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The polls are in search of some lasting credibility

The polls have always held a sort of weird fascination for me. Whether they are right or wrong doesn’t bother me much. What I am after is their confirmation of the truth I’m writing about.

There is not an area in public life, be it sport, leadership, commerce, or whatever, where performance is not a key indicator of one’s success or otherwise.

Using that criteria, you would think the Collation wouldn’t have a hope in hell of winning the next election.

Under Abbott, Turnbull and now Morrison, they, by any standard, have governed abysmally. So much so that they really don’t deserve to win.

It would be fair to say that a vote for the Coalition would be a reward for governance that doesn’t even approach mediocrity.

One then has to ask how come they are still favourites to win. Why is it so, one might ask?

Since the last debacle, those who conduct these polls have tweaked their differing methodologies to see if they can’t resurrect their combined reputations.

I propose looking at the last poll last year and then coming forward to reach the present.

The statistics and comments I quote throughout this piece will be from the noted polls blog of William Bowe of The Poll Bludger fame.

January 2021: Essential published their first poll for the year on leadership. It showed that “Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister goes from 50-24 to 51-25.”

The accompanying survey showed a remarkable increase in the view that Australia was doing enough to address climate change. One year ago, 19% thought that enough was being done to battle climate change (now 35%) and a corresponding decline in the view that not enough is being done (from 62% to 42%), with the “doing too much” response up two to 10%. Despite this, 58% of respondents believed climate change related to human activity (up two on a year ago), against 32% who considered it part of normal climatic fluctuation.

On Saturday, January 31, Newspoll released its first poll for the year, showing that the two major parties were 50/50. On personal ratings, Morrison is on 63 and Albanese on 43.

One of the oddities of political polling is trying to understand how 50% of the voting public would willingly return a party that has governed so abysmally.

On February 3, Essential showed that on a “2pp+: Labor was on 47 and the Coalition 44.”

In the same month, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate has been updated with the results. Currently, it records a slight Coalition lead of 50.4-49.6 and the beginning trend of a prolonged decline in Morrison’s net approval since its blowout in late March.

On Wednesday, February 17, 2021, the fortnightly Essential poll, which includes the pollster’s more-or-less monthly reading of the leadership ratings, recorded a four-point increase in Scott Morrison’s approval rating to 65% and a two-point drop in disapproval to 28%. Anthony Albanese is respectively down two to 40% and steady on 33%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister increases slightly, from 51-25 to 52-24.

Some countries (no names mentioned) make a habit of institutionalising mediocre minds.

Sunday, February 21, sees another poll from Newspoll. Bowe records that:

“It maintains its sedentary ways, which repeats the previous result three weeks ago to record a dead heat on two-party preferred. Labor is up a point on the primary vote to 37%, while the Coalition on 42%, the Greens on 10% and One Nation on 3% are all unchanged. Despite a seemingly tough week for Scott Morrison, he gains one on approval to 64% and drops one on disapproval to 32% and widens his lead as preferred prime minister from 57-29 to 61-26, as Anthony Albanese drops three on approval to 38% and rises two on disapproval to 45%.”

For more in-depth analysis, go to The Poll Bludger.

On the same day, The Poll Bludger published the results of Roy Morgan‘s regular federal voting intention. Its first findings for the year. In this case:

“Labor was credited with a bare lead of 50.5-49.5, from primary votes of Coalition 40%, Labor 34.5%, the Greens 13% and One Nation 3.5%… The poll was conducted over the previous two weekends online and by phone from a sample of 2824.”

Note: Roy Morgan uses face to face, internet and landline for its polling but not always at the same time.

So, we now have three pollsters in sync with each other. Is this an accurate picture of where the Nation is at politically?

Labor has just put its nose in front ahead 50.2-49.8.

Then on Wednesday, March 7, William Bowe had this to say:

“The conventional wisdom that the election would be held in the second half of this year, most likely around September, was disturbed by an Age/Herald report last week that the Prime Minister had ‘told colleagues to plan for two federal budgets before the Coalition government heads to the polls’.”

