Healy in front but One Na­tion surge shows we’re miffed

The Weekend Post - - Front Page - CHRIS CALCINO

FAR North­ern vot­ers will play a cru­cial role in de­cid­ing the next State Govern­ment with a Cairns Post Galaxy poll show­ing wide­spread dis­con­tent.

A sur­vey in the seat of Cairns, which is be­ing touted as a key elec­torate in the Novem­ber 25 Queens­land poll, shows La­bor’s Michael Healy as the likely win­ner.

But he will need pref­er­ence votes from La­bor de­fec­tor Rob Pyne whose sup­port has tum­bled since turn­ing in­de­pen­dent.

The poll of about 500 peo­ple high- lighted a rise in sup­port for One Na­tion with can­di­date Ian Hodge record­ing 13 per cent of the vote.

A NEW Cairns Post Galaxy poll has revealed how frac­tured the Far North po­lit­i­cal land­scape has be­come just a fort­night be­fore the state elec­tion.

The phone sur­vey of 503 vot­ers in the Cairns elec­torate, taken on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day this week, places La­bor’s Michael Healy as the seat’s top con­tender with 37 per cent of the vote.

It re­veals in­cum­bent in­de­pen­dent MP Rob Pyne’s star has waned spec­tac­u­larly since he took the seat on La­bor’s ticket with 44 per cent of the vote in 2015 – and Pauline Han­son’s One Na­tion is a force to be reck­oned with.

LNP can­di­date Sam Marino placed sec­ond in the elec­tion stakes at 32 per cent, fol­lowed by One Na­tion’s Ian Hodge on 13 per cent.

Mr Pyne’s shift to the Left did not ap­pear to res­onate with the elec­torate. Just 11 per cent of those sur­veyed opted to give him a sec­ond term.

Greens can­di­date Aaron Mc­Don­ald was at the tail-end of the ticket with a 7 per cent share at the polls.

Both ma­jor par­ties ap­pear to be suf­fer­ing sig­nif­i­cant slumps from the last elec­tion – La­bor down 7.4 per cent and the LNP down 5.4 per cent.

The com­bined mi­nor par­ties and in­de­pen­dent se­cured al­most one-third of the to­tal vote in the poll at 31 per cent.

Both La­bor and the LNP have been des­per­ately try­ing to tap into what makes Far North vot­ers tick.

For La­bor, it has been tourism, job cre­ation and in­fra­struc­ture. The prospect of a bil­lion-dol­lar casino de­vel­op­ment on the wa­ter­front is at the fore­front of vot­ers’ minds.

The LNP has fo­cused on res­i­dents’ grow­ing fear of crime and croc­o­diles, wheel­ing out parcels of big-ticket pledges to crack down on both.

The race is far from over for One Na­tion. Pauline Han­son is ex­pected to bring her “Bat­tler Bus” to town days to drum up fur­ther sup­port.

Pre-polling will be­gin on Mon­day and can­di­dates have their how-to-vote cards hot off the press.

They will be im­por­tant weapons as manda­tory pref­er­en­tial vot­ing makes its re­turn

There are still two weeks to go un­til Queens­land votes, and can­di­dates need to prove their worth if they have any hope of se­cur­ing this cru­cial Far North bat­tle­ground.

FOUR-HORSE RACE: (From right to left) La­bor’s Michael Healy, LNP can­di­date Sam Marino, One Na­tion’s Ian Hodge and Cairns (in­de­pen­dent) MP Rob Pyne as they fin­ished in an ex­clu­sive Cairns Post poll.

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