Newspoll: ??-??

Following last week’s surprising and almost certainly rogue Newspoll result, The Australian sent its pollster out into the field again over the weekend for an eagerly anticipated follow-up survey. However, when the results were published yesterday, all that was offered was attitudinal results on asylum seekers – although breakdowns by party support made clear that voting intention had also been ascertained. This sent Gary Morgan on the offensive:

Newspoll should have conducted another poll as soon as possible when they saw the dramatic change in their results – and if different, released the data to correct the misconceptions caused by their “rogue” poll … A statistical analysis of the data reported on Australians’ attitudes to “boat people” issues – specifically the breakdown by “Political support” – suggests the ALP vote in that poll was very strong. The percentage supporting each political party clearly should have been released. Polls and their publishers should not seek to set the agenda by selectively releasing polling data. Polls and their publishers are powerful but with that power comes responsibility.

Queried by Andrew Crook of Crikey, The Australian’s editor Chris Mitchell explained that “even Crikey” should be able to understand that a non-fortnightly set of voting intention figures would cause a disturbance in the force. Mitchell further invoked a Beatles-and-the-Stones style arrangement between Newspoll and Nielsen in which they have agreed not to step on each other’s releases. Yet just one month ago, on the same day that Nielsen produced its regular monthly poll, The Australian published a “special Newspoll survey” on the Liberal leadership in between its regular fortnightly polls, and was not in the least bit shy about informing us that the sample produced the same 58-42 split in favour of Labor as recorded the previous week. In fairness, it should be noted that Crikey “understands that on Sunday morning, Newspoll chief Martin O’Shannessy contacted his Nielsen counterpart John Stirton and agreed not to release the two-party preferred vote to The Australian”.

My own concern with all this is that I was hoping for a new poll result to hang my regular set of electoral updates off, and didn’t get one. Here they are:

• The saga surrounding the YouTube Downfall parody aimed at Mitchell MP Alex Hawke over his feud with former Right ally and state upper house MP David Clarke has lifted a rock on preselection manoeuvres for safe Liberal state seats. Hawke-Hitler is portrayed in the video castigating himself for having backed Hills Shire councillor Andrew Jefferies to depose incumbent Wayne Merton in Baulkham Hills. The Clarke forces have been hoping the seat might instead go to Damien Tudehope, who has a not inconsiderable public profile as spokesman for the NSW Family Association – and whose son Thomas has just resigned as Malcolm Turnbull’s media adviser after being linked to the aforesaid YouTube video. The infamous episode where 40 Clarke supporters showed up at a Young Liberal branch meeting at Hawke’s office, prompting Hawke’s staff to call the police, reportedly occurred as part of efforts to secure Baulkham Hills for Tudehope. In Castle Hill, Clarke faction operative Dominic Perrottet (whose brother Charles has just resigned as Clarke’s chief-of-staff after he too was linked to the YouTube video) has been plotting to depose incumbent Michael Richardson. On the other side of the pendulum, Hawke is apparently backing another ally, state Young Liberals president Scott Farlow, for the seat of Drummoyne (which Labor’s Angela D’Amore holds by a margin of 7.6 per cent), while Clarke man Kevin Conolly hopes to again contest Riverstone, where he ran against Labor’s John Aquilina in 2007.

Stephanie Peatling of the Sydney Morning Herald reveals the identity of the abortive Right challenger to Philip Ruddock in Berowra: Richard Quinn, a Hunters Hill councillor. A Ruddock supporter specifically identifies Quinn’s backers as “the Taliban faction”, meaning the forces associated with David Clarke. Quinn has “now expressed interest in Bennelong”, which would put him up against former tennis player and unsuccessful Bradfield preselection aspirant John Alexander, plus another previously unheralded entrant in “businessman Mark Chan”.

Lisa Carty of the Sydney Morning Herald explains Labor’s recent western Sydney preselection shenanigans in terms of a deal in which the Right will retain its hold on Fowler following Julia Irwin’s retirement at the next election, despite the numbers in local branches being finely poised between the two factions. The Right’s favoured candidate for Fowler is Ed Husic of the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union, who was defeated by Louise Markus when he ran in Greenway at the 2004 election. In return for not pursuing a claim in Fowler, the Left will be awarded Werriwa at the expense of Right incumbent Chris Hayes. However, state secretary Matt Thistlethwaite is quoted in the article saying there is “no deal to shift (Hayes) to Macarthur”. That hasn’t stopped an avalanche of reports about whether Werriwa will go to Reid MP Laurie Ferguson, as proposed by Julia Gillard and the soft Left, or Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union organiser Damien Ogden, the candidate of Anthony Albanese and the hard Left.