Then we had a new pollster hit the headlines. With a solid performance, YouGov was the only pollster that had published polling appear during the WA campaign. It should also be noted that the observation of local journalist Gareth Parker on ABC’s Insiders that Labor didn’t believe the strength of its internal polling, which proved in the event to be accurate.

We should all watch YouGov from now on. So far, it has achieved a satisfactory result in Queensland and an excellent one in Western Australia. It also has no priors to speak of.

Come March 14 Labor reports its best result for the year. Following a 50/50 result three weeks ago, Newspoll had Labor on 52 and the Coalition on 48. The Greens are steady at 10% and One Nation on 3%.

Wednesday, March 19, sees figures from both Roy Morgan and Essential. Roy Morgan shows Labor with a 50.5-49.5 lead on two-party preferred, unchanged from the last poll a month ago. The Essential survey is a research one and only touches on leadership and women.

Following are some results on the question of rape.

Thirty-seven per cent agree with Scott Morrison’s contention that an inquiry into the Christian Porter matter would “say the rule of law and our police are not competent to deal with these issues,” with 33% disagreeing.

Sixty-seven per cent felt it was “time women were believed when they say they have been assaulted,” but 62% also felt that “because the charge of rape is so serious, the burden of proof needs to be high” – a difficult circle to square.

Fifty-five per cent said there should be some form of independent investigation compared with 45%, who wanted an alternative proposition that “the police have said they will not be pressing charges and that should be the end of the matter.”

There wasn’t a question on his fitness to serve as a minister.

The BludgerTrack publishes a periodical aggregate. This one gives it to Labor which is now credited with a 51.2-48.8 lead on two-party preferred, following a dead heat when the numbers were last updated three weeks ago.

The Poll Bludger attempts to identify where women might have changed or affected Labor’s turn around along the way.

“The gender breakdowns notably fail to play to the script: Labor is credited with 51-49 leads among both men and women, which represents a four-point movement to Labor among men and no change among women. There is also nothing remarkable to note in Scott Morrison’s personal ratings, with deteriorations of 7% in his net rating among men and 8% among women.”

At the end of March, The Essential Report is trying to do the same. However, the real kicker is the accompanying gender breakdowns, which have Morrison steady at 65% approval and up two on disapproval to 30% among men, but down ten on support to 49% and up ten on disapproval to 40% among women.

However, on March 28, Newspoll records a 52/48 score to Labor. For the first time:

“Scott Morrison’s personal ratings have taken a hit: he’s down seven points on approval to 55% and up six on disapproval to 40%, comfortably his worst numbers since the onset of COVID-19. Anthony Albanese is up a point on approval to 43% and steady on disapproval at 41%, and his deficit on preferred prime minister has been cut from 56-30 to 52-32.”

This was the time of Lamingtons, upskirt photography and watches with unique timelines. Now the female factor had been recognised.

Then on Tuesday, April 20, another pollster enters the field:

“The Age/Herald have published their first poll of federal voting intention since the 2019 election. Dispensing with the services of Ipsos (who happened to be the least wrong pollster at the election), they have appointed Resolve Strategic, which is run by Jim Reed, who once worked for Coalition pollsters Crosby Textor.”

They come up with 38/33 to the Coalition until the preferences are added, for which they don’t give any criteria for how they are arrived at, then the result is 50/50. After all, that, are you any the wiser. Does it confirm any of my writing?

All I can say is that the Coalition are favourites to win the next election, but Labor is in with a show. Does any of The Poll Bludger‘s excellent analysis of the polls confirm anything that I write? Sadly, it doesn’t.

For a more in-depth analysis of what I have written, go to The Poll Bludger.

My thought for the day

The American conservative political strategy of painting everything as black as possible and then pretending it’s everyone’s fault, but theirs rings true. It seems Australians are falling for it. I thought we were brighter than that.

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  1. Baby Jewels

    No, we are not brighter than that. After the last three elections, we cannot possibly say that we are. It’s harsh, I know, but we’ve become the stupid country. At least the US only elected Trump once.

