Idle Speculation: annihilation edition

With the scent of the government’s blood in the water, the nation’s newspapers have gone mad with opinion polling. For reasons unexplained, The Australian published Newspoll results last Tuesday (57-43), on Saturday (55-45) and today (60-40). The Fairfax papers yesterday conjured a front page story by adding together the last six months’ worth of ACNielsen polling. Like Newspoll’s quarterly aggregates, these produced state-by-state figures from believable samples. The thrust of the South Australian and Western Australian figures is supported by two sets of local polls: in the Sunday Mail, a survey of 601 South Australian voters had Labor leading 59-41, while in last Saturday’s West Australian, a Westpoll survey of 409 voters had the Coalition leading 51-49. Also:

• Jackie Kelly has announced she will not contest the election, depriving the Liberals of her considerable personal vote in the outer western Sydney seat of Lindsay. The redistribution has cut the Liberal margin in the seat from 5.3 per cent to 2.9 per cent. Penrith councillor Mark Davies has been named as Kelly’s most likely successor as Liberal candidate, and reportedly has her backing. Labor has again nominated the twice-unsuccessful David Bradbury, former Penrith mayor.

• The South Australian Liberal party has selected Mary Jo Fisher to fill Amanda Vanstone’s Senate vacancy, the term of which will expire in 2011. In what would appear to be another win for the state party’s ascendant Right faction, Fisher was chosen ahead of the moderate-backed Maria Kourtesis, who earlier contentiously failed to secure a winnable position on this year’s Senate ticket.

• Labor provoked another round of debate over the merits of celebrity candidates last week when it preselected ABC weatherman Mike Bailey to run against Joe Hockey in North Sydney. Also widely noted was the number of ABC personnel turning up as Labor candidates.

• Labor’s Sharon Grierson has effortlessly survived a preselection challenge in Newcastle. The ABC reports that a rank-and-file ballot delivered her more than 80 per cent of the vote over her challenger, Merewether West branch secretary David March.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

375 comments on “Idle Speculation: annihilation edition”

Comments Page 1 of 8
1 2 8
  1. What can one say – when a change is on, its overdue!
    Seriously however, the question has been asked, what could Rudd possibly do at this stage that could stuff it all up. It seems like people have already made up their minds and nothing negative towards him is able to gain any traction. Also, will this be decided in a presidential style campaign or is there any room for local issues to play?
    Is there any chance that Howard might still have some magic left hidden up those sleeves or should Libs start brushing off their CVs?

  2. In answer to Alexander Macleays question on the Bass thread regarding all governments at state and federal being of the same ilk.

    In 1969 – 70, they were all conservative after the libs won in Tasmania under Angus Bethune and before Steele Hall was defeated in SA in 1970.

    At the time there was no self government in the ACT and NT.

    But of course in those days, there were 3 year terms in all but Tasmania so the situation would not remain for long.

    I may be wrong but there are elections are there until 2009 when WA and Tasmania come up?

  3. I am very suspicious of the media suddenly trumpeting the popularity of Rudd only a few days after JWH trying to gain the underdog status. I do predict though that Rudd’s popularity will increase yet more once the non existent Climate change ads hit the public arena. I believe that the public is sick of the cynicism of JWH and every fear campaign, mud slinging episode and any percieved dishonesty will backfire on the libs.


  4. I have to admit, I cannot see Howard coming back now. I was sure we had reached Rudds top poll level but i have been proven wrong continuously these last few weeks. Even if Howard gains popularity i think it is too late. All i pray for is that life gets better for us and ALL promises are kept!

  5. The Coalition are really behind in the opinion polls right now, the election is 5 months away. However the Coalition at the very best can hope for getting over the line, very worst a landslide defeat, more likely a defeat but not a bad one.

  6. While we all expect Rudd to head back to ground-level at some point, you’ve gotta reach a point where there simply isn’t enough time for him to plummet back to ground level before election day. Not that we’ve reached that point.