Andrew Clennell of the Sydney Morning Herald reports claims Labor internal polling of 650 voters in Robertson shows Belinda Neal set to be dumped by a swing of “about 20 per cent”, although this has naturally been denied by state secretary Matt Thistlethwaite. The report also quotes Labor sources suggesting recent talk of a run for the premiership by her husband John Della Bosca has been raised for use as a “bargaining chip” to protect Neal’s position.

• The Queensland Liberal National Party has preselected Hajnal Ban, Logan councillor, Nationals candidate for Forde in 2007 and recipient of an eye-watering Russian surgical procedure to lengthen her legs, as its candidate for the new Gold Coast hinterland seat of Wright. Unsuccessful candidates included Cameron Thompson, the former Liberal member for
Blair (who was presumably handicapped by an understanding that the seat was the domain of the Nationals), and Gold Coast councillor and former children’s television presenter Bob La Castra.

• Former Senator, one-time Democrats leader and blogosphere identity Andrew Bartlett will run for the Greens at the federal election in Brisbane, which Labor’s Arch Bevis holds with a diminished post-redistribution margin against the LNP of 3.8 per cent. Antony Green explains why he won’t win.

Peter Kennedy of the ABC reports Labor preselection nominations for Canning, Cowan and Swan will close on December 1, and candidates will be chosen by mid-December.

• The Macquarie Street blog of Poll Bludger regular Oz informs us that NSW upper house MP Gordon Moyes, long estranged from the Christian Democratic Party from which he was elected, has announced he is joining Family First.

Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail reports that Anna Bligh will respond to the state’s review on accountability by moving to impose a $1000 cap on political donations unless the federal government does likewise before July 2010, as well as imposing a ban on “success fees” to lobbyists.

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.

1,656 comments on “Newspoll: ??-??”

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  1. [Unfortunately, some of us are more easily tempted or have trouble resisting!!! ]

    I’ll just content myself with thinking that I am sure there are some “ALP voters” from 2007 that Rudd and Co don’t mind losing

  2. Newspoll Is trying there best and they stuffed up last time. These things happen, it is a statistical certainty. Don’t blain Newspoll, they have done nothing wrong. The fault here lies with another wing of Citizen Rupert’s empire: The Australian. It’s the Australian that chose not to release it. We know that the editors of the Australian push an ideological agenda but there is no reason to believe that Newspoll do.

  3. We’ve got to assume that Newspoll came up with a set of results that News Ltd didn’t like, ie. 56-44 lead for ALP, hence that’s why there was no poll published in today’s OZ.

  4. If the Australian did not want to “interfere” with Neilson why did they publish the AS result on Monday?

    Surely they could have waited a day and given Neilson a day of polling clean air?

    Surely they would not want to steal Neilson’s thumder? 😉

  5. [We’ve got to assume that Newspoll came up with a set of results that News Ltd didn’t like, ie. 56-44 lead for ALP, hence that’s why there was no poll published in today’s OZ.]

    If that is the case then it demonstrates a collusion between News Ltd and Newspoll in that Newspoll didn’t publish the “full” survey results on their website! Naughty!

  6. Tin Hat time.
    Rupert is in it the power. Over his media empire he exercised Editorial Control.
    The key word here is Control.

    For a Polling company, Editorial Control is perhaps not the best way to take the reigns.

    In fact, having “men of honour” up front is a favourite tactic of corporate lying liars who lie.

    The best way to control the numbers is to exercise Operational Control. All you need is a sufficiently motivated programmer to fix the phone dialling algorithm to use a “friendly set” of very-pseudo-random numbers.

    Could this be done at NewsPoll? Morgan etc?

  7. Turnbull, Bishop and Hockey have a major job on their hands trying to wring anything out of the Governments stimulus package being either too large or not being effective!

    Business is happy, the punters are happy. The only ones unhappy are the Coalition Party Room who seem to have misplaced their “better economic managers” badge somewhere!!! 😉

    [The latest business survey shows that trading conditions are finally starting to catch up with a confidence surge.

