NOTHING is less certain than the result as political parties and independents gear up for a short, sharp campaign ahead of poll day on November 25.
The variables are many, not the least of which are whether discontent in the bush is at levels which saw 11 One Nation candidates elected in 1998, changed boundaries and electorate names, compulsory preferential voting and how well the campaigns led by Annastacia Palaszczuk (Labor) and Tim Nicholls (LNP) resonate with voters.
Early indications are the LNP can't win government in its own right, the view of former LNP Premier Campbell Newman and one shared by Dr Paul Williams, senior lecturer in politics at Griffith University.
Dr Williams said the election was the hardest to call in living memory with the result line boiling down to a handful of preferences in a handful of seats.
His assessment that everything north of Nambour and west of Ipswich was open season for One Nation may see Pauline Hanson's resurgent party push past its 1998 zenith but may fall just short of double figures.
The LNP was struggling even in the city with sources suggesting the seats of Shadow Cabinet Ministers Tim Mander (Everton), Scott Emerson (Maiwar) and Ian Walker (Mansfield) are in doubt and may fall to Labor with Deputy LNP leader Deb Frecklington's seat of Nanango also vulnerable to One Nation.
On the Sunshine Coast the hard-working Andrew Powell may need more than his current 270-vote margin to survive challenges from Labor's Brent Hampstead and One Nation's Tracey Bell-Henselin.
The LNP's Mark McArdle in Caloundra and Glen Elmes in Noosa are also under pressure. Mr McArdle's biggest threat would come from Jason Hunt (Labor) and Rod Jones (One Nation) but should hold on while the flow of preferences in a seven-strong Noosa field will either sink or save Mr Elmes.
The election appears to be Labor's to lose with the most likely result at the campaign's start a narrow win with the possibility of a late swing delivering a comfortable margin and another term.
Peter Beattie in 2001 survived a string of controversies to secure a record victory winning 66 seats to the Liberal and National parties combined 15, down 17 on 1998.
Pauline Hanson's One Nation collapsed to just three seats down from 11 in 1998 while voters returned five independents, up three from 1998.
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