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. Antony

    please please keep expressing the view that the internet is largely irrelevant to politics

    i mean phampleteering and leaflets were decried in their day werent they


  2. Antony

    you knucklehead
    menzies used radio to totally destroy labors more traditional town hall approach
    which btw was used succesfully by lyons
    cf canada 1993 and the use of leaflets and ‘underground’ media to rout the kim campbell gvt

    oh and also the french revolution and the use of flyers(phamplets)

    but thats only my opinion

  3. I’d go one further than ruawake – the MSM isn’t biased (although the Op-Ed sections are filled to the brim with dross), a lot of its lazy – but it’s a laziness brought about because the companies are getting exactly what they pay for on the one hand, and the extreme growth in the volume of press releases and general news “stuff” that they have to now deal with. That last bit shouldnt be underestimated – the newscycle has accelerated, the info has done likewise, but revenues haven’t – more work for less people getting, on average, paid less in real terms.

    And the reason they arent paying much for the actual on the ground news work anymore comes back to eyeballs and the, in real terms, loss of eyeballs that the MSM print and broadcast editions are experiencing.

    Which gets into Antony’s points (have fun at that Microsoft do Antony – I was invited to that thing, but anonymous marsupials and all) -the internet isn’t necessarily going to be a better quality forum for politics (although in some places it most certainly will, but in some places it will be worse), but it is the medium that is changing everything, including eyeball flow and the revenue consequences for MSM operations.

    The net by its very nature is a high volume, low profit per eyeball affair compared to print. With less money to throw around, aspiring journos get the short end of the stick in financial compensation relative to the days of yore.So for young people that might have ordinarily moved into journalism – any of them with any get up and go, got up and left at the first opportunity to go and work in the broader communications field which pays more.

    Where the MSM is getting a hit is in their good quality journalism – the area that used to carry the broadsheets in terms of reputation and branding, because that mix of facts and serious interpretation isn’t much of an economically viable proposal these days – not on the interpretation side (that’s cheap), but on the vertical integration of that with in house collected facts (the expensive part). Single journalists are now carrying the branding can for the masthead they work for – like George Meg does at the Oz. Where once the organisation has money to burn on that, these days it’s more about single journalists with neuerons to burn doing the job, but without the resources.

    The facts, as in the news facts, are out there and easily accessible to anyone (the big change that the internet has created – especially with the growth in news wire services internationally) which means on any given issue, there’s a specialist out there somewhere that interprets it better than just about anyone in the media can because, well, they’re actually specialists in the field at hand. So many of the high value media consumers have ditched the MSM for greener, cheaper pastures (the top end of the net for serious stuff and online MSM for free, run of the mill news)

    Now this doesn’t mean much for John and Mary citizen – but the Mr and Mrs Citizens never read the top end of the broadsheets anyway.

    So the MSM is actually losing eyeballs from the top (because why pay for media when there’s better stuff out there than the usual suspects), as well as the bottom end (people often purchased papers not for the news but for the fluff in between which is now free and even more fluffy).

    The result in Australia is a sort of middling of mediocrity of the mainstream press – not enough money to finance news reporting properly and no real capability to keep the non-news readers from going to the net (which was important from a cross-subsidisation perspective).

    The net has already changed everything, especially in terms of the dramatic change in MSM business models – and it’s only going to get worse for them over time as an ever growing majority of people become comfortable using the net.The MSM has moved to the net, but they find it hard to monetize their presence properly because their business models don’t seem to be working too well on the one hand, and the people that use the net have very low opinions of the MSM as any Morgan poll on the publics views on professions over the last 3 years will tell you.

    Crikey is already a functional business model – but the only real net centric service around (for now) in Australia and it’s still a web 1.0 model (pardon the cliche)

    That will inevitably change.

    The day that someone in Australia figures out a workable business model for something like the Huffington Post but with a better quality community relations bent (which, in Australia you have to have or you fail as a media organisation), well, it will be “the end of the beginning of the end” for the newspaper business model in this country.

    And it will happen in the next couple of years.