  2. Bert

    Mr Lord, it’s William Bowe not Bowie.

  3. New England Cocky

    When your hypothesis is your conclusion everything is possible.

    When your data collection involves ringing the same collection of landline telephone numbers during the day, thus biasing your result towards the middle aged householders, under-employed & unemployed too busy surviving the Robodebt & Centrelink demands for work searching to have time to be interested in politics, it is possible to get the same result every time …. that is if you bother to poll at all.

    Perhaps AIMN could approach a reputable (?) polling corporation to explain the methodology of these dodgy practices that are the delight of lazy scribblers at New Ltd mastheads.

    Sadly JL, I am inclined to agree with Baby Jewels ….. Australian media plays Australian voters for the media’s own best financial interests.

  4. Wam

    The polls ask for an opinion and a PHON opinion is as valid as any other extremist’s opinion. Your opinion is based on your idea of truth. So is Pauline’s based on her truth. The armed services and the police have a culture that has no place for your opinions and is firm in its truth that ‘Anzac Day’ belongs to them and we fought the left and are still fighting the left. Socialism will destroy our society. What about interpretation of opinions like ‘abyssmal’ and ‘mediocracy’ and consideration of that being preferred to labor and the greens? Thanks for your opinions, lord, whether they are true or not depends on the reader’s opinion and their interpretation of your understanding of facts. ps Did you have your thought before or after you wrote?
    ps NEC profit is in sex, violence and controversy and labor needs to find them in scummo and trade with the media. Shouldn’t be too hard, also?

  5. Phil Pryor

    It seems to me that people will not punish political inferiority and disgraceful performance if it reflects on them and penalises them. People’s pride is a peculiar subject for analysis and you cannot tell them they have been wrong or misguided, Having cleared land, abused nature, earned from filth and iniquity, having exploited, cheated, lurked and perked is no matter, for people have a basic righteousness of status, irrational or not. Thus, voters are ignorant because the alternative matters not, and may be discomforting. They are conservative and resort to impressions and putrid old attitudes, fearing change but certainly challenge or embarrassment at what they actually are. Example.., the 1980 election went to Fraser on the morning of the polling, as studies showed a flow of retarded attitude taking over. Much of this seems to have happened last election in Queensland and long ago in one of Hawke’s successes in re-election. Keating also had embedded the double tax effect of the gst in minds and may have swung the 1993 vote to him in the last hour, even as the pencil was poised. Further.., Jo B-J the master crooked operator got , say 26% of the vote but heaps of narrow attitude country seats. His allies got more votes, fewer seats, and the ALP got plenty of votes and wasted majorities in their few seats. You only need 50% of the vote plus one more, in 50% of the seats, plus one more, to run things with 26% of the vote. So, as Morrison’s Huns and Whores stand for the status quo, and job losses, climate change uncertainty, change, renavigation all are shoved in faces, conservatism may again see the perpetuation of the rottenness, like the dying lung cancer type lighting up again with an “oh, well”.

  6. Stephengb

    Forget the polls, Bill Shortens Labor lost the unloseable election in 2019.
    Why ! What is the winning formulae ?

    Lies, Lies and more Lies.

    It has been winning formulae since 2013, it has worked spectacularly in the USA, the UK and here.

    There is no doubt from my reading of social media that the voting public in the US, UK and here, is a 50/50 split between the ideological Left Right nonsense, when the real if ideology we should be fighting is the age old “many” versus the “few”.

    It started with Feudalism, but is now called Neoliberalism the New Feudal era begins.

  7. Lawrence Roberts

    The government is abysmal but the alternative doesn’t look much better~not even a climate target for 2030, maybe subconsciously the grey minds of The ALP do not see themselves being there. There is a proper poll in Tasmania coming up in May; The Murdoch Clan will be taking as much interest in it as you and I. Perhaps even more so because if there is a negative #ScoMo effect then they will have to unscrew the nut behind the wheel without too much fuss.

