Morgan: 58.5-41.5

This week’s Morgan face-to-face poll has Labor’s lead down to 58.5-41.5 from 63-37 last week, its weakest Morgan face-to-face showing since the election of the Rudd government. It seems Morgan also conducted a phone poll between June 4-9 which put the score at 56-44, compared with the government’s previous weakest result of 58-42 at the phone poll of May 7-11.

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.

256 comments on “Morgan: 58.5-41.5”

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  1. Sydney Morning Herald, 5 May 2008

    Oakes asked Swan whether house prices would fall should Labor win.

    “No, of course I can’t guarantee that,” Swan said. “We don’t think there’s any silver bullet when it comes to house affordability.”

    What about grocery prices? Oakes asked.

    “No,” Swan said.

    Petrol prices?

    “No, I can’t guarantee that but I can guarantee that we will do the maximum amount possible to make sure that people aren’t being ripped off.”

  2. On Gough

    “There was a strong feeling of anger and a need for cultural self-expression. There was a feeling of cultural lockout. There was a feeling, which the Whitlam government dispelled, that we couldn’t be creators, that creation was done by finer minds elsewhere. There was a great inferiority complex that we were a worthless nation culturally. Sneering at Australians was a long standing Bristish pastime, fairly fulsomely reinforced by numbers of Australians.

    Source: Greg Sheridan, Australian, 28 April 1992.

    I’ve long thought Gough gave Australians their identity, be proud of yourselves and your achievements, be yourself. For that he deserves the praise as “father of the nation”. The lib view of Howard as father of the nation is more inline of letting daddy tell you what to do and how to behave, God Queen and country, Australian is a christian nation with too many asians and all the way with GBW.

    I recall a conversation I had where I said Gough showed us what Australia could be, with health, higher education and a fairer sharing of the riches, but I was corrected by the person saying “what Australia should be”.

  3. I appreciate the responses from Antony, but I don’t think you should have to feel you have to defend the whole organisation and I don’t think people should be whinging at you for the whole organisation. I actually agree local radio needs to be different from RN or News Radio, and clearly people will have different opinions on how well it succeeds. Personally there are some segments I enjoy, and some I never hear, and some, not so much. The different broadcasters become very well known to those who listen and again, clearly some will appeal more than others depending on style and what sort of segment they are presenting. I get crabby with Jon Faine for talking over people he’s interviewing, but on the whole, he’ll argue both sides of an issue, though that can get a bit predictable. My vote for intelligent, well researched and well conducted interviews goes to Ali Moore. Class, in my view, and just wish there was more of it.
    If Antonio is around, maybe, he or someone who knows, could explain why it’s the most junior people who run it. I seem to recall Antonio said it was started, own initiative, by some journos in Brisbane and hadn’t had much in the way of resourcing put into it?
    BTW, love The Shrike’s theory about Gillard and Iemma and the DBs. Sounds wonderfully Macchiavellian, plausible enough and just like a good Labor ambush.LOL.

  4. Turning Worm @87. Of course, they all pick and choose, but censor is far to pejorative a description. The volume of material that floods a news room every day is vast and there has to be some selection process. That process is going to be different for the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Review, the ABC, the Australian, Channel 10, etc.

    I like many people in the media get loads of press releases from the Citizens Electoral Council. I just delete them as soon as I see them. I suppose that’s censorship, but I really don’t believe their claim that the British Royal Family is responsible for most of the world’s illegal drug sales. I once received a two volume epic by some viewer who quoted vast reams of international law explaining how Australia’s signing of the Treaty of Versaille rendered Australia’s constitution null and void and therefore all laws passed since 1919 were invalid. I was going to suggest he try testing it in the High Court, but of course the High Court had also become null and void. If its censorship to ignore that possibly important story, I admit to it.

    What has changed in recent years is rolling news formats, always common in radio, but now used by Sky News and by media internet sites. Politicians et al now frame their press releases around this cycle, which means stories have a habit of giving only one side in an update. That’s not bias, it’s just trying to deliver into a rolling format.

