Queensland election: Campbell Newman gains early boost in polls

Labor fails to make headway in first week of campaigning as government enjoys a modest turnaround ahead of 31 January election

Campbell Newman has had an early bounce in the polls in the second week of campaigning, as jobs creation and economic growth emerge as dominant election issues.

Two separate polls show a boost in popularity for the Liberal National party (LNP). Newspoll shows the LNP up three points to 53% in the two party preferred stakes. Labor was down three points to 47%.

The same poll showed an even bigger boost for the LNP in its primary vote, which went up from 37% to 42% since October. Labor received a one point bump, up to 37% over the same time period.

Premier Campbell Newman’s personal popularity was up three points to 41%, while opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s has held steady at 38%.

The Newspoll survey has a three point margin of error.

The federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, campaigning in Queensland on Sunday, conceded Queensland Labor had a “steep mountain to climb” in the looming state election.

But he said voters wanted a leader who understood ordinary Queenslanders, and that’s why Palaszczuk was doing so well.

“It’s a very steep mountain that Annastacia Palaszczuk has to climb,” Shorten said.

“But for goodness sakes, if you hand Campbell Newman the same whopping majority then you’re going to get three and four more years of the terrible cuts, the high unemployment and the cuts to the quality of life for Queensland.”

More good news for Newman in the most recent Galaxy poll, which shows the LNP in front on issues like managing the economy and law and security. In that survey, 52% of respondents said they thought the LNP was better at managing the economy, compared with Labor’s 36% approval rating.

The economy and jobs creation is likely to be one of the major issues of the election, as Queensland struggles with one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. It currently sits at 6.9%.

Newman on Sunday announced a $91m jobs package to boost training opportunities for young Queenslanders.

“It creates more apprenticeships, it creates skill specific training, it creates cadetships and it also creates training opportunities for young Queenslanders from disadvantaged situations,” Newman said.

The premier said the package would make 26,000 more training opportunities available over three years.

Palaszczuk said on Sunday that Labor would create more frontline jobs for nurses, teachers and police officers by cutting government spending.

If elected Labor will slash the number of ministers to 14, saving $27m.

Palaszczuk was unable to say which ministers would go, but said that the axing would not affect public service jobs.

The LNP is also ahead on law and order, another major campaign issue. The Galaxy polls shows 55% of respondents think the LNP is better at managing law and order. 35% back Labor on the issue. The result comes after Newman’s controversial crackdown on bikie gangs, which libertarians say is authoritarian and unlawful. Bikies lost a high court challenge to the laws late last year.

Newman has also promised his Ashgrove constituents more than $10.5 million worth of projects if he’s re-elected in the seat.

The premier holds his seat by a margin of 5.7% but the latest polls suggest his challenger, Labor candidate and former minister Kate Jones, will reclaim the seat.

Newman has promised $5m to upgrade Mitchelton Youth Centre, $3m for a hall at Enoggera state school, $1m for Ashgrove sports ground, $160,000 to upgrade Mitchelton state school basketball courts and $1.5m for upgrading the Walkabout Creek visitor centre.

Both Newman and Palaszczuk are back on the campaign trail on Sunday, after a brief break to attend the funeral of eight children killed in Cairns in December. Newman called a snap poll earlier this month, taking many by surprise. The state will go to the polls on 31 January.

Contributor

Shalailah Medhora and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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