Pieces and bits: episode two

• It now emerges that respondents to the weekend’s Galaxy poll of voting intention in Bennelong were also asked if their vote would be influenced by the prospect of the Prime Minister departing mid-term should he retain the seat. This is highly significant in light of Malcolm Mackerras‘s conviction that voters will tip him out partly to avoid a “quick, unnecessary and costly by-election”. The poll found 84 per cent of respondents said they would not be influenced by such concerns, which can be read one of two ways: voters are overwhelmingly unconcerned, or a small but decisive minority does in fact consider it a vote-switcher. The SBS Insight program, which commissioned the poll in conjunction with the Daily Telegraph, will tonight be devoted to a forum discussion from a hand-picked sample of Bennelong voters, to screen at 7.30pm.

Simon Jackman offers a very illuminating pendulum in which the seats from each state are listed in a different column. The lower part of the table marks Labor’s strongest historical result in each state post-1949. Interesting to relate that if Labor matches its best performance in every state, the Coalition will still win almost as many seats as Labor has at present.

• Inform your speculation on the Senate election with this handy results calculator, brought to you by occasional Poll Bludger commenter Dembo. It is set for the 2004 preference tickets at present, but I am advised that these will soon be made adjustable.

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.

171 comments on “Pieces and bits: episode two”

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  1. The PM today had an excellent response for pesky hacks squealing about the latest “leadership crisis”:

    “There was a dinner two and a half years ago, I guess some of the subjects discussed at that dinner centred around one job.

    “Since then Peter Costello and I have seen the creation of 350,000 jobs.’’


    Maybe, when the Government is re-elected, the media will finally realise just how impotent they are. They will have thrown everything they’ve got at the Government in a bid to get their Labor mates over the line, and all to no avail.

  2. Er, a humble. Last night I said Andrew Bolt had called for Downer to take over. I could have sworn it came during Kerry’s intro to an interview with A. Downer on the 7.30 Report. Can’t find any reference, though. Maybe I was a bit befuddled. Sorry.

  3. Steven: Yet if unemployment goes up, Howard will blame the states for not creating enough jobs.

    No one believes anything Howard says anymore.
    And now no one believes what Costello says.

    The Liberals have no hope.

  4. Asanque, brush the cobwebs from your eyes. One of Labor’s fundamental mistakes is this assumption that no-one’s listening to the PM. Until you accept that he is still popular and well-regarded in the community you will not have a full grasp of the political dynamics come the election.

  5. Andy

    You are spot on. Take that horrible Steve Bracks! Fancy having the decency to step down when he realised he was out off puff and had no more to offer. What a cheek! A traitor to the cause. Puts all politicians into disrepute. If this contagion catches on …

  6. Steven:
    No one ever said that people weren’t listening to the PM.

    People are listening and finally seeing Howard for the liar that he is. They also now have an alternative who is substantially more “popular”.

    I’d hardly say that 46% of the population being satisfied in the latest Newspoll as “popular”. If over 50% of the population are undecided or dissatisfied, I’d consider that “unpopular”.

    And in terms of “well-regarded”, I refer you to the latest poll showing how many people actually “trust” the PM.

    Hint: Its not many.

  7. Derek we all know Bracks quit because of his drink driver of a son…

    All eyes will be on Costello tonight on 7:30 report i wonder if michael brissenden will co-host with Kerry when they question Peter…

    Labor’s performance in question time shows just how much they are no ready to govern the country…not one question on health…not one question on education…not one question on the unemployment…not one question on IR…they are plain and simple a joke of a party and no one will take them seriously if they are debating trivial things in Parliament instead of the issues which Australians hold dear…

    Im sorry Rudd and Swan the people of Australia care more about Interest Rates and unemployment than what Costello did and didnt say at a dinner 2 years ago…grow up!

  8. Steven Kaye –
    you poor, poor man. I hope you are amply and adequately rewarded for your unswerving loyalty to this sorry bunch of losers. And I admire your capacity to spin just about anything, but it appears not to be working from all accounts, and most swinging voters who will decide the outcome are backing the other team. As for your assertion that John Howard is well regarded in the community …. possibly at party HQ’s but not too many other places I fear. Perhaps you nee to get out more and talk to non -party people.

    This is last weeks phone poll, some qualitative data out today – A special telephone Morgan Poll conducted LAST WEEK (August 8/9) found the ALP 17% ahead of the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis: 58.5% to 41.5%.