  5. Compare and contrast – the media scrutiny when Rudd’s became Opposition Leader in late 2006 where every bit of miniscule was dissected and regurgitated by the media, to Brendan Nelson as newly elected Opposition Leader.

    Same position, (sorry, alternative PM) and what do we get – zip, nada, nothing, not one expose of that woman at the petrol pump with only $20, not one verification of the man that had suicided who left 2 or was it 3 children, and who was that homeless person he sat down with in the gutter at 3 am in the morning?

    Balanced my arse

  6. “I really don’t believe their claim that the British Royal Family is responsible for most of the world’s illegal drug sales”

    So how do you explain Charles wanting to be a tampon and talking to his plants? sounds like testing the product to me.

  7. Antony, surely if the rolling news format has become more important/influential in recent years, wouldn’t this suggest that more senior staff should be doing the sifting of whatever comes in? Particularly, if it then gets rolled into bulletins?
    An analogy from health, where I work. We put senior, experienced staff in charge of the most dangerous and difficult areas, such as Emergency Departments. Junior staff work there to gain experience, but are supervised. This is not to say that there aren’t stuff ups, but it just seems more sensible. What people such as myself and others have noticed are things like “The Opposition whomever states that…”, in later bulletins, “The Opposition and so on” is omitted. There may be organisational reasons why the online section has evolved the way it has, and why it’s staffed by junior folk, but it sure seems to me it needs some attention.
    Also recommend the essay on groupthink in The Possum Box by Ad Astra, for what I think many of us are on about. Oh, and I’d toss out anything sent by the Citizens Electoral Council as well. And thank you for taking the time to provide more of a picture.

  8. Antony Green @ 45 –

    If you want that sort of analysis, you will not, not, not, not get it in an on-line news service done on an hourly turn around basis. It’s always written by the youngest, most in-experienced and lowest paid journalists.

    If they are simply regurgitating whatever spin is presented to them then this is not journalism, its PR. They may as well just put up the press releases and be honest about it by clearly marking them as such. Even better, just put up links to the PR section of the political parties and put the money saved to better use.

    The ones with more experience are doing newspapers, radio or television.

    Where they seem to do pretty much the same thing as those working on the website!


    Ian @ 92 –

    I’m still working out the thing on solar panels- if your income is above a certain level, your carbon emmissions don’t matter?

    If the gaol is simply to reduce carbon emissions there are cheaper, more effective ways the federal government could spend the $8,000 subsidy. For example, assisting people to upgrade their homes to 5-star energy ratings would give far more bang for buck. Making solar cells produces a lot of carbon (and toxic heavy metals) which takes 30+% of their lifespan to recover.

    Howard introduced the subsidy because he needed to look like he was doing something about global warming without actually doing very much because that might entail causing voters (and the coal industry) pain. So he did what he usually did in such situations, chucked a bucket of money at his PR problem without caring about the result, or lack thereof.

    If pensioners can afford a solar system with the subsidy, and I know several, then people on $100K can probably afford the full $11-12K for a 1KWh grid-connect system, especially given the attractive returns on offer in some states for electricity uploaded to the grid.

  9. Antony 73
    I appreciate your reply to my 50. It is probably unfair to ask you to comment on media bias given the work you do for ABC and your public profile.

    Anyway my comments on your reply are as follows:-

    The process you describe includes-

    “His press officer would also circulate a press release with a copy of the statement, and if it was an attack on the position of the government, it would almost always include a selection of past statements by the government. If you don’t do that, the first question would always be ‘When did the government say xyz…”

    Does the reporter verify the Opposition handout of the past Gov’t statements for accuracy? Or does he/she simply accept the Opposition’s word for it? If not, it could say anything and the reporter would not know the difference. And consequently this is passed onto the Public as fact.

    What Rudd said 6 months ago is part of the equation. This needs to be lined up with what he said this week and is the crux of Nelson’s attack. The reporter supposedlly tries to roundoff the story by saying “Mr Rudd discussed whaling with his Japanese counterpart, Yasuo Fukuda, this week and the two men agreed to seek to resolve their disagreements through diplomatic means” . But what is the source of this info- Opposition’s handout? Where is Rudd’s actual word’s? His public statements I am aware of are in 50. The story is actually incomplete and gives the wrong impression and seems to support Nelson’s claim that the Gov’t is softening its position.

