Bouncy bouncy

Time for a new thread I guess. Not exactly news, but let the record note that Friday’s Roy Morgan face-to-face survey was the best for the Coalition since January, their primary vote hitting 40 per cent and the two-party gap a mere 55-45.

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.

186 comments on “Bouncy bouncy”

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  1. This idea that Gillard is unpopualr is pure BS. If anyone has any proof of this voter unpopularity please present it. I have seen it.

  2. Any stories talking about Howard’s unpopularity will do two things. Firstly it will act as a snowball effect. I thing Howard is unpopular and there has independent polling showing he is not trusted. Secondly it will only strengthen his resolve to stay on.

  3. Dare I say Medicare Gold is one of Labor’s biggest impediments.
    Labor in the modern era does not win office with Lefty deputy leaders and when they are elected it tends to signify decline.

  4. How about the Carr/Refshaughe team in NSW Edward? Labor won office with a lefty there and is now in its 13th year of Government (albiet with a different right/left team). I can only pray the Rudd/Gillard government is so spectacularly unsuccessful!

  5. Won a few with Brian Howe as Deputy, Edward. Wran had a pretty good run with Jack Ferguson, too, but maybe they don’t come like that any more. Still, I’d hold fire on Gillard just yet. Her timing was pretty good about the book publicity on Howard’s rush to impose Workchoices before fairness issues had been resolved.

    Her overall parliamentary record’s pretty good. I’d recommend a glance at Hansard on her speech attacking Rudd over immigration permits given to Liberal donors.

    Glen joining from Ozpolitics now gives us the trifecta, with Nostra and Steven. Best be wary of arguments on side-issues.

  6. David Walsh, ur probably right. They’re just doing their little bit to help destabilize the Liberal Party. A nice, public spat between now and the election should really drive nail into the coffin for them.

    It could just be me though, but I worry that they stand to lose the precious “underdog status” if they flaunt their high poll ratings.

  7. From the Oz
    “POLICE officers investigating Mohamed Haneef wrote the names of overseas terror suspects in his personal diary and then, forgetting their handiwork, grilled him over why he made the “incriminating” notes.”

    When is Keelty going to have the gumption to take responsibility and resign. And then tell us about all the other little secrets and deals he has done with the PM’s dept?

    And some of youse had the audacity to slag me off for suggesting that our “security” forces might let off a little bang during APEC. There is no depth that they will not stoop to.

  8. I’m with Gary on Julia Gillard. On what basis are people claiming that she is unpopular? Don’t underestimate the attraction of having a female deputy PM.

    And, yes, Julia has been fairly quiet, although she was out on the weekend on most of the media outlets talking about the revelation about Howard knowing that WorkChoices was going to lead to reduction to many workers’ salaries/conditions but went ahead with it anyway.

    By the way, Malcolm Turnbull is being VERY quiet lately. Does that mean that he is unpopular?

  9. Don Wigan,

    I think you will find Brian Howe contested one election as Deputy PM – 1993.

    My point was on federal – who give’s a toss about State politics anyway?

  10. You know the Tories are in trouble when they start carrying on about the Labor front bench rather than the leader. Fact is, most people don’t know or care about Opposition front benchers; they (rightly) look to the leader of a party to set the tone for the government. Voters don’t worry about those alleged “deawoods” on the ALP front bench, because they expect Rudd to set the agenda for the government.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think the ALP front bench looks so bad at the moment, and with Shorten, Combet and Debus still to come in, it looks like a pretty strong (potential) government to me.

    And besides, just about all governments reply on the strengths and talents of 3-5 people, the rest are just party hacks. THis is equally true for both parties. The Howard government, for example, has no sortage of time servers and ineffective minsters – let’s start with Vaile, Coonan, Nelson, Andrews and Abbott (name me one serious policy he’s turned into action in 11 years) for a start.

  11. You could be right about Gillard – she does seem to me to have been sidelined.

    Disagree about Swan, he’s a bit dull, yes, but a safe looking character. I cant see him putting many voters off, and given his solid track record in Northern Brisbane retirement area seats, there’s quite a lot of evidence that the oldies actually quite like him, and his low-key style.

    He’s also one of the few ALP right members who still talks in a meaningful policy way about socio-economic stratification.

    On balance, he’s probably a net positive for Rudd.

  12. Sure Hugo,

    Who does care who has responsibility for local government or pacific island affairs for real or as a shadow.

    My point is discrete the quality or faction of the Labor deputy leader tends to be indicative of the relative strength of the ALP.

  13. Edward, you won’t let go of these pathetic rags of argument, will you? The public will choose between Howard and Rudd. They don’t give a toss about Gillard’s accent or what faction she belongs to. To the extent that she has a public profile at present, it is that she is saying things about WorkChoices that the majority of the public agrees with.

