Labor has staged a remarkable turnaround in the polls in Queensland, amid speculation of an early election.
But the poll was taken before the opposition Liberal National Party (LNP) ousted John-Paul Langbroek and revealed plans for Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman to take the fight to Labor.
The Newspoll, conducted for The Australian newspaper, shows Labor’s primary vote surged 12 points to 38 per cent in the January-March quarter.
That’s one percentage point ahead of the LNP and enough to hand Labor a comfortable win after preferences.
The LNP’s primary vote fell eight points to 37 per cent.
Labor’s two-party preferred vote surged 11 points to 52 per cent, four points clear of the LNP.
It’s a huge turnaround from the October-December Newspoll, when the LNP led Labor 59 to 41 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis.
Ms Bligh’s personal approval also leapt back from the depths.
At the end of last year, it was languishing at 24 per cent, with 67 per cent dissatisfied with her performance, but in the latest poll, her approval rating was 49 per cent, with 43 per cent dissatisfied.
Newspoll chief executive Martin O’Shannessy said Labor’s revival in Queensland was unprecedented, and credited Ms Bligh’s management of the state’s flood and cyclone disasters.
State Treasurer Andrew Fraser agreed.
“There is no doubt that it shows we’ve got the leadership that can rebuild Queensland,” he told ABC radio on Thursday.
“We’ve always shown, in our view as a government, we have a leader who’s got the ability, a proven track record and that is showing through.”
Ms Bligh has left open the possibility of an early election, claiming the LNP’s leadership machinations have rendered Queensland’s parliamentary system a “national joke”.
Under the new order, Callide MP Jeff Seeney is the LNP’s interim parliamentary leader while would-be premier Mr Newman would lead the party from outside the parliament, while he tries to win a seat.