    You might justify what you are saying by Process. I as a consumer look at the Outcome. The Outcome is not satisfactory. The success of the Process is measured by its Outcome.

    Your choice of Piers Akerman as an example of someone who can “dismiss the spin from both sides and write what you think is the truth” sort of spoils the third paragraph for me. But I would prefer reporters to most times just report the facts properly, and to have verified these fact and statements handed out to them by either side. Many times I would prefer to be spared their opinions or their slant on the news, but if given the comments need to be balanced.

    This is only an example and is about how the media does its reporting, not about whaling.

  10. Antony, I’m sorry but your defence of press conferences (where journalists simply – and safely – stenograph what is said) is pretty lame.

    That’s the problem, not the solution.

    The water has begun to boil but the frog just thinks its getting warmer around here.

    If to transcribe Liberal talking points as “facts” (as in “it’s a fact it was said”) is regarded as good, honest journalism, we’re further gone down the road to perdition than I thought.

    A reminder: the Libs lost the last election. Senator Alston has departed the stage. They don’t sack ABC jourmos or banish them to the Siberian beat anymore for “unproductive phrasing”. We’re not “at war” with Iraq today. Lives are not at stake.

    What is the ABC so scared of that they have abandoned their charter to present the news, as opposed to the spin?

    Listen to the footy, the League or the AFL. Try the cricket commentators. Those guys don’t pull punches. Why is it that sport gets a fairer and more balanced, objective treatment than politics?

  11. No, no bias in the media???

    Antony, give me a break! LOL. The majority MSM is so pathetically biased in favour of the coalition that – it’s hilarious.

    O.K. Let’s take Rugbt League for example. Ray Warren supports Parramatta, Paul Vautin supports Queensland, Mathew Johns supports Newcastle, but their commentry is professional, unbiased and informative. A very far cry from most News Ltd journalists.

    If the media is stupid enough to supply so much oxygen to anything the coalition says without fair and proper scrutiny, it will continue to drag down it’s own standards.

  12. I have criticized certain journalists in the past, but I would like to compliment three who I believe are outstanding and head and shoulders above the rest:

    – Laurie Oakes (who I would say normally votes coalition).
    – Kerrie ‘O Brien (who I would say normally votes labor).
    – Paul Bonjourno (who I would say normally votes coalition).

  13. I love it when the left on the blogosphere goes into meltdown about media bias, particularly when it comes to the ABC. You all sound so uncannily like the right on the blogosphere – albeit slightly more grammatically correct and only slightly less deranged – that any rational person is left with the impression that there is a circular argument going on here. All good fodder for William’s PhD, nonetheless, and proof, if needs be, that the ABC is unbiased and doing its job.

    Antony, there is no point in arguing with these people. They hate journalists, although most of them love you. Just ignore them.

  14. I have no idea what most of you are on about. There has always been bias in the media since the first cave man drew a picture of his last hunt (“No, that mammoth hasn’t that big, you’re biased”). The opinion writers are of course extemely biased but that is because they are giving an opinion. But on the whole, you are general mistaking weak and sloppy journalism combined with a tendancy for hysteria for bias.

  15. Antony Green Says:
    June 14th, 2008 at 11:52 am

    My line up would be a story on vertical fiscal imbalance in the Commonwealth, a story on the need for furthering the Doha trade round, something on improving indigenous health, and then wrap it up with a story on the foreign policy dilemmas created by the collapse of Papua-New Guinea. All very worthy and important, but who would watch it!

    Sounds like a pretty good line up to me.

    I am a consumer of ABC radio and as I have spent more time than I want to in the US, US public radio. I like the US congress channels ( I wish we did something similar here) and I enjoy “all things considered” in the US and on news radio in Australia. When it comes to public broadcasting the US is not a baron landscape.

