Inside dope

That most intensely scrutinised of federal electorates, Wentworth, is again the subject of an internal party polling “leak”. Many argue that all internal polls that make it to the public view are self-serving fabrications, but I personally am naive enough to think they might sometimes be authentic. This time we have The Australian reporting results from a very thorough survey of 400 voters conducted for Labor in June by UMP Research. The key finding is that Labor has a decisive lead on the primary vote, of 44 per cent to 42 per cent. The report also informs us that the Liberal Party has “doubled the number of seats it was treating as ‘marginal’ in the face of Labor’s consistent lead in the polls”.

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.

169 comments on “Inside dope”

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  1. Blair, I am pretty sure the Howard PM in control of the world image makes it difficult for the PM to be too underdog. It will be interesting to see if they are desperate enough to run a whole campaign on being about to lose, or whether they have to temper their come from behind theme with power and ability

    Don’t understand labor leaking it at all, unless they don’t think they can win and have released dodgy figures that say they will to distract turnbull

  2. I agree it’s hard for the PM to seem too underdog, but that hasn’t stopped plenty of incumbents at both federal and state level in Australia trying in recent years. It’s something that is completely different to the political culture in (say) the U.S. – obviously the existence of voluntary voting and the need to raise vast amounts of money are major factors in the U.S., but I think there are some cultural aspects to it too.

  3. I agree Blair, just thinking too, in NSW the premier did it (and perhaps this applies to Beattie in Qld as well) and they added to it something they admitted was crap and would do better next time.

    The PM would struggle to admit he was rubbish at economic management, that he was rubbish at the war at iraq and would do better next time.

    I’m not sure “We are the only party that can manage the economy but we notice you don’t appreciate this sufficiently, elect us again and we will do better at making you see how great we are” isn’t really humility.

    But the State guys who got a win out of it might have shot themselves in the foot. I had a talk overseas with a hospitals expert recently and suggested I’d heard Australian hospitals are falling down, and had dropped behind the NHS in the UK. He just rolled around the floor laughing. Needless to say he didn’t agree even a bit. So admitting you are doing something rubbish and begging to be given a chance to do it much much better I think will only work if you actually do (and probably needs an opposition that is rubbish as well).

  4. #150

    There are a few Labor voting areas in Higgins like Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Hughesdale, Prahan and maybe Ashburton. But the rest of the electorate is rock soild Liberal. Only the Woolhara and Valculse areas in Wentworth are soild Liberal, the rest of the electorate is Labor voting.

  5. By the way, who else saw the footage of Mr Howard at the Eastwood public school fair yesterday? He was mobbed and treated like a rock star, signing autographs and hugging people and having his photo taken. The Channel Nine reporter was moved to comment that he didn’t look like someone fighting to hang on to his seat.

  6. Steven,

    People will often mob anyone they see on TV. It means nothing. I remember in 1996 Keating was mobbed by a bunch of schoolgirls and he made a big deal about it on TV but in the end it didn’t do him much good.

  7. I note on the Sunday Telegraph website that Glen, Piers and Sandra Lee (whoever she is) are desperately trying to breate some life into the Rudd/Scores “scandal”.

    On Lee’s site she pushes the line that strip joints are demeaning to women. I responded that it was a bit rich writing that in a paper that has pages and pages of ads for brothels, strip clubs, swingers clubs and prostitution generally.

    No doubt my piece will not be published.

    It looks like Howard is a favourite in the hypocrite demographic!

  8. Steven,

    You’re right. All the polls are wrong and Howard is going to win by a mile because as we all know anyone who gets mobbed at a school fair is a dead certainty to win the election. Just as well Paris Hilton isn’t running or else she’d be a shoo-in.

  9. Steven, for better or worse, Paul K is no stupider than I am. I too remember the rather embarrassing spectacle of schoolgirls making a pop-star style fuss over Paul Keating in very late 1995 or early 1996. Exactly the same thought occurred to me when I read your comment.

  10. Back onto the strip club, I’m not sure demeaning is really quite the right word for a high end strip club, I would have thought it was innately exploitative, regardless of the acceptance delight of the employees (or are they independent contractors). But it doesn’t really get to the start of a race that has Iraq, Children overboard and AWB in it.

  11. Yes William, but what about Hewson and his public meetings chanting “Labors got to go”. Reported approvingly, but turned off voters in the end in 93.

    These populist images are the fallback of the desperate.

  12. Thee has been a lot of discussion about what will happen to the polls “once the election campaign starts”.

    But maybe this election will be different as we seem to have been in continuous campaing mode for most of this year.

    Maybe the switch into the official campaign mode will not make a signficant difference?

    A question to think about?

  13. Schoolkids will mob anyone they recognise. They get pretty excited about footballers, Australian Idol contests and Big Brother housemates, as well as politicians. I observed people literally running towards Bob Hawke in the street to say hello to him. He had much more street appeal than either Howard or Keating.

    And little kids go absolutely nuts at the slightest glimpse of Thomas the Tank Engine or Bob the Builder, who aren’t even real people. It’s about recognition, not support for someone’s policies. Kids don’t scram for Thomas the Tank Engine because they’re concerned about rail infrastructure.

    And why shouldn’t schoolkids get excited when seeing the Prime Minister? I certainly never saw one at my school, but we would have been pretty excited about it. My school was not in a marginal electorate, by the way.

  14. And Doug, the official election campaign will still be different to the mock one we’re having at the moment.

    All the policies will be on the table, and Rudd will get to debate Howard. I think Howard’s best chance of winning the election is to win the debate and show the audience that Rudd is too inexperienced to be Prime Minister. However, I think it’s more likely Rudd will use the debate to show Howard has been there too long and lacks “fresh thinking”.

    Once the electorate knows what day they’ll be voting on, it concentrates their minds (except, of course, for those who never think about policies, and wouldn’t know or care who their local member is, and ignore the campaigns, and ultimately decde the election result).

  15. 154
    Tristan Jones Says:
    August 25th, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    There are a few Labor voting areas in Higgins like Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Hughesdale, Prahan and maybe Ashburton. But the rest of the electorate is rock soild Liberal. Only the Woolhara and Valculse areas in Wentworth are soild Liberal, the rest of the electorate is Labor voting.

    Not sure what you mean by ‘areas’, but there are plenty more solidly Liberal-voting _suburbs_ in Wentworth: Bellevue Hill, Darling Point, Double Bay, Dover Heights, Edgecliff, Point Piper, Rose Bay, and Watsons Bay.

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