D-day minus 35

• Galaxy has released further findings from yesterday’s poll, which can be viewed through this nifty graphic.

• Writing in The Age, Rod Cameron notes a particular concentration of the part-time working mothers targeted by the Coalition’s tax policy in the important Victorian seats of Deakin, La Trobe, Corangamite, McEwen and McMillan. Cameron also includes Solomon on his list of marginal Coalition seats which Labor can’t take for granted, which I had only previously heard suggested by Matthew Franklin and Brad Norington of The Australian.

Greg Roberts of The Australian reports that both parties’ polling has Nationals incumbent Paul Neville holding a 55-45 lead over Labor candidate Garry Parr in the Bundaberg-based seat of Hinkler. Roberts’ article paints an unflattering picture of Parr’s campaign efforts which recalls the media-shy performance of Ed Husic, Labor’s disastrously unsuccessful candidate for Greenway at the 2004 election. Anecdotal evidence is also presented of strong local feeling over the council amalgamations issue.

• Shortly after dumped Labor member Gavan O’Connor announced he would attempt to hold his seat of Corio as an independent, Labor has promised to add $45 million to its existing funding plans for the Geelong Ring Road.

Joe Hildebrand of the Daily Telegraph notes that the need to respond to the Coalition tax package caused Kevin Rudd to scrap “early rough plans” for “a sweep across the country from Brisbane to Sydney to Adelaide and Perth”. The only Liberal marginal seat he has found time to visit so far has been the Adelaide electorate of Kingston, reckoned by most to be a certain Labor gain.

• The Sky News Election 07: Agenda program last night broadcast a debate between Joe Hockey and Mike Bailey, the Liberal and Labor candidates for North Sydney, which you can hear as a podcast.

• George Megalogenis of The Australian notes that the behaviour of the major parties indicates they believe “working women are fibbing when they tell opinion pollsters they prefer increased public spending over another round of tax cuts” (can’t find the article online but I’m sure it’s there somewhere).

• After some invaluable advice from readers last month on reducing bandwidth costs, this vehicle is running a good deal more efficiently than it used to. Nonetheless, the announcement of the election has brought a further surge in traffic, so I am again having to shell out extra for the privilege of staying online until the end of the month. Please click on the PayPal button on the sidebar if you would like to make a contribution (I should acknowledge that whenever I make this plea, the resulting influx is enough to cover my costs with a fair bit to spare). To clear up a common point of confusion: you do not need a PayPal account to donate, you simply have to click “continue” where it says “Don’t have a PayPal account?” at the bottom left.

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.

274 comments on “D-day minus 35”

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  1. Dario 25

    Looked, thanks.

    Too right! Push polling at the heinous level.

    Remember to shave off percentage points on whatever negative (for me) poll result is published by these spinners.

  2. I’ve seen a LOT of Govt. ads – including in prime-time 1 in every ad break for an hour, hour and a half (though I don’t watch a great deal of TV so perhaps this is just a fluke period when I happened to tune in)

  3. Glen,

    It’s Howard that ha that “Im too old for this shit”, grumpy old man look. Looks to me like he’ll need a hot cocoa before he can do the debate tomorrow. You reckon he might have a “nana” nap to pep him up.

    As for his daily power walk. The latest information is that all that security is to make sure he finds his way home. Can’t have the silly old coot wandering the streets bewitched, bothered and bewildered.

  4. There was suspicion of that when they got the first 53/47. I remember some one saying at the time that there mother was polled in that way.

  5. Oh yeah yeah Glen whatever you reckon brother. Nice of you to crawl out of Howard’s backside long enough to comment.
    I personally reckon Rudd is just warming up. He’ll be full tilt as of the debate and will keep it up until the end. Howard is the one who will end up exhausted. Like Catweazle… “nothing works… nothing works…”
    Keep the laughs coming buddy.
    ps. how was the national party vote in the last polls? the ones you liked?

  6. #35 –

    “The big negative for the government is that now that tax is out of the way, the economy is likely to take a back seat in the election campaign.”

    LOL!! Ashley, do you really believe that? The economy will be the most important issue from the beginning to the end of the election campaign and will determine the result. It wouldn’t surprise me if you turned out to be one of the bright sparks over at ALP campaign headquarters.