    The National Australia Bank’s Monthly Business Survey showed a bounce back in confidence to 16 points during October, after it had dipped slightly to 14 in September.

    Confidence has recovered sharply since earlier this year, and has now spent several months entrenched well into positive territory, with many more businesses confident about the economy’s future than there are pessimistic.

    More importantly, the survey’s measure of current business conditions rose sharply from 3 in September to 12 in October, and is above long-run average levels and back to results reported in early 2008, before the financial crisis took hold.]

  8. Oh dear! More “bad” news!

    [The NAB says the strength of the survey has been enough for it to further raise its economic growth forecasts.

    It is now expecting 0.75 per cent GDP growth in the second half of 2009, rather than no growth, and 2.5 per cent growth in 2010.

    The expected increase in growth is also forecast to keep the peak unemployment rate to 6.5 per cent in mid-2010.]

  9. The young lady who questioned Rudd on the AS last night suggested afterwards you cannot be tough and fair. She said they don’t go together. I’ve known people who have been very tough but also very fair in their dealings.

  10. [Newspoll Is trying there best and they stuffed up last time. These things happen, it is a statistical certainty. Don’t blain Newspoll, they have done nothing wrong.]

    Isn’t the story that Newspoll decided to not provide the voting intention results to The Australian rather than The Australian decided not to publish the results? I find this story hard to believe as if The Australian pay for polling then you wouldn’t imagine Newspoll would be entitled to withhold it.

  11. [Good to see Channel 9 news highlighting Minchin defying Turnball on climate change!
    Makes a change from boat people/asylum seekers.]
    Mark Riley seemed to miss that one.

  12. Gary Bruce,

    She might have been using the occasion as a rehearsal for a job in journalism!

    She doesn’t have to be “that” good to get a job with News Ltd or the ABC though!

  13. Turnbull’s certainly painted himself into a tight corner on this one!

    Kevin Rudd is blocking all the likely exits, so it will be interesting how Turnbull can wriggle himself out of this now that the bulk of the Coalition seem to be in revolt!

    [A spokesman for the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said Mr Turnbull staked his leadership on action on climate change. “If he refuses to repudiate his colleagues, that pledge was meaningless,” he said.]

  14. An interesting poll from the NQ Register. Looks like the tooth fairy has been busy!

    [Q: Has the emissions trading debate changed your voting intentions?

    More likely to vote Labor

    More likely to vote Coalition

    Less likely to vote Labor

    Less likely to vote Coalition

    No change


    Total Votes: 291
    Poll Date: 08 November, 2009

  15. Finns, you need to do another trip and sort this lot out
    [A North Korean patrol boat crossed the border and sailed south for about 0.7 miles (1.1 kilometres), Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

    It said a South Korean high-speed naval boat sent several warning signals but the North’s craft held its course.

    After the South’s boat fired warning shots, “the North’s side opened fire, directly aiming at our ship. Then our ship responded by firing back, forcing the North Korean boat to return to the north,” the statement said.]

  16. Barry Brook has written another article advocating nuclear in the Tiser. I heard him on JJJ today saying that Clean Coal is one area he agrees with the Coalition on and said it will waste money and time and give us an excuse not to make any reforms. He also said Copenhagen would flop and there would be no binding agreement. The best outcome he could see was an agreement to share technology as much as possible.

    [WHETHER you are primarily concerned about climate change, or energy security, the British Government’s choice to build 10 new large nuclear power stations by 2025 should come as welcome news.

    Nuclear power is the only proven electricity generation technology that can simultaneously meet reliable baseload demand, anywhere, and yet emit no carbon dioxide when operating.

    Nuclear-powered France is the world’s biggest electricity exporter, has the cheapest power rates in Europe, and has the lowest carbon footprint per person.],22606,26330976-5006301,00.html

    On another matter, what are the odds that the Newspoll result will leak?

  17. Bishop is trying to mop up the mess left behind last night! What a poisoned chalice they have handed poor Ian Macfarlane!

    Pass the popcorn! 😉

    [Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop says she does not believe the majority of MPs in the Coalition party room are climate change sceptics.

    The Opposition’s Senate leader, Nick Minchin, says the majority of his colleagues do not believe humans are causing climate change.]

