Thursday 22 December 2016
The one thing in politics that always seems to be overlooked is the accuracy of the polls. The US election was a flop for the pollsters. So too was the British people’s decision to leave the European Union. And in Australia, Labor came within a whisker of winning. Historically though they do have a good record.
The one thing the three do have in common though is that they were all anti establishment. The Australian polls since the election have shown a clear, but not overwhelming lead to Labor.
One would have thought that given the performance of the conservatives since being elected Labor would be well ahead. But that’s not the case. The Crickey Poll Bludger end of year average has Labor on 52.3% and the Coalition on 47.7%. My normal expectation would be that Labor should be at least 10 percentage points ahead.
There are many ways one could analysis this but I was more intrigued by Tuesday’s Essential Report surveys on various aspects of Australian Life. And later I explore a survey by the ANU that supports my view that Australian’s satisfaction with its democracy has collapsed.
About the last 12 months. They asked; Thinking about the last 12 months, has it been a good or bad year for each of the following? They then listed a number of
Things from Trade Unions, politics, business and the planet.
Respondents believed that 2016 has been a bad year for all groups except large companies (+5), your workplace (+12) and you and your family overall (+12). It was considered a particularly bad year for Australian politics in general (-53) and the planet (-32).
Relative to 2015 (as measured in December last year), this year was considered worse for politics in general (down 12), small businesses (down 10), you and your family overall (down 9) and the Australian economy (down 8) but better for trade unions (up 9).
Expectations for 2017. Thinking about the next 12 months, do you think 2017 will be a good or bad year for each of the following?
The list was the same.
Overall, there was a positive outlook for large companies and corporations (net +8), your personal financial situation (+6), your workplace (+20), and you and your family overall (+21). Expectations were especially negative for Australian politics in general (-37) and the planet (-27).
Compared to last year, respondents were more pessimistic about all items measured except for trade unions (up 2) and particularly more pessimistic for Australian politics in general (down 32), small business (down 13) and the average Australian (down 10).
Whether Malcolm Turnbull understands issues. 13 Issues were listed including pensioners, students and people on high incomes.
57% think Malcolm Turnbull understands the issues of people who run large corporations and will act in their interests and 56% think he will act in the interests of people on high incomes.
37% think Malcolm Turnbull understands the issues for full-time workers and people who work for small businesses but is unlikely to act in their interests. 36% think he understands the issues for small business owners but is unlikely to act in their interests.
People whose issues he does not understand included people on low incomes (48%), pensioners (45%) and the unemployed (45%).
State of the economy. Overall, how would you describe the current state of the Australian economy? The usual good, fair bad applied.
23% (down 7% since September) described the economy as good or very good and 36% (up 9%) poor/very poor – 37% said it was neither.
This is the most negative result for this question over the past 4 years.
Liberal National voters were somewhat more optimistic than other voters. Among Labor voters 19% (down 11%) thought it was good and 40% (up 13%) poor; for Liberal/National voters 39% (up 3%) said it was good and 24% (up 3%) poor.
Economy heading in right or wrong direction. From what you have read and heard, do you think the Australian economy is heading in the right direction or the wrong direction?
26% (down 7% since September) of respondents think that Australia’s economy is heading in the right direction and 45% (up 9%) think it is heading in the wrong direction. This is the most negative result for this question over the past 6 years.
18% (down 8%) of Labor voters, 50% (down 2%) of Liberal/National voters and 11% (down 15%) of Greens voters think the economy is heading in the right direction. 54% (up 9%) of Labor voters, 24% (up 2%) of Liberal/National voters and 62% (up 22%) of Greens voters think it is heading in the wrong direction.
Job security. In the next two years, do you expect your job to be more secure, less secure or about the same? Less, more, somewhat etc. applied.
13% of respondents (down 1% since September) feel that their job will become more secure over the next two years. 30% (up 3%) feel it will become less secure while the largest proportion (51%) feel it will stay about the same.
Liberal/National voters were more likely to say their job security would be about the same (61%) and less likely to say it would be less secure (22%).
35% of part-time workers say they expect their job to be less secure compared to 27% of full-time workers.
Besides people’s view on the economy which was negative to say the least the one that stood out like dogs balls to me was that 62% of people thought it was a bad year for politics and 50% see the same next year.
The survey by the Australian National University and published in The Canberra Times lists 10 charts that show just how much our trust in politics and politicians has collapsed. It also suggests that the populace has little faith in our politicians ability to improve the country’s economic performance.
“You are seeing the stirrings among the public of what has happened in the United States with the election of [Donald] Trump, Brexit in Britain and in Italy.
“This is the start of something that has happened overseas and it’s coming here.”
Now if the decline continues up to the next election, that is, if institutionalized politics in Australia does not come to terms with the fact that they no longer represent a vast majority of the electorate then we may very well create a prefect storm, a wave of ‘Trumpish’ proportion might hit our democracy. It only requires the political planets to align and anything might happen. Goodness, the Nationals in Essential Poll are on 2% of the vote and are running the country. It’s a joke and something needs to be done. The seriousness of the situation cannot be underestimated. It is said that when America catches a cold that we get the flue. Might I suggest we are about to get pneumonia.
My thought for the day.
“You cannot expect that when you place people in a theatre of war to at the same time think that they will always act rationally. The same goes for incarceration.”
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