    50% of rusted on NatLibs are kept that way by a media that keeps them in fear. The visual headlines of terrestrial television is fire, flood, murder and mayhem from johnie foreigners. Morrison’s weird pronouncements to us, are full of buzz words and mannerisms designed to placate his anointed flock; designed to appeal to mammalian souls.

    The next Federal Election whether it comes early or late will be a messy affair. The Tories are cashed up and have much to lose, indeed some cabinet ministers may well lose their liberty.

  8. Michael Taylor

    Thank you, Bert. Have fixed.

  9. Florence Howarth

    Something that is consistent, in fact even during Shortens day is no number of don’t know. In Albanese, they have been in the high thirties, Morrison near single-digit percentages. As Albanese figures improve, have drop closer to went per cent.

    To me, this indicates many have made up their mind about Albanese. Opposite true for Morrison. Most have.

  10. Henry Rodrigues

    Despite the continuing disasters and fuckups by Scumbag and his incompetent bunch of arseholes, male and female, they get voted in again and again. It seems, as Phil Pryor reflects, voters are either too embarrassed or just plain defiant in the face of all the evidence that they made a wrong assessment in the last election and are determined not to be intimidated or persuaded to correct their mistake and do the right thing second time around. After all the voters don’t ever think they are wrong, the media keeps drumming into their soft heads that they are only ones who can make the right choice, after being thoroughly brainwashed by the same media.

    So much for an educated voting public. Probably the only major thing they think about is how much money will the government give them in the next round of stimulus payments. Nothing else registers in their feeble minds. They care very little about the environment, the fate of native animals, the polluting of our underground water table, the utter dependence on the export of fossil fuels, the demonization of little refugee girls on Christmas Island, the corruption of the public service and the law enforcement agencies, lining the pockets of their mates and donors to the government and the fact that Scummo couldn’t give a rat’s about the right treatment of women in our society. Enough that he is seen hands raised in rapture in some fundamentalist guise to give the impression that he is of the ‘right’ religious faith. And the ‘educated’ voters know whom to appoint the next time around.

    This is exactly what Murdoch and the rest of the media have engineered for the last three elections. The australian voter is not more intelligent or perseptive that those in the worst undemocratic dictatorships around the world.

  11. king1394

    Having occasionally been polled over the years, I have found that many of the questions are phrased in a biased fashion and also do not allow for an “other” answer. The person taking the poll cannot answer your questions or elucidate the grey areas. One’s answers are both directed and also hasty

  12. RosemaryJ36

    IMHO, many people fear change.
    What the socially conscious believers must do is explain how EVERYONE will benefit from the changes which are needed to combat global warming.
    That giving more to the poor benefits ALL OF US from the flow on effects.
    That handing out money is less helpful than is creating permanent jobs, but, when circumstances, such as we are now experiencing, which makes job creation in some areas too difficult, then those left out of the work force MUST be supported.
    Too much money is being converted into dividends for the wealthier share holders, while those who have lost their work as a consequence of government policies are being unfairly treated as if they are deserving of punishment.
    ALL of the government needs some empathy training!
    Polling is about as accurate as are our horoscopes.

  13. Stephengb

    Henry That’s exactly my point, it is not Left v Right, it’s the “few” v the “many”

  14. Bert

    Michael Taylor, you’re welcome. Consider me an unofficial proof reader, just as long as no one proof reads my proof reading.

  15. Michael Taylor

    Bert, you’ve got the job. 😀

    Be at our office 5:30 tomorrow morning. 😁

  16. Phil Pryor

    Henry R. notes a few views I expressed, but more could be said. Voters are not responding to an intelligence test, nor an interview for some reward. They are right, know what they know, accept, believe and want. Any progressivism may cost disturbance and money. Any alternative may reward inferior peo-ple, that is, not them or their believed level. Social democracy, socialism, welfare, etc, costs imagined heaps, and they may hate rewarding lesser types. People resent others getting a bit for nothing and hate falling behind the others anyway. One can vote for imagined acceptance of one’s superiority and status, and also one can vote out or down unwanted different ideas, plans, policies, changes. No-one much likes extreme change, war, debate, argument, all embarrassing. It is threatening. A vote is insidious and silent. People will knowingly ruin nature while weeping at T V ads of Koalas losing “homes.” How can we create a progressive, agreed, positive, cash supported attitude of steady, evolutionary change, repair, improvement, fairness? Some in the country resent the city, especially the domineering capital in each state. So there.., we do NOT own our banks, farms, finance, industry, media, foreign policy, mining, but we do own our ignorant opinions and we VOTE.