    I accept that when you consider local radio is the training ground for most of Australia’s media personnel, the tax dollars spent on local radio is worth while, so I apologize.

    I’m not complaining about the talk back, what I am complaining about is the trivialization of politics, and I would argue that occurs because of what our media choses to report and yes I think if Brenden choses to deal in trivia he should be ignored.

    I think the current problem is there are some very bright people on the labor side of politics and some real duds leading the Liberal side ( some good people on the backbench), one side suited to intelligent debate ( though Rudd isn’t doing well of late) and the other side, to trivial sound bites.

    And I disagree that good political commentary can only be had on the national channels, one of the best I have heard was on triple J ( though I suppose that is a national channel also).

    Hell the way things are going I will follow my daughters lead and start listening to Cactus Island for my daily political update.

    Love your work.

    Did I mention I miss the 15 min news update; oh never mind.

  16. charles 117

    At last another bludger who listens to Triple J. And I agree, they often have the best political analysis because no-one listens to them and they don’t care if they sound biased or not. My favourite media moment from the last elections was when Kate from Hack slaughtered Turnbull in an interview on the Environment. She ended up yelling at him “So in summary, you are saying ‘Just trust us but we have no policies’. YOU ARE GIVING US NOTHING MR TURNBULL, NOTHING!”

  17. Doug #114

    Michelle Gratten is the fairest most even handed jurno going round.

    I thought highly of lenore taylor while she was at afr but have not seen the quality we used to see since she switched to the shanahanhanahans squalid propaganda sheet.

    Channel 9 seems – occasionally seem to have become less rabid since packer sold out, but oakes has never impressed me. He has given the libs an easy ride for 30 yrs that I recall.

  18. Yes Doug, Michelle Gratan is very good.

    I would like to bet that she would usually vote liberal. But you know she is professional and balanced when someone like Cossie tells her if she’s been taking her prescriptions.

  19. Diogenes, unfortunately, if we pinch them, S.A. is in even worse trouble. Nevertheless, some of them will probably wind up here, just making the whole health care delivery system even more of a nightmare. The new Women’s Hospital was just opened in Melbourne, whiz bang, bells and whistles for medium to high risk care. Wouldn’t you know it, there’s a demonstration outside mostly of women from Broadmeadows, who feel marginalised in their local hospitals ( they’re mostly Muslim women, which puzzles me, as mostly this is a significant demographic in their local hospitals, both patients and a lot of staff) , they say, or just want to go to the Women’s. Frankly, there’s no pleasing some folk.

  20. Speaking of media bias, I will never forget when Beazley blew Howard away in their first 1998 debate. Laurie Oakes and the audience gave it to Beazley easily.

    Oakes said that Howard would be too chicken to debate Beazley again given their performances, but the media had four weeks for its wheels to spin to recover any damage done to the coalition.

  21. People always perceive media bias against which ever political party they support. It comes from having their own internal bias and thinking everyone should think like them.

  22. LTEP, that’s not what this conversation has been about, and if you think that’s true, you’ve missed the point entirely.

  23. Latest from the Poison Dwarf.

    [IN the most private recesses of their minds, some Labor figures are thinking the unthinkable: Could Kevin Rudd be a one-term prime minister, the first of the modern era?

    Rudd himself has warned that while the Government looks to have a healthy majority on paper, a good number of those seats are held by wafer-thin margins.
    What is driving the pessimism, albeit still nascent, in Labor’s ranks is the Prime Minister’s style of political management, his apparently boundless appetite for so-called “gesture politics” and the increasingly fractured narrative created by a leader who consistently talks about the long term, but just as consistently acts as if his short-term political life depended on it.

    Take this week’s visit to Japan. First, Rudd was seen to have neglected Tokyo diplomatically by overreaching on the China relationship. Rudd was seen to have miscalculated and bruised Japanese sensibilities.

    And this against a background of bellicose threats to take Japan to the International Court of Justice over its “scientific” whaling program, backed by the sending of an Australian observer ship to collect video evidence of the Southern Ocean slaughter.