    Meanwhile, more evidence that Labor is dancing to the PM’s tune: the SMH reports today that due to the Government’s anti-union campaign, supposed star recruits like Combet and Shorten have been told to keep a low profile nationally and stay in their electorates. As a result, Combet’s been reduced to addressing local gatherings, like the “crowd” of 19 old biddies he spoke to a couple of days ago.

    What craven curs.

  7. I am still fascinated that the ‘narrowing’ included a 1% addition to Labor’s primary and in the Morgan the LNP didn’t move and Labor’s reduction simply moved to the Greens. The Galaxy? Well we know what happened the last time they produced a 53/47.

    That is not the sort of ‘narrowing’ the LNP want from 1.calling the election 2. $34 bn tax cut

  8. OK, probably a dumb question but what does “push polling” mean? or maybe a better question is , how is that galaxy thing “push polling”?

    Forgive my ignorance

  9. Like the ‘dog-whistle’ for polsters. So that Galaxy garbage whose first question is ‘Do you know enough about Kevin Rudd…’ plants the idea that the guy is flimsy, the second ‘Whould you say you are better of worse off now…’ attempts to frame the debate economically, the third ‘Do you think the coalition deserves to win…’ is the king hit after the set up of the first two. It is pretty shamefaced, really.

  10. Not really push polling – push polling is why you proffer a number of questions negative about a party or person then ask a vote on some related issue. The purpose is to put out negative ideas. But by doing things like this you are also more likely to get negative answers.

    Crude example
    Given that the ALP has a close association with unions and recent reports suggest increased union influence will harm the economy who will you be voting for in the next election?

    1. ALP
    2. LNP

    Or given the Govt’s $34 bn Tax Cut who will you be voting for in the election…

  11. The local Murdoch Rag (Manly Daily) published a ‘door-stop’ opinion piece today. It is curious to see two middle aged women express non-liberal programmed thoughts. Two men not quite middle aged claiming they might just toss a coin. One aging Liberal fool claiming Laor is high taxing and AWAs are the best, and one other anti-union dope. The Warringah electorate is a curious beast.

    Unfortunately for the Manly Daily the lack of quality of its journalists and editor fails to allow it to shine.

  12. There are two separate aspects to push-polling.

    1) to make it one answer more likely (and therefore give
    the pollsters a preferred overall result)


    2) to change the later behaviour of the pollee (eg to influence
    their final vote)

    Galaxy are probably doing both.

    will probably go up when RBA meets in early Nov…. the tax cuts promised by the liberals have probably ensured this will be the case

  14. I could be terribly wrong but my recollection of the 1996 campaign was that Mr. Keating won it – comfortably. My feeling was, at the time, that on the balance of events – he won most days… other people might have a distinctly different recollection.

    The question is, beyond all the hype and hoopla, do election campaigns _really_ matter?

  15. 41
    Julie Says:
    According to Shanahan (whom I normally don’t read but his column was [for him] neutral today), Howard has a king hit policy on health care in the wings.

    The problem for Howard is that he has had over 11 years to make the productive changes to health (and a bunch of other areas) and he has stuffed it up, he couldn’t even get the number of doctors and dentists needed right. Any “king hit” policy changes now will be seen very cynically by the electorate, who will simply ask “Why didn’t you fix this years ago?”.

  16. Their was a claim by someone in the previous blog site that the last Galaxy that produced 53/47 asked questions in this negative fashion. A person said his mother/sister was questioned like that. Hence the weird result at the time.

  17. No John, your recollection is correct. John Howard has never been reported as winning campaigns or debates in any election.

    Hype and hoopla is right.

  18. Here is as good an explanation of push polling as there is. Still great fter 20 plus year. From the Yes Prime Minister series.