  17. Stephengb

    Phil Pryor
    You are right and that is also why I advocate a change in narrative, the old Left V Right, commie v capitalist narrative separates everyone who should be voting for the collective and not the individual.

    The Neoliberal Agenda loves the Left v Right, it divides the very people who would fight injustice and inequality but are too busy destracted with the false flags, the current Left v Right both of whom are as neoliberal as each other, the Left being a cap shift Title case Neoliberal rather than the Right caps lock NEOLIBERAL.

    Both the Left and Right are wedded to ‘privatisation’, ‘individual responsibility’, ‘deregulation’, and the so called ‘free market’. The choice is just less or more but we realy need to focus on the Neoliberal Agenda not their false flags.

  18. Henry Rodrigues

    Phil Pryor, Stephenb.. We have right now a fear of change, fostered and drilled into the febrile imaginations of insecure people who have been indoctrinated by any, however vague, perceptions that the incumbents know best how to tide us over the hard times yet to come. This is validated day in and day out by the media who almost to a man and woman, perpetuate the view that only the party of capitalists knows how to run an economy as opposed to the ‘socialists’ who are there to give handouts to any and everyone. They’ve been brainwashed to such an extent that they are literally afraid to even consider of an alternative view. I suspect that the media employs psychologists (propagandists) to frame their arguments to unwitting basically unsophisticated, voters. As Stephenb points out it, takes only 1% to change course.

    Shades of Goebbels !!!

  19. Phil Pryor

    Henry mentions the employment of psychologists by media.., depth psychology is old,and Vance Packard gave illustations and examples of its uses for good and evil. E G., the Colgate people were thus told that people do not clean their teeth sensibly and with routine, but do clean in the morning (useless) to get rid of pong, the stink of tobacco, alcohol, food residue. So they sold heaps more using the slogan ” it gives you a ring of confidence” i e., you will not be rejected for ponging. Halitosis defeated! And, when red and pink salmon outsold all other brands, the white salmon producers got a depth psychologist to come up with this.., “buy our white clean salmon, guaranteed not to turn pink in the can”!! One is induced to go deep into large stores, investigate for oneself over a long time, lucky to find a half trained assistant, all to seduce into an interior coloured in womb like textures and barely lit enough. Depth psychology has sold the inferior to the gullible. Never have we been so fettered in an age of illusory freedom, we electronic peasants.

  20. Henry Rodrigues

    Depth psychology seems appropriate, Phil. Example, preaching to the herd who are very dense and societally conditioned to follow the one in front, something like entering the milking shed in a queue, no shoving or pushing or elbowing the others. Perfect control.

  21. Lawrence Roberts

    Psychology: I was in the U.K. when Thatcher got elected for the first time, against the run of the play. The British Conservative Party had invested a lot of money in an advertising agency with more psychologists than copy writers and also included statisticians. They delineated winnable seats and floating voters. one example; Tradies where identified as early adopters, men whose fathers probably voted Labour but could be expected to change with the incentive of paying less tax.

    Two Australians, Crosby and Textor have had a hand in all subsequent elections and are employed by the LNP for federal elections.
    I wish Anthony Albanese well but wonder if he and the back room boys and girls of The ALP have the bottle to beat the incumbent.
    Politicians have put themselves In disfavour with the electorate for many reasons. A great part of the electorate find the process a waste of time. The LNP can be expected to play dirty pool again; they have much to lose as does The Clan Murdoch.

  22. Max Gross

    Let’s face it, half the country is made up of gullible fools, indifferent numpties and disgusting dickheads. And that won’t change while Merde Orc maintains his toxic mass media stranglehold.

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