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Day to Day Politics: Can you trust them? Pauline and the polls?

Wednesday 23 May 2018

I regret having to break my promise that I would never mention polls again and without sounding alarmist today’s latest Guardian Essential poll has the party’s at 51/49 in favour of Labor.

I did say a few months back when the figures were bouncing at trampoline heights for Labor, that we couldn’t take the polls seriously until we got closer to an election.

That’s when people declare their hand and we can take the polls more earnestly. As usual, you can look at them from a number of angles.

With a 3% margin of error it could mean anything, but if we were to take the Coalition vote as spot-on and take into account the fact that there is always a swing back to the incumbent, you might conclude that Labor are in real trouble, or at least level-pegging.

51% to 49% is the first time the gap has been that close since November 2016 and is preceded by figures of 52/48 and 53/47.

It is fair to suggest that come the next poll it could very well be 50/50.

The contradiction in the figures comes when you place them aside the Essential survey that accompanies the poll.

It showed that that the punters were more sanguine toward Shortens overall economic plans than Turnbull’s.

I don’t know how one explains the obvious contradiction in terms.

The Poll Bludger put it this way:

“This is despite a range of results on tax and budget matters that are uniformly favourable for Labor and/or unfavourable for the Coalition. As reported by The Guardian, the poll finds Labor’s income tax policy favoured over the Coalition’s by 45% to 33%, and 44% favouring Labor’s increasing spending on health and education while giving a tax cut to low and middle-income earners”, over “the Coalition’s approach, which is to give both companies and workers a tax cut”.

A further complication arose yesterday morning when Pauline Hanson pulled out of what is alleged to be a signed agreement with the Coalition. The reason I believe was that she didn’t get what she was promised.

But Ashby has her back on the front pages which is where she needs to be to survive.

So, two things arise. One is that she needs to reveal to the Australian people what sort of a deal she had made on behalf of the Australian people.

An observation

When a political party deliberately withholds information that the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment of how it is being governed. It is lying by omission. It is also tantamount to the manipulation of our democracy.

And the second, in the same way as the National Party should come clean and show the signed agreement it made with Malcolm Turnbull. No one could change that much without being bribed.

It means, that the Prime Minister has little choice but to take his Tax Cuts for the rich and privileged to the electorate and let them decide.

As I said yesterday, I know which policy I would rather be selling.

In the Essential Survey

“Sixty per cent said they did not want company tax cuts to proceed; 50% supported Labor’s proposed tightening of negative gearing, with 24% opposed; and 42% supported Labor’s dividend imputation policy, with 27% opposed. However, the two parties were tied at 32% on the question of best party to manage a fair tax system, with 22% saying it made no difference”

Having said all that one can only conclude that if the figures remain at 51/49 Labor is in real trouble and there is only one explanation for it. That being the Shorten factor

Australians do indeed have a love affair with political Polls and I must say they do help me shape my opinions but I also know how they work and how, when put, do questions affect the answers.

As Russell Green, a Facebook friend said to me about the Government:

“They clearly have no claim to a 3rd Term. But then they had no claim on a second either and that failed to materialise.”

My thought for the day

One of the oddities of political polling is trying to understand how 48% of the voting public would willingly return a party that has governed so abysmally.

On yet another American High School massacre:

“It is time that those with the capacity to change laws that might prevent the mass murder of children and refuse to do so we’re made to account. After all, they are as guilty or as mad, whatever the case, as the perpetrator himself.”


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  1. babyjewels10

    “One of the oddities of political polling is trying to understand how 48% of the voting public would willingly return a party that has governed so abysmally.” You could lose your mind trying to work that out. But I agree, Labor are in trouble when they should be streets ahead. I can only concur that it’s the Shorten factor. And sadly, I think we’re stuck with him.

  2. paul walter

    The public are played on by the opinion makers and fearfully cling to their money in an increasingly rigged system.

    I see your pic of the boorish Cormann and should imagine many saw his reprehensible dog whistle attack on Wong yesterday.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    There were also many contradictions in polls during the Rudd/Gillard terms in office. Many polls showed the people preferred Labor’s policies, especially their economic policies, yet the Coalition led the 2PP despite the sentiments reflected in the details. I lost count of the number of times polls stated the Rudd/Gillard government was doing a good job, yet they still got trashed.

    I’m afraid with the MSM, including the ABC, blitz against Labor that is in its infancy now and will wind up closer to an election, Labor won’t win.

  4. Peter F

    BJs…’I can only concur that it’s the Shorten factor. And sadly, I think we’re stuck with him.’.

    I believe it is more likely ‘the perception’ of Shorten as manipulated by the media. Have you seen his rejection of Turnbull’s claiming credit for the Bank Royal Commission?