    On the Labor front bench generally, it is of course of varying quality, as all front benches are – there have been some spectacular duds on Howard’s front bench. Who is a competent minister and who is not can only be established in office. But if Peter McGauran (say) is the benchmark of competence, then I am confident that most of the current Labor front bench will pass.

    As to Swan, he has been perfectly competent at everything he has done in his career. He has no particular qualifications to be Treasurer, but then neither did Howard, Keating or Costello. From memory the only Treasurers in recent times with economic qualifications were Les Bury and Jim Cairns – enough said. Swan is currently doing exactly what he has been told to do – keep a low profile, make no specific commitments., and let Costello stew in his own juice. He is doing an excellent job of that.

  14. If Matt price’s tongue in cheek comment that if, Newspoll gave Labor 70+ support then the Oz didn’t publish the result, was right then there may not be a newspoll tomorrow. 🙂
    I say Labor 60 Libs 40

  15. “Labor in the modern era does not win office with Lefty deputy leaders and when they are elected it tends to signify decline.”

    “I think you will find Brian Howe contested one election as Deputy PM – 1993.”

    More sterling analysis.

    Labor does not win elections with Left deputies in recent times.
    However Labor has only contested two elections with a Left deputy in recent times, for one win and one loss.

    So we have two examples with which to test the hypothesis, one of which breaks the rule, so we need to immediately introduce a qualification for the rule.

    And of course there is no comparison to the alternative hypothesis. Assuming “modern” equals post-Whitlam then with Right deputies we have eight elections for four wins and four losses.

    So we conclude that the faction of the deputy leader makes no demonstrable difference to the election winning capacity of the ALP.

    But perhaps I’m paying too much attention to the evidence and not enough to the zenlike vibe…

  16. spot on Hugo. All the talk of look behind the Leader, reminds me of Keating’s campaign speech in 96 when he lambasted the lack of talent in the Liberal ranks – imagine Downer as Foreign Minister, Downer imagine!

    In looked desperate in 96 and looks desperate in 07

  17. Anyway, I have never understood exactly what the Treasurer does all day and why he or she is thought to be so important. I thought free-market economies were supposed to run themselves.

  18. All the evidence is that the only MP who impacts on a party’s vote is the leader. Labor’s front bench is reasonable, although where are the equivalents of Keating, Evans, Blewett, Dawkins or Howe? George Williams’ non-endorsement is a loss. Shorten will be an asset however.

  19. Julia Gillard is intelligent, presentable, articulate, and for those reasons ostensibly popular, all good attributes to have when in opposition and cruising towards the treasury benches…. but… on her record to date appears to be a policy dud … and that is where she will be found out once labor is in government.

  20. Anyone interested in the results of the Turkish election will no doubt now know that the ruling islamist Justice & Development Party (AKP) has won with a 12% increase in their vote (to 47%):
    Fascinatingly, due to the increased number of parties making it over the 10% threshold to take up seats, and the election of 25 Independents, the AKP has actually elected fewer MP’s that at the last election.

  21. Agree that voters only look toward the opposition leader. Cabinet ministers have a much higher profile than their shadows, and over time, become lightning rods for discontent … any bagging out tends to be of Ruddy, and to a much lesser extent, Gillard and Swan. On the government side, the bagging out is of Howard, Costello, Abbott, Bishop, Andrews,and the list goes on. In 6 or 9 years, it will be the same but the names will have changed .. just part of the swings and roundabouts.

  22. [Anyway, I have never understood exactly what the Treasurer does all day and why he or she is thought to be so important. I thought free-market economies were supposed to run themselves.]

    The political genius of the Howard government has been to pretend that they actually control the economy, when it is really the efforts of the Australian population that makes the economy so strong. Of course they blame international factors when interest rates are increased.

    No I’m not related to Peter Howson, nor John Michael Howson.

  23. It is impossible to tell who will be the outstanding talents in any ministry before it takes office. 90% of it is presentation anyway. As Lord Derby assured Disraeli when he first became Chancellor: “Don’t worry, dear boy, they give you the figures.” In fact Bill McMahon used to recite any old figures that came into his head, then got his staff to fix up Hansard later.

  24. Does anyone think the Cook preselection is making the Liberal Party look disfunctional and that may effect its ability to run a campaign?

  25. I have a theory on the Howard government’s present predicament that I would like to test on the Bloggatariat.

    JWH has been on the attack and counter attack ever since Ruddy became leader, effectively running a de facto year long election campaign, rather than being focussed on running the country. As a result, they have given Ruddy more oxygen than he might have had and the current state of the polling is being driven by voter fatigue at what is effectively a very long campaign, and, the Australian people do not like long political campaigns, and will punish governments for the imposition of such, Bob Hawke 1984 comes to mind.

