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. Yep Matt Price. He used to make fun of Kim Beazley a lot, and he contested the two closest elections in the last 20 years. He would of had a ball with the current rabble of an opposition, surely!

  2. [It must be time to start asking about the Case of the Missing Newspoll on the OO blogs and see what happens. Suggesting that they hide polls that they don’t like the result of should have some impact]


    Not the missing newspoll


  3. Socrates & Grog
    I reckon that about covers it.
    Whatever they come up with you can be sure it will have plenty of tests that Rudd has failed to pass, lots of tough desicions that Rudd has been too weak to make and we’ll be told that the voters are starting to see through the phony front Rudd has put up and his popularity will soon take a nose dive.

    Grog a couple more to add to your list
    k The dog has cost taxpayers squillions digging up the grounds of The Lodge
    l Jasper has gone feral and killed off all the native wildlife in Canberra

  4. [Anyone who says the ABC is biased against labor and for the opposition, based on that program, has got rocks in their head. ]

    It would be silly to infer that every facet of the ABC is biased against the government, just as even the OO has the odd infusions of counterbalance. When most of us point fingers at the ABC, it’s usually at certain individual presenters, or the faceless ABC Online news editors (whoever they are).

  5. [Wilson Tuckey was as usual, the mad uncle, but we didn’t see much of him.]

    His prostrate was playing up! He also had to check out if any Libs were hiding in the toilets.

    Hope he doesn’t barge into the wrong one and upset a slightly disrobed and busy Bronny Bishop!

  6. Don
    [A very sad program if you were thinking of voting Liberal or National Party. Especially NP.]

    I agree with you; that Four Corners show proves that the ABC is not uniformly pro-or anti-Labor; it varies from journo to journo. I can’t work out the Nationals stance on the ETS. CCC, especially rainfall patterns, will ruin the bulk of farmers in SE Australia. They are basically selling out their own rural base, who form the core constituency of the party. The fact that the NFF disagree with the Nats says it all. Choosing extinction?

  7. don, the case for the ABC being somewhat wonky has been done to death here, somewhat like “the case of the missing newspoll”.
    Ducks and runs away.

  8. Socrates@157:

    [agree with you; that Four Corners show proves that the ABC is not uniformly pro-or anti-Labor; it varies from journo to journo.]


    Socrates, what gets me riled up are those who make snide comments about the ABC such as “Their ABC” as though it is in the pockets of the opposition.

    I respect the ABC, and it irks me to have it dragged in the mud.

    OK, there may be individual journos who are pro the opposition, or pro labor. But by and large it is very fair to both sides. I don’t want a mouthpiece for either party, and I think that we have by far the best and fairest news organisation in the world. Streets ahead of the US, though that’s not saying much, I guess, and also ahead of Canada. And of course any of the asian news services.

    Though the BBC might come close. I don’t know much about their biases.

  9. ‘Four Corners’ might not have been all that great prima facie for the Coalition. But if you were one of the, say, 10 per cent that are ardent denialists, it would have been encouraging and morale-boosting. Opponents of the government might be induced to fall in strongly behind the Nationals, with Joyce as the Pied Piper. A consolidation of National Party support. In those measures, it would have been a positive for the Opposition, or at least those elements of the Opposition opposed to the ETS.

  10. The absolute arrogance of Barnaby Joyce from 4 Corners:

    [SARAH FERGUSON: The potential rewards for farmers are so great, the National Farmer’s federation is siding with the liberals, to support the ETS if the carbon abatement schemes are included. But the National’s Barnaby Joyce is not interested under any circumstances.

    SARAH FERGUSON (to Barnaby Joyce): The national farmers federation want you to support the bill, are they not your core constituency?

    BARNABY JOYCE: Not when they say that.

    SARAH FERGUSON: The reason they want the ETS is because they want the carbon offsets. Do you want carbon offsets for the farming community?

