Newspoll minus three days

Some tidbits to tide you over through the middle of an agonising week-long federal poll drought.

• Chris Back, who narrowly failed to unseat independent Alfred Cove MP Janet Woollard at the September 6 state election, has been nicely compensated with the Western Australian Senate vacancy created by the retirement of Chris Ellison. It was initially expected that the position would go to Deidre Willmott, who stood aside as candidate for Cottesloe so Colin Barnett could cancel his retirement plans and lead his previously demoralised party to victory. However, Willmott withdrew from the race a few weeks ago when it became apparent she wouldn’t win, thereby continuing the state party’s sorry recent record on female representation. The West Australian reports that Back won the preselection vote “on preferences from party treasurer Dean Smith and the pre-contest favourite, senior vice-president Anthony Jarvis”. It also informs us that Back was “the veterinarian who controversially did not swab champion racehorse Rocket Racer after he won the 1987 Perth Cup by 10 lengths”. Back has more recently been “group managing executive of oil and gas company Equinox Energy”, but it’s “his role in the Rocket Racer affair which attracts the most attention”. Curious then that the paper didn’t say a single word about it prior to the state election.

• In case you missed it, George Megalogenis’s analysis of the grey vote in The Australian last week was essential reading like only Megalogenis number crunching can be.

• Courtesy of Possum comes a detailed breakdown of figures from Monday’s federal ACNielsen poll. Possum also weighs in on under-publicised Nielsen online polling.

• The recent Newspoll on issue perceptions inspired me to knock together the following chart based on its surveys going back to 1989. The chart averages the results for each year, in which time Newspoll usually publishes about three such surveys. Some issues are featured more frequently than others: immigration for instance is usually included once a year, so the spike to Labor in 2005 might not be all that meaningful. Note that “economy” wasn’t featured as a distinct category between 1991 and 2004.

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.

223 comments on “Newspoll minus three days”

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  1. dyno @ 140

    Well done and fairly thought out IMO.

    Agree Turnbull, Hockey and Swan. Disagree, Gillard. Understand your points but much of her responsibilities are still a “work in progress”.

    I can’t for the life of me understand the low ratings people are giving Swan. He has taken over a portfolio in an area that was suffering the effects of an overheating economy that has rapidly been transformed by events totally outside our control and has still been able to allocate the cash to implement Labor’s election promises.

  2. scorpio to be fair i think the allocation of cash to election promises has as much to do with tanner as he manages the finances i like him a lot more now though but i still find myself listening to rudd more in regards to economists

  3. Some to almost all the shift between 1999 and 2002 in Melbourne (and Richmond, Coburg/Brunswick (redistribution) and Northcote) was Liberal voters shifting to Labor (the standard swing voters) but being masked by the large Green vote rise.

  4. bob1234 #70

    “Not that I support verbally bashing the disabled, quite the opposite, but shouldn’t we be preserving the right to say what we want as long as we are not breaking any laws?”
    ‘I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’

    bob1234 #104

    “Moral responsibility or legal responsibility?
    And again, I don’t agree with holocaust denial. Just pointing out the contradiction with the Mohommed cartoons.”

    You said “you stand by your (abov) comments”

    I was lite in reply to your #70 tinking what you reely meant but restricted to very broad principal However your #104 examples make clear what you reely mean…although don’t quiet say

    Your examples turned upside down all contain a “not” , but that’s triple negating reely because without th “nots” you ar actualy saying…. I suport th right of people to verbally bashing the disabled…… I suport th right of people to deny th holocaust….indeed I suport th right of people’s free speech to say anything at all beit about children or sleeziness whatevers , as long as its not illegal

    You’ve mistaken assumed free speech is an “unfettered legal right” subject to Law , but th Law does actualy recognise Society’s standards of decency and will punish those exercising free speech blatantly breaking those more obvious broad community standards , so free speech even at law is not even unfetered as you imply…….at Law recognition is free speech carrys responsibility to act not indecent , and with that your srgument crumbles

    What you ar left then with solely is what is not illegal to say Obviousley Law can not codify all aspects of indecent human behaviour so society relys on self regolation ….unfortunateley it has to also relies on basic standards commonsense

    Therefores to requote you “verbally bashing the disabled” is not illegal at all , but is is illegal by community standards of this Society…….and those that defend that “unfettered right” ar as much part of th problem (as th “disability basher”) and ar no part of th solution of standards & tolerance education for those that follow

    Which is why I mentioned vilification questioning if Sarah Palin had been pregnant or had had a child……th standard is her political policys not her bedroom according to most Societys levels of decency standarrds Free speech rights ar abused by those that treat that right without responsobility , but that does not make that right without that decency responsibility as you imply , but you ar actually demonstating my point reely…….as did crikey , and many before & no doubt in futures

  5. dyno,

    [maybe Malcolm doesn’t need to be quite as combative all the time at this stage.]