    So, in effect, a major tactical error is now and will continue to be punished for subjecting the Australian people to a long camapign.

    Your thoughts ..

  26. The year-long pseudo-campaign may well have contributed to voter fatigue with Howard – but what else was he supposed to do? He had to try to counter Rudd. The analogy of Hawke’s failure to deal with the challenge of Hewson comes to mind. Of course Labor’s solution to that was to axe Hawke and instal a leader who *could* deal with Hewson, but the Liberal fuhrerprinzip seems to make that impossible.

    And, yes, the Cook imbroglio is VERY damaging.

  27. Since the discussion about the (questionable) merits of the shadow front bench has received an airing, I’d make the observation that the 1983 Hawke team didn’t have too many stars in prospect. In retrospect, they seem to have been a very good Government – I think even on a non-partisan evaluation.
    Among the major figures, only Hayden, Uren and Bowen had significant prior ministerial experience. Button, Blewett and Evans had relatively closeted work lives prior to climbing the greasy pole of factional politics. Walsh was a farmer with limited formal education (certainly no degree). Keating until then had just looked like a succesful factional player, no higher education, strictly limited non-political employment background. Dawkins had been a union official, Labor MP post-university. The incomparable Mick Young was a shearer and union and party apparatchik.
    I’ve doubtless missed some*, but that embraces most of the leading lights in the Hawke cabinet, and they rose to the challenge pretty effectively.
    * I’ve deliberately omitted Beazley as at the time a recent arrival on the scene, but he was “only a junior academic” after all.

  28. What about the big guns Richardson, Ray and the lessor lights Blewett Kerin good old Leo(fall off your bike) and (whiteboard)Kelly

  29. Lately it could be said that JWH has been acting like an opposition leader, and Rudd has risen above it all.

  30. “Keating until then had just looked like a succesful factional player,…”

    Keating was (briefly) a minister in the Whitlam govt (Minister for Northern Australia) in 1975. But this is just me nit-picking; I agree with the thrust of your entire statement, Peter. I would add that “experienced” often becomes the same as “entrenched”, and the Howard front bench is no better example. What a fossilised lot they are!

  31. Edward, where’s the proof Gillard is unpopular with the voters? For that matter where is the proof Labor’s IR policy is unpopular with them? Gee Medicare gold is really hurting Labor in the polls.

  32. Let me remind all of some of the brilliant talent that has adorned the Howard ministry: Andrew Thompson (who?), Jackie Kelly, Danna Vale, John “Snoozer” Moore, Wilson Tuckey, De-Anne Kelly, Bob Woods, Geoff Prosser, John Cobb, Kay Patterson… Who can forget how the House held its breath when Danna came to the dispatch box? Could someone this hapless really have been a federal minister?

  33. My earlier post on Gillard in parliament referred to when she caught Ruddock out on cash for visas, not Rudd. Sorry about that – just an odd slip with with eerily similar names.

    Ed, you’re sure it was only 1993 with Howe? Who took over as deputy when Lionel Bowen retired? I think Bowen went out in either 84 or 87, Can’t remember any other Labor deputy after that until Howe, but maybe I’ve missed someone. Adam, any idea?

  34. I think Bob Woods’ multiple indiscretions got him sacked before his bum hit the ministerial leather. He used to drive a 5 series beamer with the number plate ONC 003. Many thought this was a reference to his job as an oncologist, but in fact it was a reference to the noise this pig of a man made.

  35. bill weller – is it true that Sarah Hanson-Young, your lead SA candidate, is an evangelical Christian of some sort? If so, don’t you think most Greens voters would like to know that kind of thing?

  36. Geoff Prosser? Didn’t “that mongrel” have something to do with Burke? Hell that means the Howard ministry was infiltrated. Tongue in cheek of course.

  37. “I think Bowen went out in either 84 or 87, Can’t remember any other Labor deputy after that until Howe, but maybe I’ve missed someone.”

    I would have thought that more people remembered Paul Keating than remembered Lionel Bowen, but this is a nerd site after all 🙂

  38. It’s a write-in internet poll and has about as much meaning as the Daily Terror poll before the NSW election which showed a Lib landslide with the Greens winning 10.

  39. Adam, Bury and Cairns were not the only recent Treasurers with economics/commerce qualifications: Crean, Hayden, Kerin, Dawkins, and Willis also had them. Is there a pattern here: Labor putting qualified economists at the Treasury (Keating being the exception) and the Liberals typically preferring lawyers (Snedden, Lynch, Howard, Costello)?

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