The big demographic that turned to Palaszczuk
The three seats that Labor looks likely to win from an embattled LNP are in the top five electorates with the most voters aged over 65, as insiders believe "Palaszczuk's pensioners" flocked to the party amid the pandemic.
And a fourth hotly contested seat - Bundaberg - is in the top 10.
Pumicestone, Hervey Bay, Broadwater, Noosa and Caloundra have the most people aged over 65 of any Queensland electorate - with some almost double the state average of 15.8 per cent - and Labor is on track to win three of those seats from the LNP.
The average swing to the ALP in those electorates - excluding Noosa where independent Sandy Bolton has won a second term, and including Maryborough, which has the next largest population over 65 - is 6.92 per cent.
That compares to the average swing to Labor statewide of 4.8 per cent.
A Labor insider said pensioners would come up to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during the campaign and say, "Thanks for keeping us safe."
"They felt a real personal connection at that stage of their life with the action she took," the insider said.
According to analysis by The Courier-Mail, the ALP has recorded swings towards the party in a whopping 21 electorates out of the 36 that have more people aged over 65 than the state average.
Last night, Labor was on track to seize Pumicestone, Hervey Bay and Caloundra from the LNP.
In what is set to be the biggest upset for the conservative party there has been a 11.2 per cent swing towards Labor in Hervey Bay, where 28.19 per cent of people are aged over 65.
Hervey Bay has been a conservative seat since 2009, with Steve Coleman replacing LNP stalwart Ted Sorensen to run as the party's candidate.
As of late yesterday, Labor's Adrian Tantari had recorded 52.1 per cent of the vote after preferences.
Analysis revealed 24.46 per cent of people are aged over 65 in Caloundra, where Labor has broken the LNP's stronghold. Labor also snatched Pumicestone from the LNP, where more than 29 per cent of people are aged over 65.
An LNP source said there was an element of pensioners feeling safe under Labor in the wake of COVID-19. "It's not like there was a strong campaign by Labor in Kawana."
The LNP's Jarrod Bleijie comfortably held Kawana on the Sunshine Coast, however the party suffered a 5.9 per cent swing against it.
The comments echo those of former Labor speaker and QUT adjunct associate professor John Mickel, who last week said "when you're in the low income strata of that (age group), you're always worried about the potential health costs".
Asked whether the large swing towards Labor across those several seats was expected, the Labor insider said "certainly not to the extreme in Hervey Bay".
"We were hoping for it but we weren't banking on it," the insider said.
As of yesterday afternoon, the source said Labor was in a "pretty confident position" regarding the result in Bundaberg where candidate Tom Smith had welcomed a 4.6 per cent swing towards Labor.
Bundaberg is held by the LNP's David Batt.
"We're still in the race there," the Labor insider said.
"That's going to come down to a handful of votes there."
They said the 3.6 per cent swing towards Labor in Burleigh, which is held by the LNP's Michael Hart, was "down to seniors".
Labor Party president John Battams said there was no doubt some people had backed the party because of its health response.
"I think it was also an issue of leadership," he said.
"COVID was part of that, but people were confronted with Annastacia Palaszczuk or Ms (LNP leader Deb) Frecklington, and I think it was more a forward-looking thing in my view, who's best to take us forward and a proven track record."
Bribie Island retiree Christine Eddington said she voted for Labor because the Premier had handled the pandemic "quite well".
"It was because of the borders and getting everybody to register wherever they're going," she said.
Ms Eddington said she felt safer with Ms Palaszczuk in power.
Asked whether people in Bribie Island and in the electorate of Pumicestone changed their vote because of the Government's handling of COVID-19, Ms Eddington said: "That would be why."
"Everybody was quite happy that it didn't go rampant here," she said.
2020 QLD state election results
- LNP 0
- ALP 0
- ONP 0
- UAP 0
- KAP 0
- OTH 0
- GRN 0
Originally published as The big demographic that turned to Palaszczuk