  4. Centre @199. You are entirely right. But the problem currently being faced is who will then pay to produce news. Newspaper news is funded by print advertising. Once that advertising goes, who pays for the news. To date, the only Australian on-line news service that has worked without being attached to a media organisation has been Crikey, and that worked because it was subscription e-mail, not free on-line. Even Crikey is now attached to Eric Beecher’s media organisation.

    Through my NSW history research at, I’ve immersed myself in 150 years of Sydney Morning Herald reporting. Up until the 1920s, it was a journal of record, something you utterly rely on know the events of the day. Until 1880, there was no Hansard of the NSW parliament, and the SMH is the only record of earlier debates. There were no publications of 19th century NSW election results, the only sources are the published results in the newspapers.

    That role changed once more official publications were produced. It changed again once radio and television news came along. And it is having to change with the internet as well. But the real test for journalism in the future is how to make people pay for it once it is no longer paid for by advertising. As William who runs this site has found, or Bryan Palmer at OzPolitics, or Peter Brent at Mumble, you put a lot of effort into a site like this, and you don’t make any money.

  5. Antony and Snapper, what I meant was if the ABC is so ub-biased, how come such a proud and (worse) loud right-wing Amazon is alowed on the board?

    It’s not a good look look, especially when we hear that apart from the Board the rest of the ABC is apparently not biased, just too busy to work out the truth. Huh?

  6. Thanks Antony, I feel important that coming from you. 🙂

    Maybe in future most news will come directly from the organisations or sporting bodies or political parties web sites as it happens, and other web sites will be designed in a particular way to report and discuss that news ???

  7. Left wingers can think, right-wingers prefer not to. Or Left wingers ‘get there’ by thinking, right-wingers get their by unthinking indoctrination. Well maybe not that cut and dry, but fun to say.

    This interesting article in SCIAM.

    Remembering that Liberal in the USA is the left wing of politics.

    Scientific American Vol18 No6 December/January 08

    People who describe themselves as being politically liberal can better suppress a habitual response when faced with situations in which that response is incorrect, according to research that used a simple cognitive test to compare liberal and conservative thinkers.

    Tasks that requires such “conflict monitoring” also triggered more activity in the liberals anterior cingulate cortex, a brain region geared to detect and respond to conflicting information. Past research has shown that liberals and conservatives exhibit differing cognitive styles, with liberals being more tolerant of ambiguity and conservatives preferring more structure.

  8. Whilst I respect the marsupial one immensely, saying that the MSM is not biased is just plain wrong. Now obviously, not ALL media is biased, there are stand outs like Michelle Grattan and others than have been mentioned here, but there are certain elements that are, and its not just in the opinion columns. Witness the reports in the face of the 57/43 no-change Newspoll, or the coverage of Rudd and Japan. Surely you cant say this has been unbiaised. And Shanahan’s desparate spinning or Milne’s or Ackerman’s- UNBIASED? I dont think so.

  9. Kina

    You’ll be pleased to know that research also shows that conservative voters have more nightmares than liberals. In general, conservatives see the world in Manichean terms, ie good and evil. Liberals are more nuanced.

  10. Dio, all well and good, but plenty of left-wingers have a pretty “good and evil” world view (as exhibited at PB, though not by your good self of course).
    Then again, plenty of left-wingers are not particularly liberal in the traditional sense of the word “liberal”.

  11. I thought Bush and Howard, the dreams come true, would have silenced those nightmares, well maybe delayed them to now.

  12. Andrew – that’s mostly the Op-Eders that carry on with that nonsense. One of the problems with opinion pieces in the nations media is that they are replacing, in terms of quantity, ordinary news coverage.

    So more of what we see and hear is that sort of Op-Ed stuff compared to what we used to (mainly because it’s cheaper to produce than real news coverage), and that really is where a lot of the bias comes in.

    That growth in opinionated news coverage is an unfortunate thing that we’ll probably all have to get used to – simply because of the cost benefits of it as far as your average commercial media organisation is concerned.

