Rockin’ all over the world

Hypothesis one, from Peter Brent at Mumble: “Canada’s one-term government going for re-election (after only 18 months), amidst world economic turmoil, should provide some clue as to how Rudd & co might fare at the next election.”

Hypothesis two, from Adam in Canberra at this place: “It’s curious that the financial crisis seems to be working in favour of the incumbents in NZ (on the basis of one Morgan poll) and (I think so far) Australia, but against the incumbents in the US and Canada. That would suggest that conservatives are being blamed, not incumbents.”

Let’s do a very quick whiz round to see how things seem to be travelling in various comparable democracies.

United States: Barack Obama opens up 11-point lead over John McCain. “BARACK Obama has opened up an 11-point lead over John McCain in the latest Gallup Poll – his biggest margin of the campaign.”

Germany: Merkel party slumps in poll as financial crisis hits Germany. “The CDU and her sister party, the Christian Social Democrats (CSU), fell four points to 33 percent which is the lowest level since early 2007, according to a survey released jointly by the Hamburg-based Stern news magazine and the commercial RTL broadcasting network.”

New Zealand: New Zealand Election Tightens. “In early October 2008 the New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows National Party support at 40.5% (down 7%), a tight lead over the Labour Party 37.5% (up 1%). If the Election were this weekend there would be a hung Parliament in New Zealand with either major party capable of forming a governing coalition.”

United Kingdom: Labour halves Tory lead in opinion poll: “The opposition was ahead of the ruling party by a record 20-points last week. Today, a YouGov poll, commissioned by The Sun, showed the Labour party stood at 31 points – a 10 point gain on the previous gap.”

Canada: Harper keeps sinking in polls. “With Stephen Harper and his Conservatives losing popularity throughout most of the country, the poll-takers yesterday offered the party a gloomy diagnosis: They see few signs of improvement before voting day on Tuesday.”

Though admittedly …

Italy: Berlusconi honeymoon with the Italians. “They call it ‘honeymoon’. This is no romantic movie, though, it’s the nickname that Italian newspapers gave to a new political phenomenon: Berlusconi’s personal degree of favor among the Italians, his popularity has now reached 60%.”.

Italy always was different, I guess. I’m calling it a win for hypothesis two.

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.

233 comments on “Rockin’ all over the world”

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  1. SL @ 11,

    It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that the Nationals will be able to form a majority government in NZ…

    Agreed and out of all of those countries because NZ’s election is so close in proximity time wise but AFTER the US election, I think you will find if the election would otherwise be close there that Kiwis will be elated at the outcome of Obama winning in the US and that will get them out to the polls to return Helen Clark.

  2. [
    Posted Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 8:22 pm | Permalink
    Ill eat my hat if the Tories lose in Canada. I’d also eat my hat if we lost in New Zealand!

    Lets take up a collection to make sure Glen has two hats 😉

  3. I notice that the UK isn’t due for elections till some point in 2009. I don’t think early elections have been called (?). What is the NLT date for those elections if anyone knows? Cheers 🙂

  4. [Ideology meant they initialy refused to consider what will now be the final form of the bailout. THis wasted a lot of time.]

    Ideology over evidence-based reality in the Bush administration? Absurd! Except maybe weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, failed administration of Iraq, global warming denial, persecution of its own federal prosecutors, reduced regulation of financial markets, Guantanamo Bay prisoners, torture of prisoners…

  5. Oh, I know it really doesn’t matter, but I wonder how supposedly respectable journalists can write sentences like this:

    [It has been noted that Epstein was caught on camera dozing during Rudd’s recent trip to New York. This is less a comment on Epstein and more a reflection of the extraordinary schedule Rudd operates on, and what this imposes on those around him.]

    … and simultaneously still prattle on about “The Prme Tourist” and “Kevin 747” (of course, if anything, it should be “Kevin 737″, but I quibble).

    Secondly, is this the new media meme?

    […the above source claims Jordan is willing to hold his ground in an argument with Rudd; that he doesn’t shy away from taking a position. This quality is one of the most important in a top political adviser and, with Rudd entering a very difficult period in the two years before the election.]

