THE LONG WALK: Voters at the pre-polling station at Tewantin's Tafe building which is itself an election issue.
THE LONG WALK: Voters at the pre-polling station at Tewantin's Tafe building which is itself an election issue. Alan Lander

Noosa Electorate poll: too close to call

THE election result for Noosa on November 25 will go down to the wire - and a result may not be clear on election night - if exit polling carried out by Noosa News last week is reflected in Saturday's poll.

Independent candidate Sandy Bolton picked up 36 percent of primary votes in the 100-voter poll, taken over Wednesday and Thursday, just edging out sitting member, LNP candidate Glen Elmes, on 34 percent.

The much-vaunted return of Pauline Hanson's One Nation to state politics saw its candidate Eve Whiteside finish third in the poll with 14 percent.

Both Labor's and the Greens' vote have seemingly nose-dived, after they secured 20 percent and 21 percent of votes respectively in the 2015 state election, while Reason candidate Robin Bristow and former Green now-independent Aaron White have failed to make any mark.

The One Nation vote percentage matches the decline in Mr Elmes' vote, while the Greens' recent switch of candidates to the relatively unknown Phillip Jenkins could partly explain that party's severe drop in support.

Another possible explanation is that both Labor and Greens voters, tired of being also-rans in the last four state elections have taken out an each-way bet, seeing merit in giving the moderate, unaligned Ms Bolton their primary vote while relegating their traditional party vote to second-preference status as a back-stop.

Former Noosa councillor Ms Bolton's political star appears to be in the ascendancy, coming off a close second place in the 2016 Noosa mayoral elections, earning herself a high profile and solid support in the process.

Her campaign to date has been slick, informative on major local issues and public support from one of Noosa's political 'elders', former mayor Bob Abbot, has not harmed her prospects among long-term residents.

Meanwhile Mr Elmes, while still having solid community support, partly through playing a key role in Noosa shire's de-amalgamation from Sunshine Coast Council, is possibly suffering from perceptions of enjoying four consecutive terms in office while not achieving enough recent high-profile 'wins' on local issues.

 

Preferences will certainly decide the outcome in Noosa. Assuming the majority of One Nation preferences flow to Mr Elmes, and majority Labor/Green preferences to Ms Bolton, a tight contest is on the cards.

There is a small chance One Nation could get over the line with a substantial but unlikely preference flow.

The exit poll:

Sandy Bolton, Ind, 36% (2015 placing n/a)

Glen Elmes, LNP, 34% (2015 48%)

Eve Whiteside, PHON, 14% (2015 n/a)

Mark Denham, ALP, 8% (2015 20%)

Phillip Jenkins, Greens, 7% (2015 Joe Schlegeris 21%)

Robin Bristow, Reason, 1% (2015 n/a)

Aaron White, Ind 0% (2015 n/a)