  7. Mr Q, I delighted in looking at your post-Ruddslide pendulum, and particularly in guessing which of the spared Liberal leadership contenders might win a ballot held in such a greatly reduced caucus.

    Tony Abbott might stand a chance against Brendan Nelson in a caucus whose centre of gravity would be shifted much to the Right. And with a fairly shallow talent pool, perhaps even the Members for Mayo and Mackellar might be dusted off for leadership roles.

  8. I don’t think the coalition tactics this week are going to help. In the last few days they have accussed Rudd of hypocrisy, and lacking conviction. They are still trying for personal attacks, instead of actively giving people a reason to vote FOR the government.

    There is funny about Costello saying Rudd lacks conviction, even though he had the guts to take on Beazley, whereas Costello has never had the ticker to tell Howard that his time is up. Costello’s inaction could result in the downfall of the government.

  9. Isn`t the ACT having an election next year?
    What are the Libs chances if the ACT?
    Western Australia could well return Labor, especially with the electoral reform.

  10. I ran into an old political advesary, one of the most rabidly right wing Christians i have ever met), after a long absence today. She stood for the Christian Democrats ( or whatever Fred Nile calls himself) in the state seat of Port Macquarie some elections ago. She told me that she felt Rudd was “thoroughly decent for a Labor man” and she had become distressed by Howard’s dishonesty. If this sort of person is saying this, at this stage, a landslide is quite possible

  11. (Completely off topic) Can someone tell me who is that extremely attractive politician who sits strategically placed behind Beazley/Rudd in parliament?

  12. On the ACT election in 2008 the ALP is looking rough around the edges but the Liberal Opposition is subject to factionalism on a large scale and does not look like a government.

    It might be the time for a strong centrist independent candidate to do well.

    The other option is for the return of a minority ALP government with perhaps an extra Green candidate sneaking in in the Gininderra electorate

  13. Rudd will win the election because he looks appealing, attractive to the voter. The electorate is fundamentally stupid… they rarely listen to what is occurring and vote accordingly to how people look and this is why Rudd will win but not by a landslide perhaps somewhere in between the amounts of the swings say a 3%.. 5% swing.
    I also think people are very upset with Howard because of Interest Rates, Housing Affordability is now at its worst level in 30 years.
    Oh, and to sum up my attractive theory that pollie behind Rudd is Kate Ellis from the seat of Adelaide.

  14. It will be interesting to see where they sit Nicole Cornes if she gets elected.
    Every one will be tuning into parliament. All the women look like that here in Adelaide. Rudd’s harem! He even chose his wife from here.

  15. Did anyone see The 7.30 Report? Antony Green was on with the head of the Galaxy poll (I’ve forgotten his name). Antony made some very good points to do with the polls so far, even using graphs. The head of Galaxy, on the other hand argued that the Libs still could win the election when people became engaged during the election campaign. So that means when people become “engaged’ they naturally will wake up and vote coalition. What a strange argument.

  16. According to Newspoll the government are 17 points behind on the primaries and 20% on the TPP. Yet this joker from Galaxy says people will naturally gravitate back to the govenment when they are “engaged”.

    What a pickle!

    These polls are supposed to be sampled representatively of the population they measure. Now are they or aren’t they?

    If they are then what is he talking about. I’m not a statistician but even I can see the government is doomed. People want a change.

    If the sampling isn’t representative then he’s no expert anyaway and we should ignore him. Either way he was talking bollocks!

  17. I totally agree with the above comments. It surprises me how commentators are so dismissive of the polls these days. Why aren’t they taking the public seriously!?!…

    I think that the only reason the Coalition will do better than polling (any polling .. even polling in a few months time) will suggest is because, right now, it’s a Howard v Rudd contest and that’s what people are thinking about. Come polling day, people may think more about their local issues and, specifically, the local MP. As most MPs are in fact good, hard workers, they might do better than their respective parties overall. As there are more Coalition MPs than Labor ones, I suspect the Coalition vote will be firmer come polling day.

