The result of the last election make it very hard to predict which seats will be the key battlegrounds in 2015. The LNP needs to lose 32 seats to lose their majority (counting those seats where the LNP member has left the party without a by-election as LNP seats), and Labor needs to gain 36 seats to win a majority in their own right.
There are also thirteen LNP seats where the second-placed candidate in 2012 was not Labor – two independents, one Green, and ten KAP candidates.
Ignoring seats where Labor did not come in the top two, there would need to be a uniform swing of 11.29% to deprive the LNP of a majority, and 13.15% to give Labor a majority. This is only a rough guide, as many seats will swing by quite different amounts.
Recent polls suggest that the election result will be close, with the most recent Newspoll giving Labor 50.5% of the vote after preferences are distributed. This suggests that it will be seats in the 10-15% range that will decide the election.
If Labor is in a position to seriously challenge the LNP for its majority, that implies that a large number of seats currently marked as LNP seats will fall easily to Labor, and the battleground will shift further up the pendulum to the seats that will decide who forms government. My analysis focuses on seats in the 10-15% range and assumes that most seats on smaller margins will fall to Labor. There will, however, be exceptions – seats on slim margins that are fiercely contested, and seats on higher margins that either fall easily to Labor or stay solidly with the LNP. The major parties will presumably be using their own internal polling and other intelligence to make choices on which seats are the key battlegrounds.
There are fourteen LNP seats held by margins of 10-15% against Labor. This list includes:
- Three seats on the north side of Brisbane: Everton, Kallangur, Pine Rivers
- Three seats on the south side of Brisbane: Chatsworth, Mansfield, Sunnybank
- Four seats on the Gold Coast: Albert, Broadwater, Burleigh, Southport
- One seat on the Sunshine Coast: Pumicestone
- Two large coastal seats to the north and south of Mackay: Mirani, Whitsunday
- One seat in Townsville: Mundingburra
Thirteen of these seats were Labor-held prior to the 2012 election. Mirani is the only exception – retiring LNP MP Ted Malone has held the seat since 1994, but the seat was redistributed into a notional Labor seat before the 2009 election.
In addition to these seats, there are twelve LNP seats held by margins between 5% and 10%. Seven of these seats are in the greater Brisbane area, as well as one seat each in Ipswich and Toowoomba, two seats in the Cairns area, and one seat in Central Queensland near Rockhampton.
There are also thirteen LNP seats held by margins of less than 5%. This includes eight seats in Brisbane, two in the Logan area, one each in Ipswich and Townsville, and one in the far north. Many of these seats were traditionally considered to be ‘safe’ Labor seats before the 2012 landslide.