    Keep that in mind the negative comments and concerns against Labor are written are quite obviously from rusted on Howard supporters. Thats a portion of the 41.5%

    The best thing is that many of the concerns for the Government are on real things in the here and now – not esoteric concerns as is for Labor. It is easier for Labor to campaign on them.

    Morgan reckons they have some research that 80% of people 1 million on AWAs are satisfied – obviously meaning that 200,000 are not satisfied which is a huge amount of disatisfaction. This of course doesnt include the fear with unfair dismissals. That equates to how many unhappy/disatisfied people when you include family and friends?

    “Special analysis of Roy Morgan Single Source data shows about 80% of the one million plus Australians employed on an AWA are satisfied with the way they are employed (further details on this will be released next week).

    If Election Held Now It Would Be A Referendum On Union Power & Industrial Relations

  10. People will be concerned with this leadership problem as it is now obvious that after the election Costello wont get the PMs job. Internal party disatisfaction, lack of trust, lack of numbers and low popularity rating. Costello will most probably quit politics as will Howard (though it looks very much like Howard will be beaten).

    The problem is then that the next Howard govt will not contain Howard or Costello. The voters have to think do they want to vote what is basically Turnbull & Abbott.

    Rudd or Turnbull, either way for the elctorate it is a vote for change.

  11. Kina the ALP are a joke…they wasted Question Time with stupid repetitive questions about Costello 2 years ago…they are a mockery for democracy…just as Brian Burke gave Rudd a bounce…this will show just how shallow the Opposition leader really is not only does he lie to renters about his policy but he avoids questions on the economy period in Question Time because he’s all tip and no iceberg.

  12. Glen did you hear the MPI?

    Rudd addressed all the issues you mentioned. If you missed it read Hansard. It is the blueprint for the election campaign.

    It will be devastating on the Coalition. 🙂

  13. Glen

    Yes, agreed, the son is part of it. However, it goes deeper than that. He realised he could no longer contribute to the governance of Victoria. Unlike your mate, Howard, who refuses to see the writing on the wall. You see, Glen, not all politicians are motivated by a greed for power.

  14. I think this Morgan qualitative research is bad news for the govt on interest rates, as it says that many are blaming the govt for the rises. This seems to be evidence that ACN on Monday was a bit off. We’ll see what Morgan F2F says on Friday.

    When pollsters phrase questions like this, people will feel obliged to list any concerns, even if they are minor. I don’t think the Aus people are overly frightened of unions; this was confirmed in a Newspoll in late June. With respect to Glen, integrity is a big negative for the govt, and Labor is simply doing what it can to further exploit this. Why ask economic questions when that’s the govt’s strength? Rudd doesn’t have an integrity problem; that’s why Burke backfired for the govt.

  15. Matter of Public Importance.

    The debate after Question Time. Rudd attacked the Govt for not governing just woorying about how to get re-elected. He points out what Labor will do.

  16. Hallelujah William, although you’re gonna be a very busy boy as the election approaches 😉

    BTW, I like the site facelift. Although for some reason it reminds me of Ikea furniture… not that it’s a bad thing.

    (now where’s that allen key) 🙂

  17. From Crikey’s Tips & Rumors Section (subscriber only – hence no URL)

    “From the grassy knoll: Massive amounts of TV commercial air time has been bought by the Federal Government up until Saturday November 24. Experience (20 years in advertising media) indicates that that this means the Government election will be held on November 24.”

    Hmm, but under the Election Rules there is a Electronic Blackout on Electoral ads 3 days prior to election day (Print Exempt and comment still permittd). Will Govt ads, as opposed to Liberal Party ads be exempt ?

  18. yes new directions that are heading in the right direction but more needs to be done its time to turn on the lights and fightback for traditional values

  19. In a non-partisan way, I’d like to point out that the best Treasurer we have had over the past 11 years was the Governor of the Reserve Bank and Treasury officials.
    Peter Costello is the delivery boy, as is any treasurer.
    You try getting something past Treasury. They’re tough and they have ways of preventing you getting what you want.
    All that the Treasurer can really try to do is to set general policy and then allow Treasury to do what it likes.
    It really doesn’t make too much difference who we have as Treasurer in the next three years unless they are a complete lunatic.
    The Reserve Bank is truly independent now and will soon take the punch from the party if they start getting too drunk on spending.
    John Howard wasn’t responsible for his 21% interest rates when he was Treasurer. He is not responsible for current interest rates nor trends in rates and neither is Peter Costello except in a relatively marginal sense.
    Sure, flood the populace with tax cuts and you’ll get an increase in spending and possible upward pressure on inflation and interest rates.
    We are currently in a credit squeeze which may just get a whole lot worse and the Reserve Bank may well not need to increase interest rates at all.
    The lenders may do it for him.