  18. I agree completely with Gary and Gaynor. In effect the man from Galaxy was saying that the polls are useless until the PM calls the election. At that stage we all become “engaged” and the polls suddenly become redolent with meaning (and presumably swing violently towards the Government).

    What a load of cobblers! One is led to ask why do Galaxy bother taking polls until the election is called or, more pertinently, why do newspapers pay Galaxy to provide polls which they themselves regard as meaningless.

  19. What I’m finding very intersting is the amount of traditional Liberal voters who are switching to Labor and not just the “swing voters.” I can say from experience that I voted Liberal all my life up untill 2001. The Tampa crisis was the final straw for me and I have voted Labor ever since. My 64 year old father is another who will be voting Labor for the first time in his life at the polls this year, and I know many more just like him.

    Adam, I agree Kate Ellis is a knockout and much more than a pretty face too. She is my local member and has already proven herself as a hard working and caring MP. I used to live in the electorate of Boothby and I have certainly noticed a difference since making the move. Ellis and Trish Worth before her have both been very good members unlike my previous local member.

  20. Of course there have been some very good MPs go in landslides before because people are eager to see the end of a particular government. So I’m not convinced of the power of the local candidate argument when it comes to a landslide election.

  21. Gary, I agree. My vote in 2004 was directed squarely at John Howard, and not agianst my local MP Trish Worth who as I said above did a very good job.

  22. Just to name and shame the guilty party, the Galaxy bloke on the 7. 30 report was Briggs (given name, David, iirc).
    I think that the pollsters have a little bit of the journalists’ pre-occupation with wanting a contest. A football match where one side leads from the outset, and is never challenged is fun for the supporters of that side, but boring as bat…. for any neutrals. Commentators in that circumstance try to suggest that there is some possibility other than the inevitable outcome, if only to keep the viewers/listeners plugged in.

  23. Around brisbane I can’t see the fury or anger in the voters eyes that would indicate why theyd want to throw a successful government out.

    in all honesty, its easy to get a job, its easy to pay the bills, its easy to get credit, 20 year olds run around in 25000 dollar cars.

    things are pretty good around town

    truly hicks, climate change, asylum seekers, the war in iraq, reconcilliation, these things dont matter to a great many people, i know ill be mostered for saying it but people dont care. and with the positives against the negatives its hard to understand what people responding to polls are thinking

  24. Andrew, out here in the burbs of Qld we have three electorates that are PO over the Ipswich highway. Each electorate doesn’t want the Howard proposal and Howard knew that when he announced it. There is a ground swell of support for the Labor candidates. Also people are PO over Canberra coming late to the party over the infrastructure for the pipelines. They only announced 2 wks ago that they will help, but refused to help until public outcry became loud.

  25. Tony Abbott might stand a chance against Brendan Nelson in a caucus whose centre of gravity would be shifted much to the Right. And with a fairly shallow talent pool, perhaps even the Members for Mayo and Mackellar might be dusted off for leadership roles.

    Yes, that pendulum was a rather lovely sight, although we’d still be lumbered with some certified drop-kicks – Sophie Panopo… sorry, Mirabella, anyone? (Actually, the way things are going, she might actually be up for a leadership – a guaranteed way of keeping the ALP in power for years!)

  26. I remind you all that Kate Ellis is an engaged woman and that her fiance, who was our campaign manager in Melbourne Ports in 2004, has a very fiery Irish temperament.

  27. My Uncle, a small business man from the seat of Eden Monaro, who has voted Liberal all his life, is going to switch his vote to Labor, because he likes Kevin Rudd and thinks Howard has been in too long.

  28. If Mr Q pendulum were to occur the leader would have to be Robb, a zero % margin, so he should win by about ten votes, and he is very good, someone you could build around

  29. Well, the poles must be wrong Andrew. The people obviously have nothing to worry about. They don’t really want a change at all.

