Where the Qld election will be won
In the final week before Saturday's Queensland election, record numbers of voters have already had their say at the ballot box in what is widely touted as the most important election in the state's recent history.
The two major parties are standing in all 93 seats, with a host of minor party, ultra minor and independent candidates sitting in a significant number as well.
Political scientist and Griffith University lecturer Dr Paul Williams said there were at least 32 marginal seats where the incumbent held with less than a 5 per cent margin. This could tip the election in either direction, with at least nine "must watch" seats.
Dr Williams said whichever party snapped up the three key Townsville seats would "most likely win government".
Votes for Greens are likely to increase in most electorates, but Dr Williams said support for Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party could dip, and Clive Palmer's United Australia Party wouldn't gain traction.
Meanwhile, Katter's Australian Party was likely to retain its two seats, but not gain any others.
Preferences will be important, although fewer people are following how-to-vote cards.
The LNP and Labor both have 15 seats each with margins under 5 per cent; they're considered must-win for either party.
ABC chief elections analyst Antony Green said the nine key seats that could decide the election were Bonney, Burleigh, Caloundra, Currumbin, Gaven, Glass House, Maryborough, Pumicestone and Theodore.
Here, Dr Williams breaks those seats down.
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INCUMBENT: Sam O'Connor, LNP (1.7 per cent margin)
A new electorate formed before the 2017 election, the LNP holds the Gold Coast seat with a margin of 1.7 per cent.
This seat could go in either the ALP or the LNP's favour this time around, depending on whether there was a strong "gratitude vote" for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
"We know there's been a lot of backlash on the Gold Coast against the border closure. These places have felt it hard," Dr Williams said.
"But, there could be a silent majority which would see Labor gain traction."
Dr Williams said although he wasn't expecting to see the seat change hands "anything could happen".
INCUMBENT: Michael Hart, LNP (4.9 per cent margin)
While Labor will be hoping so-called "celebrity candidate" Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew will help them clinch the seat from the LNP, which holds the central Gold Coast seat on a 4.9 per cent margin, Dr Williams said it was unlikely.
"If Labor wins this seat, it won't be because of an old surfer. It could be because of a gratitude vote for Palaszczuk, or it could be because he has other credentials that makes him the better candidate," Dr Williams said.
"Celebrity candidates work better in regional areas where they're well known in town … those communities are more insular; that's not the case here."
Dr Williams predicted the Greens vote, which was 16.1 per cent in 2017, could increase alongside Labor's but incumbent MP Michael Hart looked likely to retain the seat.
RETIRING: Mark McArdle LNP (3.4 per cent margin)
The LNP holds this once-safe seat with a 3.4 per cent margin.
The retirement of Mark McArdle, who has held the seat since 2004 and was a one-time LNP leader, could spell trouble for the party in this massive growth corridor.
"It's natural Liberal constituency, full of wealthy retirees, but the influx of young families with mortgages could help Labor," Dr Williams said.
This is a winnable seat for Labor. The two independents standing in this seat are "problematic" for the LNP and should not be underestimated.
"They could spray their preferences everywhere," Dr Williams said.
"It will be a moral blow to the LNP if they lose this seat."
INCUMBENT: Laura Gerber, LNP (3.3 per cent margin)
Despite the most southern Gold Coast seat only holding a by-election in March after the retirement of long-time LNP MP Jann Stuckey, Dr Williams said the seat was anybody's for the taking.
Ms Stuckey was a very popular candidate and although the seat was held by the LNP, many constituents didn't like Deb Frecklington. While it should be safe considering its lengthy history of voting blue, the LNP is terrified to lose it, having lost ground in the by-election.
"It would also be a moral blow for the LNP to lose this seat," Dr Williams said.
Anna Palmer, wife of mining billionaire Clive, is a candidate however Dr Williams said she was likely to pick up no more than five points, saying "don't over-estimate Palmer".
One independent candidate who could spell trouble for the major parties is Dr Richard Stuckey, husband of the former MP Jann.
"That will draw support away from the LNP, and a lot of those (votes) will go straight to Labor," Dr Williams said.
"No one should be surprised if Currumbin is lost (to the LNP) on the Stuckey variable alone."
INCUMBENT: Meaghan Scanlon, ALP: 0.7 per cent
The only Labor-held seat on the Gold Coast is another must-watch for Dr Williams, and one that incumbent Meaghan Scanlon needs to win.
With only a wafer-thin margin, a matter of hundreds of votes could see the seat turn blue, but Dr Williams said it was likely to be retained.
"Before COVID, I'd say this would have been gone … But there are some strong Labor pockets in this northern part of the Gold Coast," Dr Williams said.
"I think there will be a lot of gratitude votes, people like Palaszczuk and like her strong border measures."