  5. Alpo

    “It is fair to suggest that come the next poll it could very well be 50/50.”…. This is what the Liberals are thinking, saying and hoping. But their beloved Newspoll reached 51%…. and has stayed there!…. No comment about that.

    If the polls start going up again for the ALP (most likely) what would the comment be?

  6. johno

    paul walter.. A comment like that sure shows where Cormann’s loyalty lies. Nowhere

  7. ajogrady

    The Main Stream Media and its influence on the people is far more of a factor in the outcome of polls and elections rather then Bill Shorten. If this was not true then WHY would the government persists with its “Kill Bill” strategy that is megaphoned and repeated constantly by the Main Stream Media. The common denominator that influences 48% to 50 % of the population to vote in favour of the L/NP is the Main Stream Media. It is definitely not L/NP policies or Bill Shorten. That would be to simplistic and contradict the known fact of “the power of the press” and additionally explains Murdoch’s disproportionate power and influence over politics in general.

  8. Wam

    Your thought, 100% would not return a government which has governed abysmally. So 48% think they are not replaceable and, on the day 3% will not trust billy. QED a third term.

    Pauline didn’t get the depth of cuts to the ABC(end to ABC 24, morning show and lateline?) she required but she will when trumballs mob are appeased by the boost in the polls and the labor trauma of the by-elections.(did you read the age’s crowe??)

    Australians that I know don’t give a rat’s are about polls and most still think labor spends and libs save. Now that is despite the green/lnp doubling the debt and splashing cash around like confetti.
    Why? Just because they stopped the boats, are dealing with welfare rorts and are not ruled by unions.

    ps stilll fazed by trump? His tax cuts should be kicking in with a trickle?

  9. helvityni

    There are plenty of homeless , jobless, well, plenty of cashless people in Oz today, why on earth would they vote in a government, totally lacking in compassion, but hell-bent on making the rich even richer richer….

    If so , I have to say : you are a weird mob indeed… ( sorry, have forgotten who said it)…

    Wait, hubby is just telling me it was John O’Grady writing under Nino Culotta.

  10. Kronomex

    “But Ashby has her back on the front pages which is where she needs to be to survive.” I think she blindsided Ashby with this and now has to get her back on his track. If she falls, he then has to find some other sucker to leech off.

    Don’t hold your breath on Ashby/Hanson releasing any information on any deals, you’ll pass out from lack of oxygen. I aslo won’t be surprised that a backflip will occur when Cormann ups the offer to get any sort of deal through..

  11. Ricardo29

    I am with WAM on the reasons why Labor is at risk but would add its capitulations on the various Bills attacking our privacy. Very few people will read, or can interpret, a full newspaper article. Instead they see the headline and might read the first few pars and from that form their opinion. Add in the biased ‘clickbait’ stories across social media and you can see the populace is being subjected to a fog of mild to virulent anti-Labor propaganda. Like JL, and others, I continue to be amazed that an apparent 48/49% of the voting populace support this government. Still, I think Labor needs to try harder with some of its policies, for example on Newstart, Pensions, Refugees, Tax avoidance, Inequality and — when in power — reducing the Murdoch influence through a crackdown on foreign media ownership. Regarding foreign ownership dare one suggest we need to bring in a “buy back the farm” proposal? RFX Connor anyone?

  12. helvityni

    I’m with Alpo, it’s all to do with their ‘ beloved’ Newspoll…

  13. Phil

    Oh oh boy! Doesn’t take much to rattle a goodly number of AIMN readers. Something weird about Australia’s obsession with polls. Might have something to do with the country’s gambling proclivities? Political polls are like a slow motion horse race where the race stops every hundred metres and the placings are reported, then off they go again. We. Ist have winners and losers every day in every way.

    John Lord, you sound a tad rattled, as if conservative politics and business propaganda has got through to you. Surely not?

    Polls are a profit stream which is part of the reason why the media push them. The risk for our ailing democracy is that voters with strong gambling instincts will vote for a win and the polls will be their form guide. To these voters, it’s not important who wins – what matters is that the voter backs the winner.

    I’m not a gambler and I view regular political polling as risking the subversion of our democracy. I do know that the Shorten team has high level political and social skills and extensive policy depth. If the ALP is elected I’m confident that we will experience the process of reconciliation – of rebuilding the nation’s belief in the common good, our collective worth and the overall decency of our culture. I have had a gutful of the Liberals pure nastiness, social division, and the unaccountable corporate greed that passes for society today.

    I’ll be voting for my grandchildren’s generation – they need our support.

  14. Terence Mills

    Here’s Paulines’s strategy :

    She realizes that her support for the government’s massive tax cuts to big business which obviously includes the banks [$80 billion in lost revenue over ten years] was not going down too well with the battlers in Longman where she wants to be the kingmaker for the Liberals.