    [But Ms Bishop has told Sky television the Opposition is still committed to good faith negotiations.

    “That might be Nick’s personal view, and he’s entitled to have a personal view, it’s not my view,” she said.

    “My understanding is that the party room gave Ian Macfarlane the authority to negotiate a range of amendments in good faith with the Government.”]

    [Mr Macfarlane told ABC’s Four Corners program any deal needed to have the backing of a majority of Coalition MPs and that was going to be difficult.

    “Getting it cleared [by] the party room a second time is going to be an enormous feat,” he said.]

  18. A few days ago the Finnigans informed us all about the ongoing scandal involving the police, the KPK and various private interests in Indonesia.

    Well today I went along to a demonstration march in Yogya in support of the two KPK officials enmeshed in the story. I’ve written a bit about it here:

  19. [your nephews and my nephew could get together]

    Vera, yeah, yeah, yeah

    down by the riverside,
    down by the riverside,
    down by the riverside,

    [you need to do another trip and sort this lot out]

    yeah, the North has run out of Kimchees so the Dear Leader had to send out a raiding party. They all end up in a pickle 😆

  20. We’ve often has natural gas raised as an option here but Barry says that would be a bad mistake.

    Ferguson’s plan is big on clean coal, natural gas and very anti-nuclear. Our energy policy for the future is going to be a huge fail and we’ll end up paying dearly for it.

    [The UK is now paying dearly for their dash for gas, following the coal mine closures of the 1980s. Their once-abundant North Sea fields are rapidly depleting.

    Again, Australia should take note of this warning. We must not go down the natural gas-for-coal substitution route. It would be long-term economic suicide.

    Also, gas is a carbon-based fossil fuel, releasing 600kg of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour.

    Unlike the situation for uranium power, the electricity price is strongly tied to the fuel price for gas. A spike in the gas price means big jumps in power prices. ]

  21. [Well today I went along to a demonstration march in Yogya ]

    Mas Rewi, dont forget to chomp some of those famous Gudeg of Yogya for me. Our friends in Indonesia needs a real cultural revolution to get rid of KKN, nothing else will do.

  22. I don’t see any point in Newspoll releasing an out-of-cycle 2PP result.

    If the last newspoll will be wrong, then it will become apparent with the next release.

    It’ll be the same conclusion, (ie that 52/48 was rogue); just one week later than it could have been.

    By the way, I notice there is only one single AS story on the Australian website today…anyone else notice that?? How strange

  23. Here’s my prediction I posted over at Possum (tin hats on please):
    Newspoll will conduct another poll this coming weekend, add some additional questions on AS and/or something else supposedly not going well for the govt. in an attempt to skew the party breakdown (as they did this week). They will then amalgamate both polls and spin it as some attempt at ironing out irregularities and hope to God (Rupert be thy name) the numbers come out somewhere between 53-55.5 TPP for Labor.

  24. Mr S, if there’s no point in releasing an out-of-cycle 2PP result, why did they do so when they last conducted an out-of-cycle poll just one month ago? The point I’d make is that if a week is a long time in politics, two weeks is two long times in politics -and thus The Australian will have twice as much material to work with in arguing there has been a “swing back to Labor”. Last night’s Four Corners episode, for example, will have given them a lot to work with that wouldn’t have been available for the weekend poll.

    It seems to me that The Australian has behaved the way it has not due to the partisan motivations that many in the PB community would ascribe to it, but because it believes it needs to protect Newspoll’s reputation for infallibility. Clearly it is not game to admit that any pollster, including its own, will inevitably hit the occasional dud sample; equally clearly, it has a very high opinion of its commentators’ capacity to shape the way poll results are perceived.

  25. [It seems to me that The Australian has behaved the way it has not due to the partisan motivations that many in the PB community would ascribe to it, but because it believes it needs to protect Newspoll’s reputation for infallibility.]

    I hadn’t considered that William. I still support the ‘partisan motivation’ theory but your idea does make sense.

  26. 4000 holes in the House of Murdoch:

    [From Crikey – Paywalls: the tricky trouble with the internets – We hate to break this to you Rupert, but the WSJ doesn’t so much have a paywall as a permeable membrane. You can read anything you like on the site, in full and for free.]