    This last “gesture” had enormous support in Australia. But by the time the Prime Minister reached Japan, any threat to drag Tokyo to court had been unceremoniously jettisoned.

    Instead, Rudd said Australia would pursue the whaling issue through diplomacy. Given Japan’s historic intransigence on the question, that’s code for giving up.

    And while Rudd tried to give the impression that he had never really sabre-rattled on the issue, Greg Hunt, the Opposition’s environment spokesman, hoisted the Prime Minister on his own verbiage, producing 10 quotes from Rudd in which he either declared action through the International Whaling Commission useless (the path we’re now pursuing), or advocated action through the ICJ.],21598,23863698-5005374,00.html

  24. LTEP, nonesense like usual.

    Most people here are intelligent enough to see if there is any bias towards or against their political preferences, or sport for that matter (football commentators for e.g.).

    I’m sure most here would want both parties to be given an equally fair go, according to their merits.

  25. LTEP has hit the nail on the head. People see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear. Take religion, for example.

  26. People aare capable of recognising unfair bias when they see it. It’s not that the government is being criticised that’s the problem. It’s the way they are being criticised. The best way to explain this is what one contributor here said on a previous thread. If Rudd walked over the Sydney Harbour Bridge it would be reported that he did so because he couldn’t swim. A negative angle is found. Just read the Poisoned Dwarf for exhibit A.

  27. Gary, Harry and others, if you read the right-wing blogs, which I don’t suggest you do if you have just eaten or have a full head of hair, or small children or pets, or a brain, the Australian political media elite believes that the sun is shining so blindingly out of Kev’s alimentary canal that Mercury has been overtaken as the most gloriously enlightened planet in our solar system. Using Glenn Milne as exhibit A is not a wise thing to do.

    Couple of facts on the media. The majority of print media readership in the world is interested in celebrity gossip/photos, food and how to prepare it for your man, and fashion. The majority of television media viewers in the world are interested in the same, in addition to sport, Hugh Heffner and/or supermodels, soap operas and, in our small part of the world, how your mechanic is ripping you off (combined audience of TT/ACA in Australia every weeknight is approx 2.5 million). The majority of radio media listeners in the world are interested in the greatest hits from the 70s and 80s and the word of Jesus. The majority of internet media consumers in the world are interested in pornography.

    That’s only my biased opinion. I do have evidence to back it up, however.

  28. 113
    Centre Says:
    June 14th, 2008 at 10:10 pm
    Yes, another one to the Swans.

    Did you see the Dali Lama at the game in his Swannies gear?
    how could they lose withthat sort of support

  29. Yes Vera, and guess who the biggest losers will be if the Swans keep winning? News Ltd’s Superleague LOL.

    I want the Swans in the AFL grand final. And a Storm-Broncos NRL grand final in spite.

  30. Frank 127
    The PD right on cue in preparation for Nelson’s attack on Rudd next week!
    And the ABC report regarding the whaling sounds like it was based on a Liberal handout. At the very least poor process.

  31. [The PD right on cue in preparation for Nelson’s attack on Rudd next week!]

    Yep, his Modus Operandi is to write an attack article on Rudd to appear just in time to be fed by the Insiders and the Sunday TV news and continued in Parliament by Brenda.

  32. There is no bias because people only see what they want to see, there is no such thing as fact. I wonder how many evils are excused on that basis,

  33. The real Mark Twain wrote that exposure to good satire made citizens less likely to be “shriveled into sheep.”

    ………and good, unexaggerated reporting.

  34. Kina:
    There is no bias because people only see what they want to see, there is no such thing as fact. I wonder how many evils are excused on that basis,

    You’re calling media bias ‘evil’? Really… it’s all a bit melodramatic. It’s impossible to present a truly impartial account of facts. Even if it were, newspapers aren’t a public service… they’re run as businesses. They make far more money if they put a sensationalist spin on things.

    Most people here are intelligent enough to see if there is any bias towards or against their political preferences, or sport for that matter (football commentators for e.g.).
    I’m sure most here would want both parties to be given an equally fair go, according to their merits.

