Poll favours Democrats for Senate

It might not seem like much, but when there’s been three years of media coverage consisting mostly of pre-emptive obituary stories, seeing a headline that says “Poll favours Democrats for Senate” in the Sunday paper – albeit above a small story on page 9 – can come as rather a surprise. Even though it was amonst the Australian election coverage, it had been so long since I’d seen a headline like that that I still had to check to make sure it wasn’t about the US Democrats and the US Senate.

Even Malcolm Mackerras in a separate story, while still not predicting any wins for us, said “I believe that Andrew Bartlett in Queensland has a chance and will put up a strong fight.” Even getting an admission that I have a chance seems like a victory of sorts when one has had to repeatedly face barely concealed disbelief whenever I’ve tried to insist to journalists that I do actually have a genuine chance of winning, despite repeated polls throughout the year which show this.

The Sunday Mail story related to a Galaxy poll of Queensland voters. Rather than being asked who they would vote for in the Senate, they were asked which minor party they would prefer to hold the balance of power in the Senate, which is of course a related but slightly different thing. 34 per cent of voters said they would prefer the Democrats, 31 per cent said the Greens, 16 per cent said Family First and 12 per cent said Pauline Hanson, with 7 per cent uncommitted. 

This question doesn’t address the issue of the major parties, who will still get the majority of Senate votes, and indeed also doesn’t address the possibility that there is a chance that no minor party will be elected to the Senate at all in Queensland, leaving the major parties sharing all 12 Senate seats between them.

However, it does clearly show that Queenslanders would much rather prefer a progressive voice in the balance of power role, rather than the extremism of Pauline Hanson or Family First who have supported her with a preference deal.

It also shows that the Democrats and Greens are fairly closely poised when it comes to the Senate in Queensland, something which has been shown in a series of Morgan Senate polls. If I can poll ahead of the Greens and thus get their preferences, it would put me in a strong position to stop the major parties to get a clean sweep of the Senate seats and ensure a progressive voice from Queensland is part of the Senate balance of power – indeed a stronger chance than the reverse situation, as ironically I would gather Hanson’s preferences ahead of the major parties, which won’t happen if the Greens poll ahead of me.

It may all turn out to be wrong of course – we’ll all know soon enough – but receiving further independent evidence that the Democrat campaign in Queensland does have significant support this close to polling day is a welcome sign.

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6 Comments

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I told you so!

    12 months ago I was the only person I knew who thought AB had a chance and I was ridiculed by many who pointed to the Democrats polling around 2 percent at the time.

    The reason I thought AB had a chance is because he is more of an independent than a Democrat. All the polling was about the Democrat label, which was and still is a bit irrelevant. However Bartlett, the individual, has had a profile much greater than the party. His involvement in community groups and issues have developed a reputation for himself and not the party.

    In Queensland many people will vote for AB because of his activity even though they may care little for the Democrats.

    I have, and still do predict that many people who may be in the traditional Green demographic will consider Bartlett because of his stand on indigenous issues, something the Greens have again totally neglected in this election. They launched their (apparently) only indigenous policy, Indigenous health, last week on the same day as the ALP official launch, ensuring that the policy would not be covered in the media. Even Greensblog did not cover the story.

    I believe there is a blind spot in the pollling so far in that it probably has not included too many Aboriginal people, especially in remote areas and more especially people who dont have telephones. From what I hear around the ridges, Bartlett is well regarded in the Aboriginal community, especially because of his work on stolen wages. Bartlett has put a lot of effort into indigenous media as well as North Queensland media. He is the only candidate other than Sam Watson and the Socialist Alliance who has personal endorsements from Aboriginal leaders.

    As has been pointed out, the last 2 seats will be determined by very small preference flows so the Aboriginal vote, undetected on polls to date, could make a very big difference.

    Andrew – I hope the stars align for you.

  2. Dr Jen [3]:
    I’ll Second that motion.

    Andrew bartlett:
    Saw you sticking up for Aborigines on WIN-TV News this evening.

    My initial reaction was that your heart was in the right place but your timing so close to the election was terrible, even though you were absolutely right.

    Then, on reflection, realized that those who are influenced by foreign racism and by imported cults posing as religion will never ever vote for you.

    Realized too that those people who are genuinely frightened by or angry at a tiny handful of Aboriginal hoons in the area will be influenced in their voting by a lot of other factors; likewise, those who believe the slanderous anti-Aborigine propaganda that is still in circulation.

    That news item might encourage many Aborigines, as well as many of those in the wider community who still believe in a Fair Go, to look for your name on the Senate ballot paper on Saturday.

    Apparently, you are one of the few candidates who has even bothered to mention Aborigines.

    Hope justice prevails on Saturday and that you are re-elected.

  3. I’ve found it interesting the number of people I’ve spoken to recently who both know who Andrew is and want him in the Senate – even if they intend voting for Labor or Liberal in the lower house. And these are people I just chat to on the train – not people I know.

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