    So Rudd has just finished a very difficult period in the first year after an election, what with “test” after “test” – the Senate “test”, the pensions “test”, the by-election “test”, the Budget “test” and so on – where plans could either work or not work (or somewhere in-between). No sooner has he finished this punishing year of “tests” than he is entering the “very difficult period in the two years before the election”! So, I guess it’s more tests that La Stupenda can write about. Seems just being in office is a plethora of “tests” and “dangerous periods”.

    Well, we knew that didn’t we?

    And why in the hell does Barrie Cassidy even attempt to ask the Treasurer of Australia to say that our economy is going to tank no matter what he, or we do? So much time wasted on gotchas by these turkies. Maybe one day a pollie will come on TV drunk, or otherwise under the influence and blab out far more than he should have said, but until then can we have some questions that elicit actual, y’know, information?

  6. Yes Bushfire Bill… politicians are well known to answer questions in an informative way aren’t they? Swan definitely wouldn’t ignore the question and rattle off some inane talking points would he?

  7. Itep, I take your point partially, but to ask a stupid question like Cassidy’s surely has to be the ultimate in futility? I mean, why bother? Does he think Swan is going to say, “Yes, Barrie, glad you asked. We’re f%*#ed”?

  8. BB
    Yes I commented on Rudd’s schedule and the nonsense of the coalitions tourist line previously. Rudd was just doing his job. Who do they think he is, Downer or Howard? The travel schedule would be different if it was constant trips to England around the time of Wimbeldon and the first test at Lords, which one recent encumbent seemed to make a habit of.

    Your other comments are why I don’t bother with the Insiders, although I did here a bit on the radio of Annabel Crab (SMH) on the show, whihc was actually reasonable. Its all about balance. If they don’t stack the show with three commentators who know they don’t like Labor, then it wouldn’t be a problem.

  9. Regarding reporting of the financial crisis, I can’t help thinking a lot of the panic is self-referential emotion from some of the reporters. Many finance news reporters (eg all those crosses to ComSec) work in the industry so have an obvious personal stake.

    Likewise TV presenters aren’t lowly paid these days, so they probably have a bit of money invested themselves. When they ask “what happens to the ASX if…” in a shrill voice, they really mean “Wayne I had $300K in Babcock and Brown, will you guarantee MY MONEY!!??” And of course, there are the right wing sycophants…

  10. Socrates @61:

    [ I can’t help thinking a lot of the panic is self-referential emotion from some of the reporters. ]

    Yes, definitely that, but there’s also the herd mentality at play.

    Having talked up stocks and shares for a long time, back a few years, with all the “boom economy” blather, and pooh-poohed Rudd for saying we need to plan for the end of the boom (“What ‘end’? He’s just talking the economy down!”), they’re shouldering each other out of the way now to cast a pall of bleakness over everything and everyone.

    Every single day last week we got, “This is the greatest meltdown of the All Ordinaries since…(insert appropriate date here)”. On Thursday ABC TV news came up with the astounding observation that “Ironically, it’s exactly one year since the previous lowest ever whateveritwas…”. Yes, yes, and on Friday, 24 hours later, it was (not ironically at all) exactly one year and one day since the previous worst performance of whateveritwas. They’re almost jostling each other out of the way to get in front of a camera and tell us “We’re f%*#ed”. No-one wants to be left behind this time, and there’s always the chance Rudd or Swan might fail yet another “test”, or utter a gaffe.

    So they ask stupid and unanswerable questions (unanswerable by a minister with real responsilibity, that is, unlike the Rainmaker Turnbull, who has an answer for everything, even if mutually contradictory ones) and hope for a slip-up. War, sex, and economic misery sell.

    We see thousands tearing up their betting slips (the ASX is a casino, isn’t it?) and selling off for whatever they can get. The smarties are waiting for what I heard Stephen Mayne the other call call, “the moment of despair” or the capitulation of small and/or small-minded investors. Then they move in, bargain hunting. Turnbull is one of them, at least on the political stock exchange. Anything for a buck. He was Packer’s friend as a lawyer, and then, as a lawyer, ratted on him in a dingy carpark telling the same TV audience that once cheered Packer on as a potential Prime Minister, “He started it.” They cheered just as loudly the second time around.

