by Joel Gould
PAUL Pisasale would be back in the mayoral robes if he had thrown his hat in the ring in the August 19 by-election, an exclusive Galaxy poll has revealed.
The poll asked 509 Ipswich residents the following question: If the former Mayor, Paul Pisasale, was standing in this election would you vote for him?
In response 41% said yes, 48% said no and 11% were uncommitted.
That 41% is more than Acting Mayor Paul Tully (36%) and Cr Andrew Antoniolli (30%) polled when Galaxy asked who residents would select as mayor of the candidates.
Mr Pisasale is facing two charges of attempting to pervert justice, an extortion charge and two other charges as part of an ongoing Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) investigation.
He is also in a New Farm mental health facility and his solicitor Glen Cranny told Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday that he had "some serious health concerns" and was not in a fit state to face court on his latest charges.
Of those who would have voted for Mr Pisasale as mayor 67% were Cr Tully supporters and 28% Cr Antoniolli supporters. A total of 29% of Cr Tully supporters said they would not vote for Ms Pisasale while 61% of Cr Antoniolli's supporters said they would not. The rest were undecided.
Galaxy Research managing director David Briggs said the support for Mr Pisasale was "amazing".
"What it comes down to is that voters would not appear totally enamoured with the choice they have when many would prefer the guy who has charges to face," he said.
"If former mayor Paul Pisasale was contesting the election he would probably win.
"The fact is that his 41% exceeds both the 36% for Tully and the 30% for Antoniolli, so Pisasale still obviously has his supporters.
"A high proportion of those people who would consider him are Paul Tully supporters because 67% would switch if Pisasale was standing."
Gatton-based political analyst and poll expert Jeff Sommerfeld, also a social scientist, said the results did not surprise him as he delved into why Pisasale still had strong support.
"It says a lot about the support Pisasale built up over a long period of time and it says a lot about the loyalty of the people of Ipswich," he said.
"So it is not strange. Yes, people may have been speaking about what has been happening with Ipswich and Pisasale, but their faith in him hasn't been shaken yet.
"Some have lost faith. According to that poll he has lost about half his support, because he previously did so well. But there are still an awfully large number of people who have watched Pisasale over an extended period of time and still believe he had the best interests of Ipswich at heart.
"I have spoken to a lot of older residents in Ipswich and people with family in Ipswich and they have said that Pisasale always had Ipswich at his core and was doing things for Ipswich, which is why he was known as Mr Ipswich, and that is reflected by that poll.
"Regardless of all the current scandals you can never take that away from him.
"The results suggest that the campaigns of the other candidates haven't yet enthused the voters."
Mr Sommerfeld also had some advice for Mr Pisasale as he faces his moment of truth.
"If I was Pisasale I'd be looking for an Ipswich court to hear my case because he certainly would not be convicted by an Ipswich jury," Sommerfeld said.
If the former mayor was standing in this election, would you vote for him?
- Yes: 41%
- No: 48%
- Uncommitted: 11%
Source: Galaxy poll