  30. I normally don’t read the Tele even when it is hanging on the nail in the dunny and I was caught short and forgot to take some reading matter with me but I heard on Virginia Trioli’s morning shew on ABC Local 702 Sydney (I always thought that “2BL” was less of a mouth full) that they had polled eight of the Parramatta RL cheer squad and six of these nubile ladies had said that they are going to vote for that nice Mr. Rudd.

    Game, set and match implied Malcolm Farr whose opinions I always listen to notwithstanding that he writes for the worst rag in Australia.


  31. I don’t understand why you (Not to be taken seriously) say the Telegraph is the worst rag in Australia. Apart from anything else, it has the best sports coverage of any of the Sydney newspapers. Its readers are mostly (unlike contributors to this thread) people with minimal interest in politics, or “low involvement” voters. Thus, the Telegraph’s political coverage including the link you helpfully extracted for us, is significant, because it is read by a demographic of voters who actually decide election outcomes. It is a newspaper I pay more attention to than the SMH and The Australian (the latter I know is a joke as far as barrackers for the Australian Labor Party are concerned). The other “rag” to take note of, and for the same reasons, is the MX which rail commuters like myself (who endure Morrie’s public transport service) pick up at Wynyard station. Its sports coverage is also good.

  32. I know anecdotal evidence is poor evidence, but Kev does have a point. My brother, who I suspect has never voted Labor in his life is also quite openly tlaking about an ALP vote this time wround, because he’s sick of thelies and unfairness of the government.

  33. David, you say – “Thus, the Telegraph’s political coverage including the link you helpfully extracted for us, is significant, because it is read by a demographic of voters who actually decide election outcomes.” The “Tele” were so anti – Labor last state election and yet Iemma was returned relatively comfortably. Obviously those informed people didn’t take any notice of it.

  34. It is just the IR debate is elaborate and getting more detailed, yet the girls were unaware of much of the debate,

    however one of them could clearlyrecall the ACTU ads, and how even though the adds are portraying a completely illegal situation (“my kids are so sick… can’t fire me…….oh you can) they swallowed it and the image has stuck in their mind.

    No matter that theres a new fairness test, no matter that the ALP policy is equally as extreme, no matter the argument that downward pressure on wages puts downward pressure on prices.

    i just thought it was interest what has stuck in the mind of people who are disengaged.

  35. I have to say that this stuff about Rudd being a nice man does confuse me.

    i am not going to list his personality faults, but on a personal level both Beazley and Latham were ‘nicer’ and more ‘decent’

    even though latham was a bit of a don quixote in his diary you could see that the deranged villain was not howard but Rudd. (PS i know that everyone thinks hes a nutjob but i believe that latham would have been the best ALP PM for quite some time)

  36. Gary, I agree that in the case of the last NSW election any of the low involvement voters who actually read the editorials and political “commentary” in The Telegraph which was unfavourable to Morrie and co., were not swayed by it. Then again they might have been swayed by some of the Telegraph’s coverage of The Dead Man and his mob (hapless, hopeless and helpless) which was not too complimentary either. My point is that the Telegraph is a newspaper read by a section of the population who unlike us, have a very limited attention span when it comes to politics yet what they read is significant to political observers because they are the voters that matter in determining election outcomes. In that sense, the link provided (a “soft” news story but with a political slant that is helpful to Mr Rudd) is of interest to political observers on this thread. I trust this elucidates for you my point of view on the importance of the Telegraph and also the MX.

  37. the NSW result was primary 39/36 ALP/Lib which is far closer than people often give credit for.

    OT O’Farrell, as long as he lasts as leader, should be able to defeat Iemma, from this position, off the top of my head Miranda, Wollondilly, Camden, Menai, Monaro Should all fall next time, as well as potentially heathcote

    i acknowledge the ALP will probably gain port stephens

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 1 of 8
1 2 8