    I did posted yesterday that John Lennon has predicted this back in 1967:

    [I read the news today oh boy
    About a lucky man who made the grade
    And though the news was rather sad
    Well I just had to laugh
    I saw the photograph.
    He blew his mind out in a car
    He didn’t notice that the lights had changed
    A crowd of people stood and stared
    They’d seen his face before
    Nobody was really sure
    If he was from the House of Murdoch]

  27. [Clearly it is not game to admit that any pollster, including its own, will inevitably hit the occasional dud sample; equally clearly, it has a very high opinion of its commentators’ capacity to shape the way poll results are perceived.]

    William, if they did admit that out of 20 odd polls a year 1 could be a dud then we would more than likely say ‘OK – Poss agrees that can happen so we’ll accept that’ and continue to trust their future polls.

    But now all we are thinking is – ‘they’ve caused the whole MSM to use this against Rudd for a week so if they’re not big enough to own up to a dud and publicise it the same way why should we ever trust them?’

  28. Hi William,

    I see what you are saying.

    I’d suggest that Newspoll will conduct and release a special, out-of-cycle poll if there is a special out-of cycle reason. (ie Hockey’s statements about LP leadership, a hint of a spill).

    This back-up poll seems a bit like a post-project Post Implimentation Review. Sort of like a cross-check validation that helps shore up the last result without admitting it was a mistake.

  29. Folks, isn’t there a danger that the more Labor talks up Turnbull’s partyroom woes on climate change, and casts it as a leadership turning-point, when he eventually secures partyroom and Senate support Labor will have essentially defined it as a massive win?

    Of course, Joe Hockey wouldn’t be too happy about it, so I suppose it’s all swings and roundabouts.

  30. [It seems to me that The Australian has behaved the way it has not due to the partisan motivations that many in the PB community would ascribe to it, but because it believes it needs to protect Newspoll’s reputation for infallibility.]

    In other words, they nobbled Newspoll.

    Whichever way you look at it William, there’s funny business afoot. I haven’t seen anyone at News retract any of those “Newspoll is the benchmark/infallible/who-ever-looks-at-Morgan?” snipes. If you’re talking about chocolate bars, or dishwasher tablets, maybe you can get away with this sort of thing. But when it comes down to agenda-setting political polling (at least that’s what they reckon) you have to be careful and completely above board. Add to that the nasty figures produced yesterday – selectively extracted – and the agenda is clear:get Rudd. They lie as easily as cockatoos eating sunflower seeds.

    Newspoll, from now on, is toast. It has been put in that position by politically motivated “journalists” trying to manipulate the politics of Australia. In doing so, they have trashed their own product.

  31. Rewi,

    Maybe if Turnbull could get all his colleagues to actually vote for the policy. From last night’s programme, I ‘d say it’s a long shot that he can achieve that. The nett result is that the Libs still look like an ill disciplined rabble.

  32. Greensborough Growler,

    Agreed, no one does self-perpetuating defeatism better.

    I just wonder if Minister Wong really needs to say anything at all about it, at least about it being a leadership issue. I would have thought a line that questioned how, on the basis of Senator Minchin’s on-the-record statements, the Government could trust that the negotiations were in good faith would have sufficed.

  33. [Mr Murdoch told Sky News that once the company’s online pay model is launched, it will probably remove its stories from Google news searches. ‘I think we will, but that’s when we start charging,’ he said. — AP]

    Careful Rupe, he might hear you …. what’s IF …………. Google buys out News Corp. Google market cap: $180B and News Corp? Miserable : $22B.

  34. If Minchin backed down now and supported the bill in the Senate he would have to admit that he is on the side of the ‘socialism by stealth’ brigade that he talked about last night. If they want it passed then some Libs are going to have to cross the chamber.

  35. [when he eventually secures partyroom and Senate support Labor will have essentially defined it as a massive win?]

    A win for Turnbull will tear the coalition apart. Turnbull can’t win whatever the outcome.

  36. I’m with you BB. Newspoll even admitted on its release that last weeks poll could be an outlier. So what do they do this week? Rather than releasing another 2PP poll to confirm or dispute that, they release selective political questions that only serve to confirm it, despite the likely real 2PP numbers saying exactly the opposite. If that isn’t deceptive, nobbled polling, I don’t know what is. They’re gone IMO.

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