    BARNABY JOYCE: Look, and I want a little red car for Christmas and if I can I’ll take cupid wings and float around the room.]

    The executive of the NFF must have been fuming.

  11. Rupert needs to be “very” careful he doesn’t mouth off too much and upset the on-line lolly source! Google might just decide Murdoch is too much trouble and scrub his stuff!

    [LONDON — Google said on Tuesday, in response to threats by Rupert Murdoch to ban the search engine from listing content from his news empire, that any company could ask to have stories taken off.

    In an interview in his native Australia, Murdoch accused Google of stealing stories from News Corp. newspapers for the Google News service, and said he might ban them once he introduces charges for the papers’ online editions.

    Google said it was up to individual news organisations to decide whether they wanted their stories listed on Google News, and there were “simple technical standards” that would remove them if they wished.

    “News organisations are in complete control over whether and how much of their content appears in search results,” it said said in a statement issued in London.

    “Publishers put their content on the web because they want it to be found, so very few choose not to include their material in Google News and web search. But if they tell us not to include it, we don’t.”

    It added: “If publishers want their content to be removed from Google News specifically all they need to do it tell us.”

    Google said its news listings service and web searches were a “tremendous source of promotion” for news organisations, sending them “about 100,000 clicks every minute”.]

  12. Abbott referring to the Howard government emissions trading scheme announced five months out from the 2007 election:

    [TONY ABBOTT: We embraced the policy then for good reasons which means that it’s not a crazy policy but that doesn’t mean that we can’t modify the policy or change it or even abandon it should that be our current judgement.]

    Devastating. This man stands for nothing.

  13. Cuppa@161:

    [But if you were one of the, say, 10 per cent that are ardent denialists, it would have been encouraging and morale-boosting. Opponents of the government might be induced to fall in strongly behind the Nationals, with Joyce as the Pied Piper.]

    Ardent denialists are not able to be reached by logic, so discussion with them is futile.

    Tell me again, what were the animals the Pied Piper was hired to remove from the town of Hamlin, and who followed him to the river and drowned?

  14. [Ardent denialists are not able to be reached by logic, so discussion with them is futile.]

    We agree again Don. Perhaps it is just me but an aweful lot of denialists are old men, very set in their ways. I wonder if they are still capable of changing thier opinions on most things? Ironically, they remind me a lot of ardent communists I saw at uni in my youth.

  15. [One word sums up 95% of the posts on this thread…hubris…enjoy being ahead yes but to be bantering on about how the Liberals are going to lose is nothing short of outright hubris you havent won yet and won have until Howard concedes on election night unless that happens i wouldnt be declaring the election over the only thing it will do is make a possible Coalition victory all the more sweeter because of your hubris.

    Need i remind you all that based on the latest newspoll the Liberal vote is 4% less and the Nat vote is 3% than in 2004 i am assuming the Nat vote will be around at least 5% on election day so that brings the Coalition’s vote to 41% and all the Liberal Party has to do is win back 4% of the vote to bring it back to 45% and then lets not forget about the 8% voting for Others and the 10% who were either uncommitted or refused and Labor’s inflated primary…to think Labor has it in the bag is very misguided because Rudd is going to be hurt by some cracker Coalition ads they worked a treat against Latham and they’ll stand a good chance of doing the same against Rudd…]

    Good times
    guess who?

  16. [sending them “about 100,000 clicks every minute”.]

    I heard somewhere they get about 2 cents for every click on!

    That’s $2,000 per minute;
    $60,000 per hour;
    $1,440,000 per day;
    $10,080,000 per week;
    $524,160,000 per year!

    Not bad lolly even if it is shared around. With the number of news outlets Rupert has, he is doing all right.

    Careful, Rupert, don’t bite the hand that feeds you!

  17. Maybe some people are entitled to be sceptical about global warming. I wonder how many people (mainly women I’d say) used their electric blankets in October?