    That’s not what I’ve observed watching these discussions. People continually rubbish any news report which paints the Government even in a slightly negative way as biased and then praise reports which criticise the Opposition as impartial. If you visit websites frequented by more right wing commenters you see the exact opposite.

    Yes there is media bias… but it’s not something we should dwell on. Personally I never even bother reading anything written by certain ‘journalists’ and don’t see why other people can’t resist.

  35. There he goes again.

    The Poison Dwarf:

    Take this week’s visit to Japan. First, Rudd was seen to have neglected Tokyo diplomatically by overreaching on the China relationship. Rudd was seen to have miscalculated and bruised Japanese sensibilities.

    Was seen?

    “Was seen” by whom? A bunch of opinionated journos quoting each other in a monumental circle-jerk a few months ago. This is just a variation on his claim that “everyone in Canberra knows what Rudd’s up to with Brian Burke”, when he couldn’t pin a thing on him with actual, y’know, facts.

    Here’s how they do it…

    One of them writes an opinion piece, perhaps seeded by a comment or two from a whinger in the party room. Perhaps not.

    Next day another one writes a similar opinion piece, fleshing out the nuances. The day after that, a couple of journos, possibly at other media organizations (but it’s not compulsory), pick up the theme. By the fourth day the original writer starts referring to “reports in the media”.

    At the end of a week they’re all out there bootstrapping the story by quoting each other. If we’re lucky there’s a spot on a Sunday news show panel where they can all giggle. Within a couple more days we have our result: whatever it is is now established fact.

    The Australian is good for this. Once a year they write a “Tax Revolt” story and blow it up into thousands marching in the streets with torches and pitchforks. They’ve been running this one for the 35 years I’ve been reading their rag, once a year, like clockwork.

    The other favourite is “judgement”. Rudd cautions loudmouth female member for Central Coast seat over a few recent outbursts by her. If he waits too long he’s gutless and this reflects on his judgement. If he goes in too soon it’s overly precipitate action and this reflects on his judgement. If he times it just right, then his action is too weak, because he should have sacked her, not warned her. Once again his judgement is called into question. Alternatively, he’s working his MPs too hard, and is it any wonder they crack up over a trivial incident at a restaurant? You guessed it: poor judgement. If the last line is taken, expect headlines telling us about, “Belinda’s Agony: The Man Who Wrecked My Life”, referring to one K. Rudd, who clearly has… unsound judgement. And if his judgement is lacking on such a small matter, just imagine what it would be on an important one.

    All but the last of the above scenarios were run out by Christopher Pyne on Lateline last Friday night, with Virginia “My job is to argue the government’s case if they can’t be bothered turning up to argue it themselves, but only if it’s a Liberal government” Trioli a willing urger.

    They don’t always work. When Milne tried to slander Rudd by saying he’d been kicked out of the strip club for rowdy behavior, it only lasted a couple of days, despite Milne’s best efforts at eyebrow raising. No apology required, it’s only an opinion piece, after all.

  36. 142 Bushfire Bill – Very well put.
    I just wonder why there are people here who believe the media should be beyond scrutiny. How is it we are expecred to accept a journalist can quite literally make things up and run with it but he/she is beyond scrutiny? Why is it we don’t expect them to have carefully researched their “facts” before going to press? Why is it we accept the process of reporting, as correctly outlined by BB, as reasonable?
    LTEP, over to you.

  37. Why don’t we expect them to have carefully researched their facts, these “more experienced” journalists who work for the newspapers?

    Because they have busy schedules, unrelenting deadlines, an hourly news cycle, 24/7 coverage. There’s no time left for the truth. They should just print what they think, and hope it will become the truth.

  38. Maybe the government needs to re-evaluate their media management? If the Coalition can get their spokesmen’s soundbites published (uncritically, as fact) with jaw-dropping unanimity, the government needs to aggressively seek airtime for its Ministers’ statements.

    Given the biased coverage against them they might understandably be loath to enter the lion’s den. But it is either that or an uncontested anti-Labor onslaught.

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