    Rainmaker used to be a banker, a merchant banker, so the spin is that he is supremely qualified to handle this crisis (that’s if he had any power or authority, which he doesn’t), a man “for this moment in history”. Fox, meet Chickens. All Turnbull has really done is get out while the going was good and, now that he has, he’s ratting on yet another set of mates, his erstwhile colleagues at the Big End Of Town.

    The man has a history of backing whatever seems to be the going thing at the time, and bagging his previous pals. The (laughingly called) “panel” on Insiders/i> this morning calmly discussed his rainmaking activites and shenanigans as if it was perfectly OK for him to brainstorm out loud, producing thought bubbles (for all we know benefiting from leaks inside Treasury), prospering politically off the very serious issues that the real government has to deal with in the real world. What planet are these jerks living on? They can, on the one hand, succinctly discuss the obvious problem with declaring a virtually unlimited guarantee on depositors’ funds (there might be a crisis of confidence in our banks as a result), they can note that Howard refused to countenance this himself, and then can gleefully discuss how Swan might be embarrassed if this is one of his ideas for today’s Cabinet meeting, and how this would make Rainmaker look good by second-guessing the government. They gave little discussion time to the fact that if you back every horse in the race, as Turnbull does, one of the pieces of paper in your hand will likely be the winning ticket.

    So we have a perfect confluence of journalism, seeking to rehabilitate its shoddy reputation in the “prediction” stakes by predicting – wow! – that things might get worse economically for the country, and worse politically for the government in this most dangerous period of the two years leading up to the next election. This, all the while giving, nay encouraging Rainmaker to continue scamming the populace (and filling their columns) with fearless predictions that it’ll be either a drought or a flood in the coming future or (as La Stupenda would put it) … “something in between”.

    I don’t know what Barrie Cassidy has on that whiteboard of his, but, “You look and sound effing stupid with your inane questions,” should be both header and footer on every page. For that matter, stick it on the teleprompter as well. Then we might get some ration, relevant discussion, instead of the blather that Cassidy seems to think substitutes for political analysis, circa 2008.

    cc. The Rest Of The Commentariat.

  11. Cue The Rainmkaker…

    From The Age just now:

    [The decision to expand the Financial Claims Scheme — legislation is already in the pipeline to guarantee bank deposits of up to $20,000 — follows calls by the Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, that the Government cover all deposits of up to $100,000.

    A spokesman for Mr Rudd confirmed the meeting in Canberra had discussed “broadening” the scheme, as well as the implications of the crisis on employment and growth.]

    Expect, whatever the changes are,

    [“These changes would not have happened, or not as much, but for my constant advocacy on the side of the Battlers Of Australia.”]

    Ball’s in your court, Malcolm.

  12. I get the impression that Talcum hasn’t got a clue and just listens to suggestions coming out of UK Europe & USA and then repeats them pretending that they were his ideas.
    For example, govt should buy up shares in stock market and the $100 000 bank savings guarantee.

  13. He says so much shit that he’s bound to hit on one half decent idea that the rest of the world has already done and Rudd was likely to do anyway.

    But this way he gets to say “Oh yeah I think I blurted out that idea at a press conference once, I win!”.

  14. juliem @ 53

    I notice that the UK isn’t due for elections till some point in 2009. I don’t think early elections have been called (?). What is the NLT date for those elections if anyone knows? Cheers

    Wikipedia says 3 June 2010.

    However, in the post-WW2 era it’s been more common for the government to go after about four years (1955, 1959, 1970, 1974, 1983, 1987, 2001, 2005): waiting the full five is usually taken to indicate a government in trouble (1964, 1992, 1997).

  15. juliem @ 51 –

    Lets take up a collection to make sure Glen has two hats

    And a very large packet of laxatives!

    He’s still digesting the one he had to eat back in November, is still working his way through the one he began after the Democrat Party convention and, if memory serves, there’s another one on the menu for November 5th (our time).

