Amidst the turmoil population data could be something to watch. Initial pandemic discourse, in conjunction with international closures and interstate lockdowns, featured migration and population as a significant concern. Not so much now with employment and JobKeeper errors dominating the headlines.
So a quick look at AEC enrolment statistics:
The chart here is percentage point divergence from the Queensland average for federal electoral divisions. Both Leichhardt and Herbert stand out as the largest declines in Queensland on this measure over recent months. The close correlation here between Leichhardt (most of Cairns ex some southern suburbs plus Cape York) and Herbert (most of Townsville) is also interesting. Herbert numbers did take a hit around the February 2019 flood.
If we step the scale out and include the politically over-represented fossil resource regions to our south:
Dawson, centred on Mackay but also intruding into the southern fringe of Townsville, appears to have stemmed the previous decline. The period here displayed is following the most recent redistribution. A 10% variation from the average will trigger a redistribution. At the other end of the scale Longman (northern Brisbane) is about 7% over the average and rising.
The numbers for State electoral divisions similarly reflect this with Cairns and Townsville divisions the largest declines relative to average in Queensland state enrolment over recent months. This was also followed up by Barron River, Mundingburra and Thuringowa in the bottom dozen relative declines. Mulgrave held its ground with only a small relative decline. AEC administers the electoral roll for both State and Federal elections.
Enrolment in the State Division of Cairns declined by 458 voters or 1.3% of enrolments between 16 December 2019 and 31 March 2020. There could be things going on here that maybe deserve a closer look.