    So, she shelves her support with a whole batch of feel good policies utterances and demands on the government.

    In the meantime, Cormann has been told by Turnbull to continue to schmooze Hanson and promise her anything : the government’s imperative is to get these tax cuts through to their mates before the election. They know that taking such a policy to the election would be fatal as the last thing the Australian electorate want is to see the top-end of town and the big banks getting a massive tax cut.

    When the Longman and other byelections are behind us Pauline will probably reverse her policy once again based on promises that Cormann will give her on just about anything.

    Remember, the one priority of this government is to get their corporate tax cuts through before the election, that is the one and only policy the coalition have – can you point to any others ?

  15. paul walter

    johno, he’s a charlatan and a fraud…Mr Bojangles.

  16. helvityni

    Well said Phil, once again.

    Are we doing what the Coalition wants us to do: throwing in the towel…?

  17. Keitha Granville

    Yes Phil, yes yes. Stop worrying about polls. Focus on the fact that the Labor party has policies, the LNP has slogans and stupid names.
    We have to keep the faith, we have to keep saying “when the Labor party is in power ” to anyone we meet. And can we please stop putting it all on to one person – Bill happens to be the leader, but if he was run over by a bus tomorrow the party policies would still be the same with a new leader. I am so tired of this presidential commentary. It’s the policies that matter, it’s the policies that we need to to put the spotlight on.
    The LNP has proved that the leader is irrelevant. I reckon we all thought they had done the right thing dumping TA and elevating Malcolm – how wrong can you be. At least we knew TA actually believed what he was saying.

    Policies, platform, ideas. That’s what matters.

  18. Rhonda

    What Keitha said.

  19. jimhaz

    Some news from today:

    “Australia has the highest level of temporary workers in the OECD”

    OECD average is 11.4% whereas Australia is 24.9%


    And they pretend they are looking after our interests. While primarily driven by the LNP the ALP is also complicit.

    I find a result like this to be very disgusting. The reason they get away with this crime is due to our extremely high levels of immigration – so employers do not have to have any form of loyalty to workers.

    Note that the UK’s total temporary employees was only 4.1% – and that country did Brexit

  20. Florence Howarth

    Police operate on the principle a persons need to know, not right to know. Many in government think this applies to politics as well.

    They are wrong. People, all people have the right to know what they are doing on our behalf.

    Time we the voter reminded them of this fact.

  21. John Lord

    Phil. Thanks for your comment. No I’m not rattled. Just a tad concerned. Polls believe it or not do have a good record in picking winners in Australian elections. It is getting harder though with people moving their allegiances from here to there. Their is an unpredictable element to everything.

    I should be able, given the nonsense of the last few years, be able to predict that Labor should win the next election by 15 to 20 seats.But I cannot do that with any degree of certainty.

  22. Kampbell

    “Australians do indeed have a love affair with political Polls…..”

    I feel that journalists have the love affair with polls.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Poll results are skewed because they only represent the opinions of the people who choose to take part. In my house, my children wouldn’t waste their time on it and my husband is too tired after work to bother with it. We get polled all the time and it is only ever me that agrees. The marriage equality saga encouraged many young people to enrol who may not be sufficiently represented in the polls. I know some of them publish age brackets but I am guessing Young Liberals and angry white supremacists are more likely to answer than social progressives.

  24. jimhaz

    [I feel that journalists have the love affair with polls]

    Yep, they are always desperate for something simplistic to write about. The number of poll stories during the Rudd-Gillard Power Wrestling Tag Team Event was astounding.

  25. 245179

    ALP listen intently here……promote wong as leader, albanese as deputy. You will romp it it next election, guaranteed. ( sorry bill, nice try….but no )

  26. My say

    Hanson really betters belief ,here she is trying to do a deal with the government saying she wants more for pensioners ,among other things ,really,with her help the government made cuts to pensions, Medicare, hospitals,schools, penalty rates ,and much more,
    Don’t be surprised by her sudden change of heart ,there are by elections coming up ,then she will do a triple backflip,
    And agree to the tax cuts ,with Some secret deals ,this woman is in politics for herself and around three dollars for every vote she gets she is a danger to Australia,vote he out in the by elections

  27. helvityni

    245179, Penny and Albo are my favourites too. ALL on the Labor side are so much better than ANY on the Coalition side…

  28. Jaquix

    I agree with Peter F, and not the author as to why the polls are tightening. There is no evidence whatsoever that Shorten has done anything lately to cause this change in figures. And nothing to show why the Coalitions figures should improve. The common denominator in all this is the MEDIA. Tedious but true. The media do not report properly on the dodgy and downright dangerous policies the Liberals are dealing us into. If they report on Labor at all, its negatively.

  29. ace Jones

    110% its the Media keeping hundreds of thousands blind
    murdoch is the pied piper of australian politics

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