    Sir Humphrey: “You know what happens: nice young lady comes up to you. Obviously you want to create a good impression, you don’t want to look a fool, do you? So she starts asking you some questions: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “Are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “Do you think there is a lack of discipline in our Comprehensive schools?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “Do you think young people welcome some authority and leadership in their lives?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “Do you think they respond to a challenge?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “Would you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Oh…well, I suppose I might be.”
    Sir Humphrey: “Yes or no?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “Of course you would, Bernard. After all you told you can’t say no to that. So they don’t mention the first five questions and they publish the last one.”
    Bernard Woolley: “Is that really what they do?”
    Sir Humphrey: “Well, not the reputable ones no, but there aren’t many of those. So alternatively the young lady can get the opposite result.”
    Bernard Woolley: “How?”
    Sir Humphrey: “Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “Are you worried about the growth of armaments?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “Do you think there is a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “Do you think it is wrong to force people to take up arms against their will?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “Would you oppose the reintroduction of National Service?”
    Bernard Woolley: “Yes”
    Sir Humphrey: “There you are, you see Bernard. The perfect balanced sample.”

  19. William I have negotiated the mysteries of paypall and helped widen your bands or whatever it is, since I use so much of them, or it. You provide an excellent service, although you know my view that you ought to restrict discussion to matters psephological and not allow all this mindless trolling. That would make things cheaper for you as well as improving the site enormously.

    What could a “king hit on health” possibly be? Announcing more billions for this and that won’t cut it – it’s just more pork and people are too cynical to believe it, or even notice it. Taking over all the hospitals from the states would certainly be big, but Abbott has already poured scorn on the idea, and there’s no guarantee the punters would approve. What could it be? The Howard Cancer Cure?

  20. Push polling (as it was originally coined) was used to shape a voters opinion. This was done on a large scale, tens of thousands of phone calls – each voter was targeted personally with dubious questions/statements about a political opponent in order to produce a negative response.
    The instance here is to produce a poll result that is gained while concurrently asking negative qualitative questions. The published poll can then used to supposedly represent the opinions of others. I guess if people call this push-polling as well, then it is!

  21. What motive would Galaxy have for publishing a dodgy poll? They were the closest in ’04? It could just be the 1 in 20 that is plain wrong. I’m not in the league of many of you pollsters, but it does seem to me that there has been a “narrowing” trend over the last few months. It’s just that if this trend was to bear fruit for the PM then the election would need to be held in 2016.

  22. Crikey Whitey at post 68 says:”I think it’s a pork narrowing, Kina.”‘

    Actually, I thing it’s a margin of error narrowing.

    The Coalition’s still stuffed.

  23. Thanks Pancho, but I thought I saw a graphic somewhere showing a teensy weensy change over the past few months. But I am but a poor novice. But my first Q was about What’s in it for Galaxy. Surely if they publish dodgy polls, this will affect their credibility?

  24. but see, in a poll cycle – you only have to be really accurate on the last one before an election. That’s the only one where there is a real obvious proof of correspondance to reality.

    So, make sure you get that last one before election day right and for the next 3 years you’ve got street cred (galaxy) or none… (morgan.

  25. I agree that is a valid question. I can only posit that even these pollsters have their own interests, backers etc. Not necessarily in an overtly partisan sense, but maybe one paper or another wishes closer numbers, want to tap into a particular narrative, spice up an uneven race? In any sense I guess that they don’t all seek the same numbers and angles, and polling is far from a pure science. And if they think they have taken the wrong track at a later stage they could always ‘push’ in the opposite direction. In short: I dunno.

  26. and yeah, I think polls can influence people’s perception of events. I think there are some ppl who hear “68% of ppl are unconcerned by ‘x’…” and who find themselves thinking “why yeah, storm in a teacup really”.

    There is a more subtle and diffuse form of push polling.

  27. Having seen Sol Lebovic from newspoll the other night on the 7:30 report I would think that there’s good reason to suspect that the Murdoch press apply pressure on its pollsters to toe the party line. Lebovic has been pushing the Labor ‘soft’ vote all year despite the fact that most of the data suggest unprecedented levels of hard support – which is the reason that theres been no volatility in polls despite the govt throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Labor. Lebovic was even saying that the early polls in the election campaign would probably not indicate strongly the final result. John Stirton from AC neilson strongly disagreed.

    Galaxy, being the tabloid pollster for news limited is dodgy for this reason. THere was massive pressure from the Govt and its backers for these recent polls to give the coalition a sniff – a poor result after the tax bribe would have effectively scuttled the coalition campaign. WHen John Howard says Galaxy is his favourite poll you have course to worry.

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