    Although – editors these days seem to be running fairly opinionated headlines atop a story that usually says nothing like the headline suggested. That shits me to tears and is something that, for instance, the ABC should probably pay more attention to (even if the pay is rotten)

  13. I am wondering that if Obama wins the Presidency if he will repay Howard’s kind gesture by making a visit here sometime around the next election. I suspect he would be a powerful positive symbol for Labor and Rudd. And just deserts for Howard.

    Oh and see Obama’s response to McCain’s suggetion of a temporary halt in the federal gasoline tax.

    WAYNE, Pa. – Democrat Barack Obama told voters Saturday he would push an aggressive economic agenda as president: cutting taxes for the middle class, raising taxes on the wealthy, pouring money into “green energy” and requiring employers to set up retirement saving plans for their workers.

    Campaigning in Pennsylvania, a key battleground in the fall campaign, Obama said he would take a much more hands-on approach than would Republican John McCain. He again criticized McCain’s proposal for a temporary halt in the federal gasoline tax. It would “actually do real harm,” Obama said, by reducing revenue for road and bridge construction even as oil companies make record profits.;_ylt=AqWIlk2Vui54Fmpquh3eguRsnwcF

  14. I’m not really buying this laziness spin. Was it laziness which caused the media to ignore this Essential research poll until the same week they were fishing for some support for their ‘honeymoon is over’ agenda?

    The most insidious episode of ‘laziness’ this year was the beat up about Kevin Rudd’s dinner with Brian Burke. On reporting this story, the media seemed to be suffering a severe case of malaise when reporting on the part of the story that involved 10 Perth-based journalists turning up to this dinner. Once Andrew Landeryou published the full email transcripts which involved the previously censored assessments of the journalists made by Brian Burke, the media seemed to become too lazy to report on the whole story, except for Milne of course who is the energizer bunny of journalism it seems.

  15. 216 Dyno

    I think your terminology explains that contradiction. I should have used the terms “conservative” and “progressive” as those are the terms used in the studies, which all came from America. I agree they would be difficult to extrapolate to Australia. The Australian “hard” left barely exists in the US.

  16. ruawake @ 200-

    Why research a story if AAP says its true? Why not reproduce a press release verbatim? Surely the authors would have verified the “facts”?

    As editor of a medical information site I get to see lots of press releases, usually written by someone with a good grasp of the subject, either the author(s) of a study, the publisher or someone from the research institution. So you’d expect these releases to accurately report the findings of the study, wouldn’t you? Sadly, very few do. Most make at least one claim that isn’t supported by the data and some are so at odds with the facts that you wonder if you’ve been mistakenly sent a release from another work entirely.

    If that’s the case in science, I’d hate to think what passes for fact in news releases from the murky world of politics.

  17. I personally think that the sacking of Andrew Carroll sent a poor message to the other workers in the ABC making them withdraw into their conservative little shells from which few in the ABC in Brisbane have ever emerged. I think it is significant that Antonio explained a while ago here that ABC online news is based in Brisbane and this could be the basis of the problem that flows throughout the ABC as a National Organisation.

  18. I think the internet will be far less persuasive than newspapers/television in influencing people’s vote. People only read the papers, or watch the current affairs programs that agree with them.

    The internet is infinitely better at catering for that. It’s the ultimate medium for telling you what you already know, or would rather is true.

  19. 226 Fulvio only to say that internet caters to the self-absorbed. If you don’t like the analysis given to you by the MSM you can always find some other analysis, somewhere on the web. This way, it makes it far easier to never have to confront an unpalatable truth, so nobody ever need change their mind.

  20. Emerson (the soccer player) given the identification line on ABC (WA) news tonight: Socceroos Medfielder (sic); Twice in one sentence a reporter referred to ‘West Australia’. You’re right, ruawake, they’re damned lazy.

  21. If you’re referring to the same oral report I heard, Ozymandias, the reporter did not only say “West Australia” twice. Even worse, he actually transliterated it into the Hansonite “West Austraya”.

    netvegetable, I don’t necessarily accept your premise that “people only read the papers, or watch the current affairs programs that agree with them.” I think the complaints of bias made on this blog alone about various papers/programs go some way to supporting a contrary view. People confront views they disagree with, but have to absorb them in order to meaningfully do so.