  20. re #109 I think Steven makes a very pertinent point, which polls both in Bennelong and the country as a whole seem to support. Howard does remain a well regarded, reasonably popular PM. However unbelievable people such as myself might find this, to simply dismiss it is, as he suggests, to misread the current political dynamic.

  21. On the question of ad bookings until 24th November, they will likely try a feint. Book the ads, leak it and watch Labor book as well, then spring it early, leaving Labor ads un-run, unless they are really quick on their feet.

  22. I think for later this year the ALP will have a lot more money to use for the election campaign compared with the Coalition; im wondering whether people think this may make a difference especially with the combined support the ALP and the Unions.

  23. Gordon Brown has been tipped to catch the Tories napping in the UK…his rapid surge in the polls has sparked marginal MPs to call for Brown to call a snap poll and thump Cameron…

    Also looking more like a Clinton vs Giuliani election in 2008 New York New York…

  24. The one thing you can say by looking at all of the polls, (preferred PM, voting intention and job satisfaction) is that Rudd is far more popular than Howard and that is important come the election.

  25. The problem for any opposition though is that the government spends up big (with our money) long before the election to get themselves re- elected. No matter which side of the political fence you may be on this surely is travesty of justice.

  26. A Clinton/Guiliani election would be an interesting test on the unity of American 2 party politics.

    Clinton is deeply mistrusted by a chunk of the Democrat left, and Giuliani is hated by a large chunk of the Republican right.

    If that combination ended up being endorsed by their respective party conventions, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a hard-right, christian republican stand as a third party candidate.Neither would I be surprised to see a soaking wet left-liberal do the same and throw Clintons support for the war in Iraq back in her face.

    Those third party candidates would take votes from the majors, and the republicans could bleed votes if a third party republican candidate could mobilise the evangelist vote in the South and the Midwest.It would be an interesting election.

  27. Hang on Richard Jones. You say the Coalition’s tax cuts cause spending and thus inflation. I thought the left whinged about tax cuts only favouring the “rich” (who don’t tend to spend their tax cuts), as opposed to the “poor” who really need the $$$ (they spend and cause inflation).

    This isn’t attempting to denigrate any particular group in Australia, just basic economics – go do some reading on the marginal propensity to spend.

  28. Gary

    Labour in the UK have officially until 2010 but it usually governments on the nose that go to 5 years – Conservatives in 1992 and 1997. So normally an election would be expected in 2009. So going in the latter half of 2007 would be very early – can’t remember what month the 2005 election was held. Most interesting aspect of the last UK poll was that the LibDems were down to about 14% (as I recall). On figures like that they would be down to 15 or so seats (judging from similar Liberal votes in the ’70s).

  29. Possum

    The question is who do the Republican right hate more – Rudy or Hilary? With the latter they have a lot more practice. Maybe, Barak Obama or John Edwards would be better political circuit breakers.

  30. An added thought .. Newt Gingrich is hovering around the edges. He would hold the Republican right wing as well as galvanising the Democrats to unity. Or maybe he is waiting for 2012. What would be interesting would be if there were two serious non party candidates.

  31. Doesn’t Pauline realise that United Australia Party was the Forunner of The Liberal Party which she was dumped from ?

    “RIGHT-wing firebrand Pauline Hanson says she will run on similar policies to those that won her international notoriety a decade ago when she vies for a Queensland Senate seat at the upcoming election.

    The main difference will be that this time the former fish and chip shop owner, who claims credit for forcing the Howard Government to adopt a harder line on immigration controls, will target Muslims.

    “We need to have a look at our immigration levels and I’d like to have a look at putting a moratorium on any more Muslims coming into Australia,” she said today.

    The former One Nation leader has also applied to the Australian Electoral Commission to register Pauline’s United Australia Party ”


  32. {The main difference will be that this time the former fish and chip shop owner, who claims credit for forcing the Howard Government to adopt a harder line on immigration controls, will target Muslims. }

    If she targets them too much, she had better get out her famous video.

    “People of Australia, if you are watching this video, then you know that I am dead.”

    This election just gets better and better.

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