    [When Kev + Wayne start changing their tune the Libs could be left trying to defend last year’s orthodoxy.]

    Two points here. Malcolm is making the same mistake as Nelson to some degree.
    1. Turnbull is repeating Nelson’s combative, aggressive stance both in the house and in outside interviews. It doesn’t go down well with the general public and makes them seem weak and not in control of their strategy in opposition.

    2. Malcolm is making Nelson’s mistake of nailing his feet to the ground on somewhat trivial issues hoping to get some traction. In the meantime the effort they are expending is totally wasted because the Government just keeps moving on, staying three or four steps ahead of the opposition.

    While you are anchored to one spot your opponents can get one hell of a lead over you and just keep on opening up a wider and wider gap that you can never hope to narrow while you just tread water.

    I noticed these things and a number of others some considerable time ago but have been reluctant to express them because I am enjoying the status quo immensely.

    One that has been mentioned previously by others is the Libs reluctance to distance themselves from failed or somewhat discredited Howard policies. The electorate rejected them and the current opposition should have too.

  6. I would like to know if PBers are male or female?

    Just for the record, I am male. Hang on I’ll check just to make sure. Yep, sweet!

  7. Tom the first & best! I just don’t buy that for the ALP scored a thumping win therefore what is the evidence to support the theory that Liberal voters went to the ALP while ALP voters went to the Greens all in equal numbers.

  8. [Given that we are fairly certain that Bolt is a man, doesn’t that show that the Genderanalyser is bunk?]

    No. It tells us that crap is gender neutral.

    NOTE: Musrum, to do quote tags, just put [ and ] around the quote, and make what follows a new paragraph – The Management.

  9. I think to claim that the ALP won no net votes off the Libs in Melbourne is ludicrous.

    The swing to the Greens was larger than the 2002 Liberal primary vote by over 3% (partly due to the Greens not running in 1999) ( and

    I am not claiming that no voters went from the Libs to the Greens but that there was also a combination of Lib to Labor and Labor to Green which explained part to most of the 9% drop in the Liberal vote.

  10. IMHO, Tanner is in the right portfolio. Finance Minister requires someone hard nosed. It can be a much harder gig than Treasurer.

    It’s been a long time since we had a good FM. Minchin had the potential, however, he was as much in Howard’s thrall as the rest of them.

    The ABC promos for the second episode of the Howardistafest tomorrow night show that Howard’s ministers weren’t necessarily driven by doing what was best for the country but what would earn them praise from the boss. For a pat on the head and a tummy tickle they were prepared to do just about anything. And they still would.

  11. Yippee two polls in one day

    1) Guess who William Bowes votes for

    2) The gender of the posters

    I will guess William votes for the ALP & I’m a chick!

  12. “Ann Coulter is 71 per cent man. Michelle Malkin on the other hand is 89 per cent woman. My own favourite blogger, Harry Hutton, has set a new record of 95 per cent man.”

    No , Ann Coulter is 100% woman as ar all women , method of expression or depth of ideas ar not criteria , although Ann mayt not measure highly on warmth richter scale Put a baby in arms of a female and a male and th differnce is there…..whereas lipstick can be a hint , but not always And obviousley my 98.74% score has been discriminated against

  13. Well, I tried to explain this a few months ago, but youse all ignored me. I guess arguing for seven hundred posts on the color of Bob’s Brown’s belly-button fluff as seen from the perspective of the DLP 18-34 demographic versus the paper-marking practices of ALP scrutineers in the seat of Corio was more important. Hey, it’s a pseph site. What am I complaining for? For the record the answers are: “Blue”, “Non-existent” and “Grubby”.

    Anyway, what I tried to explain was how, when the rage for beer with the color, flavour and just about everything else brewed out of it – except the alcohol – took off overseas a decade ago, and when the sales of what came to be called “alcopops” overseas soared due to the fact that it was really colorless, tasteless beer and that beer was taxed at a lower rate, on account of it being the working man’s drink, some smart guys in Aussie brewing thought they should give it a go.