  18. and this little bit of prescience from
    Dell on the Darling Downs back in oct 2007

    [Re Rx (72): What will Murdock columnists do?

    My “have a buck on” list includes “Push for:
    (1) employment figures calculation to revert to pre-Howard formula
    (2) monthly balance of payments to attract the (usually hysterical) prominence they did pre-Howard
    (3) the revival of the ‘Debt Truck’
    (4) return to screaming “Debt!! Debt!!” and demanding the Labor Gov ‘factors in’ ALL fed. gov. borrowing and stop “telling lies” about being “debt free” when it is still borrowing in the way Howard still is (while claiming to be “debt free”)
    And that’s just for starters!]

    the debt truck

  19. Well, it’s nice to see my original comment that the voting figure had not been reported, and my original take on this as being evidence that somewhere along the line Newspoll was nobbled, has at last achieved mainstream recognition, even if it’s only the Poll Bludger mainstream.

    “When faced with a choice between conspiracy and stuff-up, take stuff-up every time” is a tired, old, hackneyed saying.

    When anything with the letters “N_E_W_S” is involved, give me a conspiracy. I think tonight’s analysis by minds far better than mine has shown that the OO’s excuses, apologia and rationalizations for not providing figures that are clearly in their possession is so much bullbutter, as to put the full Vegemite sandwich with double lashings of Norco to shame.

    The buggers couldn’t lie straight in bed. They couldn’t even get their phoney stories straight. They have tried another coup and failed. Another classic bootstrapper gone west. Please, trot the “Old Fossil” himself, Johnny Howard, again and again. We need to be reminded anew of why we kicked him out of his own seat.

    But in the process, they’ve cooked their own poll and then chucked it out with the rest of the garbage that eminates from their increasingly beleaguered Xanadu atop the mountain (now a hill) once named “Murdoch”. How’s that for a double-whammy?

    Rupert Murdoch: this is (the rest of) your life.

  20. What do you make of this from Joyce on 4 Corners last night?
    [SARAH FERGUSON (to Barnaby Joyce): Is the Coalition going to pass a vote on the ETS?

    BARNABY JOYCE: Is this program on after that or before it?

    SARAH FERGUSON: Before it.

    BARNABY JOYCE: No it’s not going to get through.]

    Odd that he based his answer on whether it would come out after or before the vote…

  21. Centre:

    [ I wonder how many people (mainly women I’d say) used their electric blankets in October?]

    No, women have more body fat than men, so need outside heating less, so it would have been men.

    And women have more hot flushes, too.

  22. Centre

    The variability of weather lately, including unseasonal cold in October, is entirely consistent with CC projections. I can still remember the basic themes of the first CSIRO atmospheric modeling conference in read in 1988. GHG were projected to increase the average temperature, increase variability, reduce rain in SE Australia, and increase rain in Nth Australia. All pretty accurate.

  23. [Perhaps it is just me but an aweful lot of denialists are old men, very set in their ways]

    I think some of that might be guilt. They were part of the generation that saw in the Industrial Revolution, and with it the increase in emissions. To admit that CC is real would be to admit that they were part of the problem that they are leaving for their children. Not an easy thing for some minds to accept.

  24. Grog

    [Odd that he based his answer on whether it would come out after or before the vote…]

    Yes that was an odd moment/body language.

    But also, if the Liberals (Nationals?) (Liberal Nationals??) were managing the media appropriately, surely the interviewee ought to have known this basic fact about the programme upfront

  25. [But also, if the Liberals (Nationals?) (Liberal Nationals??) were managing the media appropriately, surely the interviewee ought to have known this basic fact about the programme upfront]

    Hahahahahaha. Surely? This is the Nats we are talking about 🙂

  26. vera, that is one heck of an angry looking cow lol.

    zoom, do men feel the heat more than women? Not in my experience 😈

    socrates, could you give me a prediction for January when I’m going on holidays?

