Newman now on the nose

On the question of whether the government had performed better or worse than expected, 65% of all respondents said it had been worse.
On the question of whether the government had performed better or worse than expected, 65% of all respondents said it had been worse. Kari Bourne

LIBERAL National Party voters appear to be turning on Premier Campbell Newman less than six months after handing him a resounding election victory.

An online survey conducted across APN News and Media's Queensland network confirmed what several recent opinion polls have shown - Mr Newman's political honeymoon is well and truly over as his popularity, and that of his government, wanes.

The opt-in poll, conducted from Saturday to Wednesday, attracted almost 6000 replies from around the state.

It points to a government with problems on several fronts, including anger over widespread public sector job cuts and a leader viewed as arrogant by an overwhelming majority.

Most alarmingly for the government, the discontent is not confined to non-LNP voters.

The LNP snared 78 seats out of 89 at the election, leaving Labor with a paltry seven. Of the people who completed the survey, 44.5% voted for the LNP on March 24. It won 49.6% of the primary vote at the election.

Non-LNP voters accounted for 55.5% of survey respondents compared to a combined primary vote of 50.34% at the election.

On the question of whether the government had performed better or worse than expected, 65% of all respondents said it had been worse.

Almost half of LNP voters (46%) were of the same opinion.

Asked to rate the performance of the Newman government, 53% said it had been terrible and 15% poor.

While those numbers dropped to 29% and 12% respectively among LNP voters, it still indicated 40% were less than satisfied with the government's performance.

But how Mr Newman was perceived by the electorate would be of most concern for LNP strategists. Almost 68% of all respondents thought he was arrogant, a view shared by 42% of LNP voters. About 43% of LNP voters thought he was a strong leader doing a tough job.

Dr Paul Williams of the School of Humanities at Griffith University said having such a high number of LNP voters who thought Mr Newman was arrogant was a worrying result for the LNP.

He said while the party could repair perceptions about the party and its performance, a leader viewed as arrogant could be "toxic".

"For LNP voters that's incredibly high. It's almost inexplicably high for people who just recently endorsed him as their premier," Dr Williams said.

"The dissatisfaction of a premier can be toxic and very hard to reverse, as Anna Bligh found."

He said the government had struggled to convey a cogent message, an assertion supported by the poll.

More than half (52%) said the government was doing a bad job at communicating its vision for the state, while 36% of LNP voters thought the same.

Dr Williams said public service job cuts - which almost half of respondents disapproved of - combined with poor media management was making the quest for positive headlines more difficult.

"Virtually every night on the evening news there's more people losing their jobs so it's just become their narrative now that they are the job cutters," he said.

"Ostensibly, the message of the Newman government is one of just austerity, but if you ask Newman government ministers what their message is, it's not just austerity. They've obviously got a lot of other things.

"Much of the problem of the Newman government is not the government itself, it's getting really poor PR. I think their media minders are doing a less than satisfactory job.

"I talk to journalists about this who say they are quite astounded at the amateurism of the Newman government minders in dealing with the media."

On a positive note, Dr Williams said LNP voters appeared to support the government slashing of the public service (64.8%), compared to 38% overall, and most (56.7%) indicated they would still vote LNP.

Topics:  campbell newman lnp performance polls survey

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