    Hmmm… Better make that a case of laxatives and a six pack of paraffin oil 😉

  16. Thanks for the update on Italy, William. As someone of Italian heritage it’s always something of an embarrassment to read about the farcical state of Italian politics, but it seems Berlusconi is finally making headway.

  17. No 69

    I’d also add that whilst I’m not generally pleased about Berlusconi, the reality is that he’s provided some political stability.

  18. The ratio of criminals in the Italian PM’s office is 1 to 1. It’s sad that Italians have such an extraordinarily high level of tolerance for corruption and that Italy has been the worst governed country in western Europe ever since unification. I tend to agree with the view of many northern Italians that the Risorgimento was a bad idea and that Neapolitans and Sicilians are not really Europeans at all.

  19. Wow complete opposite for me.

    Two long distance trains in Britain – on time.

    London Tube – on time.

    Every single German train or tram – on time.

    About 4 Italian trains including a sleep – none on time.


  20. No 74

    Yes, it is sad. Italy is very badly governed. But it’s a case of whose least incompetent and Berlusconi proved that he wasn’t as incompetent as Prodi. Farcical, I know.

    Italy really needs a dose of liberalisation of the economy. It needs to put a halt to its overly generous pensions – heck, I know people in Italy who can access government pensions in their late 40s! And we’re not talking piddling sums of $550 a fortnight! Unions need to be reigned in – they have too much economy-strangling power. Whole of government reforms: trimming of fat cat bureaucracy, balancing the budget, more transparency.

    Part of the reasons behind the lethargic pace of reform, leaving aside the influence of corruption, is also to do with the egregious parliamentary system where ridiculous coalitions have to be conjured in order to get reforms passed. But that’s another story.

  21. No 76

    When you’re dealing with elementary issues like burying mounds of garbage, the on-time running of trains is somewhat secondary! 😀

    Only in Italy. That’s all there is to be said. 😀

  22. Well Rudd has guaranteed ALL bank deposits for 3 years. Stupid and unneccesary in my view, but hey its a G20 kind of thing.

    How much of the credit will Turnbull claim for this?

  23. Rudd, I’ll see your $100,000, Malcolm, and raise you to whatever number you like. How do you like them apples, eh? See what you can do when you’re really the government.

  24. Adam of Canberra says –

    “I tend to agree with the view of many northern Italians that the Risorgimento was a bad idea and that Neapolitans and Sicilians are not really Europeans at all.”

    Adam. Let me just say their is just as much corruption in Milan as there is in Sicily & if the southern Italians are not Europeans then what are thay?

    How corrupt is Roman politics? – ask Ceasar!!!

  25. ABC TV reporting of Rudd’s bank guarantee. “If a bank goes under, the taxpayer will be left with the bill.”

    Jesus wept. 🙁

  26. Though I dislike the idea of “privatising profits and socialising losses” I can still understand that short of nationalising a bank, the other alternative is to sit there and watch the banks go under and take all our savings with them.

  27. Re 58,

    Lets wait and see if Obama and Helen Clark both get home. Obama is going to but Clark is the weak link in that hypothesis though.

  28. Ruawake ru there?
    “Turnbull want the Govt. to guarantee bank deposits up to $100,000 instead of the proposed $20,000. What dumb politics.

    How can this be seen as anything but pandering to rich folks? Or is he struggling to be relevant?

    Costello explained “moral hazard” in prudential regulation on Q&A I assume Turnbull missed it.

    Banks to Punters “Hey guys – here it is, earn over the odds interest rates on our special up to $100,000 term deposit” don’t worry its Govt gauranteed. If you get sucked in we either make a squillion or the Govt bails us out. No risk all profit.

    Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  29. Surely you cracked up when he was wearing stockings/doing karaoke/some of the other wacky stuff he’s done.

    Ah, Alexander. The people in Cyprus are so lucky to have a character such as you.

  30. chrisl, you may have missed it, however, the government has announced it will guarantee all domestic deposits, all money borrowed overseas by Oz banks. The kicker being the banks have to pay the insurance premiums!

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