Wednesday 13 September 2017
The latest polling would suggest that I was wrong. Last week in a piece titled “Time to take Shorten Seriously” I wrote that:
“The Coalition has for sometime been running a concerted character assassination job on the Leader of the Opposition but thus far has been unable to land a telling blow.”
I also said:
“He must now be seen as a serious contender for Prime Minister of Australia. He has put in the hard yards, given the government more than a fright, and demonstrated his political acumen.”
This week’s Essential Survey asked this question of both leaders:
Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Malcolm Turnbull is doing as Prime Minister?
- 41% approved of the job Malcolm Turnbull is doing as Prime Minister (up 3% from last month), and 46% disapproved (no change) – a change in net approval rating from -8 to -5 (his best net rating since October last year).
- 75% (up 2%) of Liberal/National voters approved of the job Malcolm Turnbull is doing, compared to 21% of ALP voters and 23% of Greens voters.
- By gender, men were 45% approve/45% disapprove and women 36% approve/46% disapprove.
Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Bill Shorten is doing as Opposition Leader?
- 36% approved of the job Bill Shorten is doing as Opposition Leader (up 1% from last month), and 47% disapproved (down 5%) – a change in net approval rating from -7 to -11.
- 65% (no change) of ALP voters approved of the job Bill Shorten is doing, compared to 40% of Greens voters and 23% of Liberal/National voters.
- By gender, men were 39% approve/50% disapprove and women 34% approve/43% disapprove.
The Fairfax IPOS Poll concluded that the approval ratings for both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten have fallen since the poll last measured them in May. And fallen substantially!
“The Prime Minister was clinging, just, to a positive approval rating in May. That’s now turned negative. Turnbull’s net approval figure is minus 5 per cent.
That’s where Bill Shorten’s popularity level stood in May, and it’s fallen further, from minus 5 to minus 16, in today’s poll. In a survey with a margin of error of 2.6 per cent, these are real movements, not polling anomalies.
So both leaders, officially, are unpopular.”
The latest Newspoll shows Malcolm Turnbull increasing his lead and overall remains Australia’s preferred leader, at 46 per cent to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s 29 per cent.
No matter which way one looks at it, both leaders are decidedly unpopular.
So when, in my piece I said its time to take Bill Shorten seriously, was I wrong? It would seem that, going by the latest surveys, both men are deeply unpopular. The reasons for it are simple to understand. ”It’s a matter of trust,” as the Billy Joel lyrics goes.
Turnbull turned out to be a hypocrite and Shorten’s history as a trade union leader might account for his unpopularity. But you really have to ask yourself if it really matters. After all, leaders do win elections when they are unpopular with the electorate. Howard and Keating are both examples of being extremely unpopular yet winning.
But you do have to ask in Shorten’s case if the tidal wave propaganda is actually working. There is not a Minister who isn’t describing Shorten as “Blackout Bill.” For me it’s all somewhat childish and lowers the character of the PM.
But as I said, does it really matter? Because its the “who” are you going to vote for that really gives us some insight into who will win the next election. If the figures were all over the place you wouldn’t take much notice. But they aren’t. Consistently they show Labor with a 6 to 8% lead (see below) that would result in a, if uniform, taking 15 or more seats off the government.
- Sept 12 Essential 54/46
- Sept 10 IPOS 53/47
- Sept 9 Bludger Track combined 53.6/46.4
- Sept 5 Essential 53/47
- Sept 3 Newspoll 53/47
- Sept 2 Bludger Track combined 53.6/46.4
And with little variation these figures can be traced back to the first poll post the last election.
But poll figures aside, when on earth are we going to get some bloody honesty? When, for example, will a leader stand up (I’m talking about the energy crisis) and say:
“Well, to be perfectly honest we have stuffed up big time. We have spent more time blaming each other than trying to fix the problem. I plan to do that now.
You might punish us for our inaction at the ballot box, but fix it we will.”
It might take balls, but it would win votes.
My thought for the day
“We never change until it gets to uncomfortable to stay the same.”