  27. Dario
    guilt’s a big factor, but there’s also a mistrust of science there as well.

    Firstly, most of that age group aren’t as well educated as they’d like to have you believe! My mother thinks she was better educated than any of us, because – and I quote – ‘we learnt poetry off by heart’.

    The vast majority of them left school at fifteen, or even younger. As a teacher, my observation has been that students are only capable of mastering the concepts of clear thinking from fifteen onwards – and it is a learned skill.

    Secondly, many of this generation were witnesses of some of the great scientific debacles – thalidomide springs to mind, DDT, etc. Again, using my mother as an anecdotal prop, she has a basic distrust of scientists coupled with a belief that anyone who is at all academic is necessarily out of touch with the real world.

    Thirdly (and a little contradictorary, but as I’ve intimated, this lot aren’t necessarily into clear thinking) they’ve been raised to feel smug about the advancements of their lifetime. Noone likes to be told that they’ve been destroying the world as we know it.

    (But the Industrial Revolution started in the early 1800s. In fact, this gen. under discussion saw some of the great blunders of the IR undone – pollution controls, etc. Remember that London was famed for its smog until the introduction of gas and electricity banished coal fires).

  28. Dario@154,

    A sizeable proportion of the ABC detractors on this forum makes no attempt at specifying individual presenters when they accuse it of bias. Similar to don@160, I feel particularly irked by the “their ABC” label. The fact that the ABC was often the only unbiased news source during the Howard era seems to have been forgotten by many.

    The perception of bias is relative, but it is hard to accept that just because ABC often quotes News Ltd, which is a LARGE news agency and because it broadcasts the view of the opposition, it must be biased. Another factor to consider is that negative news is much more newsworthy. The country is going nicely along is not news. Do we seriously expect the ABC, or any other new agency for that matter, to sing the praise of the government for taking decisive action during the GFC, or for commiting to infrastructure spending every three days or so?

    It is easy to pick bits and pieces and present a picture of bias that isn’t really there. It is certainly easier for those who think that a program that exposed opposition disunity was actually beneficial to the opposition and would consolidate its voter base.

  29. [The variability of weather lately, including unseasonal cold in October, is entirely consistent with CC projections.]

    It was sure unseasonably cold up here! We had a string of 38 deg, a 39.5 deg and most of the rest were 35 or 36.

    I froze when it got down to 35! 😉 No global warming up here.

    We even had up to 38 deg in August!

  30. [Ardent denialists are not able to be reached by logic, so discussion with them is futile.]

    Granted. But that’s beside the point I tried to make in my earlier post. The program gave publicity to their cause, no doubt affirming it in the minds of those so inclined, and cled the way to the rallying point of Barnaby Joyce.

    In that respect, 4Cs was a positive for the deniers’ bloc within the Coalition. I’m not of the view therefore that it was a complete negative for the Coalition, because I believe the number of deniers in their ranks to be quite high, as Minchin said (and as denied by Julie Bishop today).

  31. from that thread a comment by William:
    [Scorpio, please stop being a pain in the arse. ]

    lol more things change?? 😆

    I didn’t comment on that thread… wa ssure I was around PB by that stage

  32. from that old thread as well:
    [Bushfire Bill
    Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 at 8:08 am | Permalink
    I pretty-well completely agree with Shanahan’s case for Newspoll being the bellwether poll. Whether it’s right or wrong, it’s the bet settler.]


  33. [Thirdly (and a little contradictorary, but as I’ve intimated, this lot aren’t necessarily into clear thinking) they’ve been raised to feel smug about the advancements of their lifetime. Noone likes to be told that they’ve been destroying the world as we know it.]

    That’s certainly true. It’s almost understandable I guess. But annoying just the same.

  34. Also from that old thread
    Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
    What *can* the Liberals do to reduce the carnage at this election?

    Release some policies.]

    It’s like being in a time warp! 🙂

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