There are 5000 new voters enrolled in this electorate, making it difficult to predict.
And Dr Williams said everything could be null and void if Queensland saw a new cluster of COVID-19 in the last week of the campaign, making this an unpredictable seat to call early.
INCUMBENT: Andrew Powell, LNP (3.4 per cent).
The LNP suffered a significant swing against it in the 2017 election, despite the member having held the seat since 2009.
Labor also suffered a swing against it, as One Nation ran a candidate who attracted about 23 per cent of the votes.
Dr Williams predicted One Nation would lose significant traction this election, likely to only win 10 to 15 points.
The Greens vote will be up in Glass House, as will Labor, and the LNP should also win more votes, as former One Nation voters split between the two major parties.
"It could go either way, except if I had to choose I'd say the LNP is more likely to retain seat than lose it," Dr Williams said.
"But everything can happen. That's only a few thousand votes."
INCUMBENT: Bruce Saunders, ALP (2.5 per cent)
While Dr Williams doesn't see this as a key seat, it's a must-win for Labor because it won't face significant competition from the LNP.
One Nation had the second highest votes in the 2017 election but, again, Dr Williams predicts those voters will return to a major party - and in this part of the state it's more likely to be red.
"This is not One Nation's election … the tide is out on the populist right," Dr Williams said.
Labor won 45 per cent of the primary votes last election and could produce a similar result, with LNP in second.
"That's problematic for the Labor party with preferences, but given their primary vote should be high with a gratitude vote, and Deb Frecklington failing to gain traction in the regions, Labor is pretty well placed to retain this seat," Dr Williams said.
RETIRING: Simone Wilson LNP MP (0.8 per cent)
A "super interesting" seat, the electorate which encompasses retirement-haven Bribie Island and working class heartlands of Caboolture, Pumicestone has already had four members in the past eight years and will be looking at a fifth however this goes.
Voters are likely to look for stability after a "revolving door", and Dr Williams predicts Labor is where they'll place their confidence - and votes.
However, this is ultra-marginal, and there are little more than 500 votes in the margin.
LNP candidate Fiona Gaske is new to the area, having served as deputy mayor in a southwest Queensland council for a term.
"Labor would love to take this back," Dr Williams said.
Dr Williams expects votes for Labor and LNP will likely be up, One Nation down, and Greens up slightly.
"This is eminently winnable for Labor," Dr Williams said.
INCUMBENT: Mark Boothman, LNP (3.7 per cent margin)
This is only the second election this seat on the northern Gold Coast has been contested and is a must-hold for the LNP and winnable for Labor.
Dr Williams finds it odd to classify, considering the wide ranging population.
Votes in this electorate could be split on sentiment over the border and economic downtown, with a critical mass potentially cranky with the Palaszczuk government's handling of the pandemic and border closures.
Dr Williams said support of the strict border measures wasn't just geographically based, but also age based, and said the elderly population could swing in Labor's favour.
"There could be a significant enough vote of families (hard done by) who could potentially outweigh the pensioners," Dr Williams said.
"It's impossible to tell. The LNP must hold this seat, and are better placed, but it is winnable for Labor."
LNP MUST WIN SEATS
Dr Williams says the following marginal seats are high on the LNP's agenda:
- Aspley, ALP hold by 1.2 per cent
- Mansfield, ALP hold by 1.6 per cent
- Barron River, ALP hold by 1.9 per cent
- Keppel, ALP hold by 3.1 per cent (v ONP)
- Redlands, ALP hold by 3.1 per cent
- Springwood: ALP hold by 3.6 per cent
- Thuringowa: ALP hold by 4.1 per cent (v One Nation)
- Mundingburra: ALP hold by 1.1 per cent
- Townsville ALP hold by 0.4 per cent
- Ferny Grove: ALP hold by 4.6 per cent
Other marginal ALP seats include Cairns, Gaven, Maryborough, Redcliffe and South Brisbane.
ALP MUST WIN SEATS
Dr Williams says the ALP is vying for a win in the following marginal seats:
- Whitsunday, Marginal LNP hold by 0.7 per cent (incumbent Jason Costigan now standing for North Queensland First)
- Burdekin: LNP hold by 0.8 per cent
- Clayfield: LNP hold by 2.4 per cent
- Coomera: LNP hold by 3.5 per cent
- Bundaberg: LNP hold by 4.2 per cent
- Everton: LNP hold by 4.9 per cent
Other marginal LNP seats include: Bonney, Burleigh, Caloundra, Chatsworth, Currumbin, Glass House, Lockyer, Moggill, Pumicestone and Theodore.
Other marginal seats include Maiwar, held by the Greens by 1.6 per cent, and Mirani, held by One Nation by 4.8 per cent.
Originally published as Where the Qld election will be won