    “Let’s brew the bejesus out of beer and then add raspberry flavouring with a couple of tablespoons of sugar to sweeten things up a bit!” they said.

    “[Groan]” said their colleagues. “We’re making enough out of real beer not to have to worry about kid’s beer,” they intoned. “It’ll be expensive. It’ll be complicated. We’ll have to buy new vats and learn new skills. And all for what? A few schoolies getting pissed on the cheap?”

    Then some smartie in the corner (he’d hardly said a word all night) asked why did they have to brew beer? If beer-based alcopops looked and tasted the same as pure alcohol with flavouring, why not just buy up a shipload of alcohol and turn it into alcopops before it gets to be metho?

    “Nah,” his mates said. “We’d have to pay too much tax,” they said. “You only get the discount on beer. By the way who the bloody hell are you?”

    “Why,” he said, “I’ve never been near a brewery in my life. I drink chardonnay. I have teenage daughters who I’d hate to think of as drunk as sows up the Gold Coast when they finish their HSCs. So I’m not really qualified to offer any advice at all. Except…” he hesitated.

    “Yeah? ‘Except’ what?” the beer boys sneered.

    “Except… I’m in PR for this company, and I know a lot of people who might be able to change the tax laws so that whether we brew colorless, tasteless beer in a really expensive process, or whether we just buy grain alcohol and add Coke or raspberry to it, they don’t care a fig. Why go to all the trouble when all you have to do is make a party donation around GST time and the problem disappears?”

    “Hmmmm… ,” his boozy pals said to themselves. “Why not give it a shot?”

    And the rest is history.

    Alas, the tax wallahs have finally caught up with them and they’ve put the kybosh on just adding cordial to raw alcohol and calling it a “designer drink.” Now you have to actually brew the sfuff, properly.

    Enter “malternatvies”. Get it? Brewed as beer and then turned white by a clever process of chemical bleaching, filtering and God knows what else. It ends up as the same ethanol (CH4COOH… I think) as grain alcohol, but because they brewed it, it doesn’t cop the tax slug.

    I don’t know whether the Sunday newspapers are naive, blinkered or just plain deliberately forgetful about the genesis of the “alcopops” tax rort, closed by KRudd after being opened by Howard in 2000 when the GST was introduced, but the whole thing behind the “oversight” by the Libs was that their cobbers in the brewing industry were too lazy to follow overseas practice and actually go through the motions of brewing the life out of beer to produces Lemon Zingers (or whatever they’re called). So they just bribed the Howard government for a tax lurk.

    And they got it. Every last cent.

    That’s the simple story, and now the papers are going on as if “malternatives” are some kind of big, new idea. They’re not. They’re what everybody else has been doing in other countries, but what our local brewers didn’t have to. Because the Libs gave the lazy bastards a free kick in the form of an “overlooked” tax loophole.

    Read it and weep:

    I wouldn’t pi$$ in their throats if they were dying of thirst.

    (And don’t ask me how I know all this. I just know).

  14. [ “I expect Abbott to be the next one to have a go at the leadership”

    hahahahahahahhaha ]

    Don’t laugh too soon, it has been my tip for months. The Libs will realise they need a “real” politician to lead them sooner or later. I agree with Adam, Abbott will be the next messiah. 🙁

  15. “lame duck president”….and a lame duck president to be
    Its th worst of all Worlds

    Detroit auto need resolution , Obama legally can not decide and Bush if he knew what to decide may not want to anyway

  16. Detroit auto needs to go bankrupt period…any money thrown at that dead industry is a waste of money…

    I would eat my best hat if Tony Abbott became our leader…
    Turnbull maybe as a Beazley until Greg Hunt wins it for us in 2013/16…

  17. Greg Hunt has already dug his own grave, he will be seen as destabilising Nelson on one hand and a raving loony enviromentalist on the other.

    He has no hope as long as he stays in an environment related portfolio. How does he get an economic portfolio? – Sorry trick question, he doesn’t. 😛

  18. Ruawake that is how he is seen by the looney left and yourself…who cares???

    Rudd didnt have an economic porfolio before being leader…neither did Nelson…surely the next Labor leader wont come from an economic portfolio…so your argument is spurious…

    Hunt is a rising star…and Labor have nothing equal to him on their benches…

  19. “Detroit auto needs to go bankrupt period…any money thrown at that dead industry is a waste of money…”

    What happened to all the theories of business innovation, high paid can do people, well trained business people prepared to take a situation and improve it? Has the whole right wing world fallen into a deep hole and given up? Is do nothing the new standard for business? Why not sell the companies to the Chinese for next to nothing and see if they can do better. The shares are so cheap at the moment they could hardly go wrong.