    Papers/programs are watched if the subject interests the viewer and the viewer then accepts or disagrees with the contents. He/she did that anyway before the advent of the internet.

    I agree however that you can find anything/any view you want on the internet and it is entirely possible to confine your viewing to sites supporting your idealogy. But you could do that with print media and television programs also if you were so minded, albeit with greater difficulty in this country if you accept the anecdotal evidence provided by the majority of our fellow bloggers.

  22. And the ACNeilson Poll on Leaders.

    [BRENDAN Nelson is making snail’s pace progress in the latest Age/Nielsen poll, getting some benefit from the Government’s emerging problems but still facing a public highly doubtful about his leadership.

    Since the post-budget poll the voting figures have hardly changed.

    But Kevin Rudd’s disapproval has lifted five points to 27%, while Dr Nelson’s disapproval is down one point to 47%. The Opposition Leader’s approval is up four points to 38% and Mr Rudd’s approval is down two to 67%, still leaving the Prime Minister with a huge advantage.

    And while Dr Nelson is up three points as preferred PM and Mr Rudd down two, Mr Rudd’s lead of 68-20% means Dr Nelson’s improvement has made little impact on the overall picture.]

  23. Internet caters to the self-absorbed? Maybe for game players, youtubers and so on.

    That people complain about bias shows they are aware of alternative interpretations and contexts for what is being presented and, that they are irked enough to go on about has got to be a good thing.

    People who calmly accept whatever is printed for them or shown on tv as gospel are the ones needing to be made aware that there are alternative analysis. Better a complaining public than an ignorant one.

    The role media plays in politics is just as critical a subject as any other aspect of politics since the media is the only way people receive information of what is happening and, what it all means according to the presenters analysis.

    We ought to be over sensitive to media bias just as Oppositions are meant to be sensitive and keep the Govt honest and questioning them, so too the public should query and learn to question what comes out of media.

    This is especially true where you have a higher concentration of media ownership and, also after a long time of one government which had formed some symbiotic relationships with the media, that persist.

    To suggest people avoid the MSM because of not wanting to be confronted with unpalatable truths assumes the media is a purveyor of truth which, we have learned it is quite often not, only its versions of the truth. When MSM starts to push a version of ‘truth’ skewed to support one side on a regular basis then it devalues itself and is hardly worth paying too much attention to. To avoid it is not avoiding unpalatable truths, it is refusing to be taken for fools.

    It also assumes people who complain are ignorant which I do not find to be true at all. It is also the nature of the human condition that those of like concerns gather together.

    Also, just as the MSM is meant to question both sides of politics in the public domain so that we can understand the world, as well as keeping them ‘honest’ the public should be putting just as much pressure on media when they start to root for one side. There should be no bias in the MSM though it will always exist – it can be kept to a minimum maybe with an alert and complaining public – right or wrong.

    A silent, unquestioning and compliant public is only an invitation to MSM to form their only little pravadas and xinhuas.

    I reckon I religiously read every major Australian paper from all States every day for about 18 months up until January. It is not hard to pick up changes, campaigns, coordinated efforts when they occur and not hard to pick up systemic bias where it exists.

    And on the contrary the internet is the opposite – it will often tell you things you never had a clue about before.

  24. I don’t pretend to understand the machinations of setting world oil prices!
    Is there anything the Rudd government can do, other than blow a hole in the surplus by cutting petrol excise, as Nelson argues?

  25. Tough it out and get inflation under control is the best thing Rudd can do. Once inflation is back in the Reserve Bank’s target range then he can do what he likes.

  26. Doubt we can influence world prices, set by increasing demand from China & India.

    Can help by providing more/better public transport, improving roads so bottlenecks are removed. Congestion taxes to encourage move to public transport.

    Electric cars would be good: 68% efficiency compared to 30% for ICE. Trolley buses instead of diesel buses, more trams, electric trains etc only long term way.

  27. Oh Dear, the quicksand just got softer and deeper. Now the Member for Burnett is on about contempt of Parliament. No doubt a follow on from the suspension for 21 days of the Independent Member for Nicklin in the last sittings of the Queensland Parliament.

