swing to Labor's Dr Anthony Lynham exposed the Premier's vulnerability in the adjoining seat of Ashgrove and awakened the government to the sometimes fleeting nature of power.
The LNP has spent millions of dollars attempting to sell its Strong Choices platform centred on privatising state assets to finance infrastructure upgrades.
But a deeply suspicious electorate appears not to be buying the differentiation between an outright sale of assets and the LNP's proposed 99-year leases.
The 11-12% increase in Labor's primary vote has come straight off the LNP whose own has slipped from 49% to 39%.
The Sunshine Coast's five ministers appear safe from all but a seismic shift in voter opinion but can point to little to show for their elevation to cabinet.
The Sunshine Coast University Hospital was started under Labor and the massive Roys Rd interchange services the deeply unpopular Caloundra South development. There has been no commitment of tangible financial support at either a state or federal level for key infrastructure upgrades including the airport expansion, the light rail or the entertainment, arts and cultural centre proposed for Maroochydore.
Duplication of the rail line between Nambour and Brisbane is also off the radar.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney's planning scheme interference at Halls Creek has angered many voters.
The Premier's aggressive support of Sekisui House Yaroomba development proposals that would require major town plan amendments to accommodate has also put the LNP offside with the more than 70% of Sunshine Coast residents who want no increases to height and density in their neighbourhoods.
Lecturer in politics at Griffith University Dr Paul Williams believes the LNP will scrape home at an election he can't see happening before April.
He says the positive shift in Labor's primary vote showed that Queenslanders in huge numbers had already forgiven it.
"It's a myth the Labor brand is dead," Dr Williams said. "It always bounces back."
He can't see an election before late March at the earliest.
"There have been three or four bad polls and the government needs a good three months to prepare.
"Legally they can go to June 20 but that would be ridiculously late and look like a desperate attempt to cling to power."
Which of the two major parties would you prefer to lead Queensland?
This poll ended on 27 December 2014.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Dr Williams is adamant the Premier can't retain his seat of Ashgrove.
He said Ashgrove's demographic weighed against the Premier. The seat had many media-aware, double-degree, inner-urban residents with environmental, human rights and civil liberties concerns, and professions including doctors, lawyers and public servants - exactly who Mr Newman had been at war with for the past two years.
There was a 90% probability of Mr Newman losing Ashgrove, although Dr Williams still expected the LNP to be left with a small majority of four or five seats.
He predicted Treasurer Tim Nicholls, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg and Transport Minister Scott Emerson would shape up post-election in a leadership showdown.
Attorney-General and Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie was not in the race, Dr Williams said.
Despite the big swing to Labor in the Stafford and Redcliffe by-elections he expected a more modest 8-10% swing across the state and 10-12% in Brisbane when voters go to the polls.
Labor would be expected to win more than half Brisbane's 38 seats and pick up others in provincial cities.
Dr Williams expected the LNP to end up with a seat count in the high 40s with Labor in the mid to high 30s.
While the Palmer United Party might have been an outside chance eight months ago of winning a Sunshine Coast seat, Dr Williams now believes it has none.