  20. Hunt is a personable young man of moderate views and considerable intelligence. That should be enough to doom him to a limited future in today’s Liberal Party. Does anyone remember Peter Baume, Chris Puplick or Judi Moylan? No. That’s what happens to Liberal moderates. Sorry Glen.

  21. Glen

    I was referring to the Liberal Party loony right, Greg Hunt stopped Nelson from weakening the Liberal Party stance on climate change and an ETS – that is why he is seen as a loony lefty – by the Liberal Party. 😛

  22. [Detroit auto needs to go bankrupt period…any money thrown at that dead industry is a waste of money…]

    Agree with Glen there. It’s reprehensible that the Government is throwing money at an industry that is already on its last legs. All the bailout will do is prop up the Big 3 for another couple of years, before they inevitably go bankrupt as a result of producing a whole lot of cars that nobody wants.

    What’s even worse is that the Australian govt is effectively handing these US car makers free money to save themselves in the US, while propping up an incredibly inefficient industry here in Australia. I thought Labor governments were in favour of free trade and tariff reduction – propping up the Australian auto industry is a heresy that Keating would never have let happen…

  23. [Is that what we’re doing now? WWKD – What Would Keating Do.]

    Ok – I admit, that’s a stupid comment from me.

    However, I still stand by the fact that propping up the Australian auto industry with billions of dollars worth of subsidies makes no economic sense for the country. It:

    1. Gives Australian taxpayer money to companies that are going to go bankrupt anyway;
    2. Encourages Australian workers to enter the auto manufacturing industry, even though it is ultimately doomed; and
    3. Allocates taxpayer money away from infant industries that may actually have a future in Australia, such as biomedical manufacturing or green energy development. These industries are instances where Australia may have a competitive advantage over other countries, rather than auto manufacturing, where we will always be undercut in terms of price from Asia and always be beaten for quality by Japan and Germany…

  24. [However, I still stand by the fact that propping up the Australian auto industry with billions of dollars worth of subsidies makes no economic sense for the country.]

    Yes, I agree.

    If the government had ba-, fortitude, it would nationalise the factories and keep the workers employed making green cars.

  25. I’ve got to agree with some of the bludgers on this one. Throwing capital at struggling publicly owned companies is a waste of taxpayers dollars. At the very least, the government should share in the same proportion of its contribution as to future profits – surely!

  26. US Treasury has some very serious problems. It has to work out which companies are “too big to fall”.

    GM has started Chapter 11 discussions although they claim only because of “due diligence”. It’s share price has dropped 93% in the last year. It’s pinning it’s hopes on staying alive until it’s plug-in hybrid car is out. Should we bail out a company that was bought off to pulp it’s electric car and now is dying because of bad decisions ❓

    Citigroup is even closer to going under. It is also “too big to fall”.

    But where do you draw the line. And how many industries can you socialise? And how can you keep rewarding CEO’s who have killed their companies?

  27. [At the very least, the government should share in the same proportion of its contribution as to future profits – surely!]

    There’s no real point doing this with the Australian auto industry – its condition is terminal. The only reason it still exists is because every govt has thrown money at it to keep it alive, so as to keep the marginal seats in the Geelong area and Adelaide on their side of the ledger.

    [If the government had ba-, fortitude, it would nationalise the factories and keep the workers employed making green cars.]

    That’s even worse! The govt should be in the business of running the country – not building cars. If there is enough demand for green cars, then car-makers will build them. Yes – there may be an argument for subsidising green cars. But it should not happen in Australia, where the auto industry is dead without subsidies. The green subsidies should be happening in the US (perhaps), Japan and other (profitable) areas of car manufacturing. Throwing money at auto manufacturing (green or not) is a sure loser for any Australian government…

  28. re 188. And that should apply to all business including farming. If a business requires taxpayers funding then that business should be partly owned, according to its contribution, by the government.

    What is this? Government funding to public companies would have to be the worst form of dole bludging social security handout, to business bosses, on the face of the planet.

  29. [If there is enough demand for green cars, then car-makers will build them.]

    Ahh, applying the laws of private markets to the environment. That’s worked out splendidly in the past, hasn’t it?