    [Mr Messenger says he was duty-bound to pass on the allegations and he will not be bullied.

    “Peter Beattie should be reminded of the fact that there’s such a thing called contempt of Parliament,” he said.

    “Now people who are found guilty of contempt of Parliament when they are deemed to improperly interfere with the free performance of a Member of Parliament, they can face a fine or a jail sentence.”]

  28. That is an old trick – asking the govt to rule out future taxes changes on something. Obviously something you can never do.

  29. Playing around with fuel price excise would be simply fiddling while Rome burned. Going to need to get the oldies out of retirement to drive more buses.

    Wonder if the media is going to put any focus on the full effect of cutting fuel excise?

    There is one benefit for the government in this – they can say they will delay a carbon tax on oil fuel since world prices are doing the job anyway.

  30. The Nielsen poll is crap- apart from the fact that a 56/44 if a wipeout, you would expect a large % of voters at a time of record petrol prices to say they’d like cheaper petrol- not rocket science. How about asking if its ok to take $2b out of services to pay for the 5 cent decrease.

    Rudd’s problem though is the opposition with support of the MSM are going to bang on endlessly about this issue (they’re on a winner and there isnt much else for them to target), and he’s going to have to do more at some stage.

  31. RX
    Brenda needs all the help he can get, he’s got no policies so has to cling to the negative msm headlines to keep from drowning.

  32. The GOOD thing for Labor is it means (1) Nelson stays and (2) The opposition dont do the soul-searching and make fundamental changes to make them an alternative government

  33. If the punters were presented with a poll like: Which would you perfer a 5c, 10c, or 15c reduction, which do you think they would go for?
    You are right Andrew – “you would expect a large % of voters at a time of record petrol prices to say they’d like cheaper petrol- not rocket science.”
    The government is offering a system which at best will reduce petrol by a small margin, under 5c. So anyone offering 5c will be favoured, but I bet it’s not what the punters really want. They’ll want 30c or more to be satisfied and how does anyone do that and remain financially responsible?

  34. #224 Steve

    I think you’re drawing a rather long bow to think that locating ABC Online in Brisbane has turned it into some conservative mouthpiece.

    Antony and Possum have made some very good contributions to this debate about the role of MSM vs internet.

    I do not think newspapers or magazines of radio stations etc will die out because of the internet, but they will definitely change, partly, as Possum says, in order to stay commercially viable. We will get media organisations where their websites and publications work in tandem.

    And as for Bushfire Bill’s comments about Janet Albrechtson – asking ABC staff to justify her board position – what a stupid thing. She’s there because the Coalition Government appointed her. John Bannon was on the board because a Labor Government appointed HIM. It would be nice to think that Labor will establish a non-political method of appointing the ABC Board, as it has promised, but nothing has happened yet. Don’t hold your breath.

    On a side issue, raised by Possum, that some ABC web headlines don’t accurately fit the stories, and may appear biased….

    That’s a fair point. Remember that the ABC, until recently, was a radio/TV organisation, and generally did not write headlines at all (except for one or two items as “teasers” for major TV or radio news bulletins). Headline-writing is new to the ABC, and an astonishing amount have to be written – the ABC produces for more stories (albeit in shorter form) every day than the MSM newspaper outlets, with international, national, state, specialist and regional stories all requiring headliens to be written quickly for the web. The ABC does need to improve its headline writing.

    Also, these days there’s little opportunity for MSM (including ABC) headline writers to be creative sub-editors. Web headlines tend to be boring, because they’re designed for search engines to find the story, rather than to attract a reader’s attention. Take it from me – the life of a sub-editor is more tedious and less creative than it used to be.

    I would like to see a few Poll Bludgers write four-word accurate and non-biased headliens on their comments, and see how they go!

  35. steve at 205, the stark political reality is the Rudd is MILES ahead of the polls, so there is no need to do anything about petrol right now. As the next election draws closer, if the polls tighten and oil prices dont settle, I think they would do something like cut the GST on excise.

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