    Jokes aside, car-makers already are building them. Except for idiots like GM and Ford. Please throw out this idea that private companies are the cleverest things in the world, always ahead of the curve and always onto what’s going to sell. The simple fact that GM is in its death throes proves otherwise.

    The only thing that the terminal state of the Australian car industry has shown is that’s a stupid idea to build cars no one wants purely so you can “Hey, we have a car industry!”.

  30. Diogenes, socialise the lot, put failed CEO’s on the dole and employ people with brains. There are plenty out there if given the opportunity.

    Swing Lowe, stuff the marginal seats then. Let them fold if that’s the case.

  31. [Government funding to public companies would have to be the worst form of dole bludging social security handout, to business bosses, on the face of the planet.]

    Ahh, the world’s full of irony!

    Government dishing out taxpayer dollars left, right and centre is perfectly feasible. But the Government expected a stake in what it invests in or a return is communism.

  32. Glen says let them Auto companys go broke , but he is joined here in agreement by others , and on a left site

    Yous hav all become conomic rationalists , but with a tinge of no faith in private Sector either I can only assume th economic rationalists hav worked out th costs to Revenue , yes revenue in this let them go brolke scenario , lt alone outlay , let alone social costs

    Yous hav forgotton that Labor principals does not go that way Having abandoned capitalism and Friedman , yous hav also forgotton that Keynes has always been th answer and Europeans understand that , may also forgotton that makers of what public want ar not Ford/GM make , may also hav forgoten petrol is not a clever 21st Century source anyway , and most of all hav assumed diferent management and with some Big Govt guides without Detroit feather boating would not produce better outcomes

    Only burial is unfettered capitalism , not all systems and approaches

  33. Ron

    The problem is that everything is grey. Pure Friedman, Marx, Keynes etc won’t work. And humans are terrible at drawing lines when things are fuzzy and grey. How far do you go?

    Adelaide has been bailing out Mitsubishi for thirty years now and it’s still on it’s knees. You can get to the stage where you are throwing good money after bad.

  34. An interesting discussion on the auto industry tonight. Oh well, something else to do now that AI is over. Wish Wes would get lost.

    back to the auto industry though. I’ve got perhaps a unique perspective on this as I grew up in Michigan and my father worked his whole life in the auto industry (been retired for about 13 years now). Perhaps some might not remember but Carter bailed out Chrysler in 1978 or 1979. I don’t know if they will do it this time or not. The foreign automakers are much more competitive and can get things done. Unless the Big 3 (as they are known in the states – GM, Ford, Chrysler (in a partnership with Daimler, the German company) can get their whole business structure in line with the profitable companies, any money will go right down the drain. I haven’t studied the background of these companies so I don’t know where the problems are, where they can cut costs and reorganize things. If the problem costs are in the money going to entitlements to retirees like my father (health care, pensions, etc.), there is simply no way that they can take that away as it is a contractual obligation and short of filing bankruptcy, there isnt any other way that they can get out of it that I know of.

    If Congress gives them money, it will not fix the problems as they are underlying and of many years duration, they won’t go away overnight. Sad as it might be for the US and for my home state of Michigan, I think that the taxpayers and Congress have to give the auto industry a bit of tough love and let them go. Frankly, going back to bailouts, the 700 billion one from earlier this year was supposed to “fix” the market from getting worse. That didn’t work either. Don’t know about the rest of the bludgers, but this household has seen the margin call letter more than I care to in recent months. I don’t support tossing money out unless there are some hard guarantees and promises attached to it.

    Let the auto industry go in the US. Australia? I don’t know, don’t know enough about it locally to say one way or the other. To date, I think that everything Rudd has done has been fine, so I’ll trust their judgement on this. As noted in QT last session though, Rudd has put some safeguards on the money to the Aussie car makers so it can’t be poached back to America ……

  35. [Sad as it might be for the US and for my home state of Michigan, I think that the taxpayers and Congress have to give the auto industry a bit of tough love and let them go.]

    Yep I think you’re right. But politically, and that’s what’ll come down too, it’s suicide.

  36. If anyone has difficulties reading Ron’s writings, I strongly advise that they buy a Mario Vargas Llosa novel, especially Conversation in the Cathedral. He’s a Peruvian genius who ran for President once and has somehow annoyed the Swedes enough to never receive a Nobel Prize for Literature yet.

    Ron is the Australian version. The writing is uncannily similar.

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