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Up The Opinion Polls

If we are to take the latest Fairfax Poll at face value and try to analyse the sudden voter turnaround it conjures up a number of possibilities. Those on the right might argue that’s its all the bad news that has confronted Labor since Christmas. One writer lists the following.

Craig Thomson finally got arrested. Other union identities (Williamson, etc) going through their own court proceedings, legal issues, etc. In NSW, two senior former ALP ministers, Eddie Obeid and Ian McFarlane, are in ICAC accused of defrauding NSW of $75 million. Nova Perris “captains pick” looked tokenistic. Long-standing Senator Trish Crossin dumped in the trash through no fault of her own. Makes Gillard look ruthless. PM announces longest election-campaign in the nation’s history. If nothing else, it seemed “weird”. Two senior ministers resign days later. This terrible timing is a strong indicator that they had no idea Gillard was about to announce election-date. Suggestive of secretive and dysfunctional cabinet. Treasurer Swan finally admits that the surplus he promised 200 times won’t be delivered.

If we accept these as legitimate reasons (and they are) then we also need to look at what the electorate is prepared to reject in order to strike a balance. So if this poll is correct it also means (given the margins involved) that the electorate has overwhelming rejected every government policy. Let’s go through them at the same time remembering that the Coalition has none. Well other than a maternity leave policy that economists say is unaffordable. Considering this point is important if we are to understand voting intentions. Otherwise the voter is being asked to make a decision based on incomplete information. If this is so, how seriously do we take this poll? Is it actually saying that the electorate fundamentally rejects all of the following policies in favour of Mr Abbott’s unknown ones? That none has any merit and that they don’t care what his policies are. They will accept them anyway. I think not.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for a price on carbon. This in spite of the fact that it is bedded down and working well. They are prepared for the opposition to rip it up in favour of a plan that economists and environmentalists say will not work. And they are even prepared to go to a double dissolution.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for a broadband network of the standard the government is building and would be happy with a Mickey Mouse network that the experts say is inferior.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for a better and more equal education system for their children and think that the Gonski report is not worthy of implementation despite it receiving loud applause from academics and the public. Remember the Coalition had said they are happy with the current system.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for an NDIS and are happy with the status quo. Again this policy has received widespread community support. The Coalition while supporting it say it is not in their immediate plans.

They would overwhelmingly forgo any possibility that gay folk would ever achieve marriage equality.

They would overwhelmingly forgo any possibility that Australia might ever become a republic with its own head of state. Not even a plebiscite.

They overwhelmingly think it’s fine for families to lose their school hand outs that help to pay for school fees etc.

They overwhelmingly accept that a large portion of the population (3.6 million and mainly women) will have their taxes increased.

They overwhelmingly say that they are not interested in a 3% increase in their superannuation.

They overwhelming think its fine for the Opposition to rip up the Murray Darling agreement.

They overwhelmingly reject the Government’s handling of the economy which most observers believe to be amongst the best in the world. If not the best.

They overwhelmingly want to get rid of the mining tax despite it having the potential, repeat, potential to spread the wealth of the nation.

They overwhelmingly could not care less that between 13,000 and 20,000 public servants will lose their jobs.

So they have decided overwhelmingly to reject all this even without an Opposition card on the table.

Now I could probably go on and some might also add some other policy areas but these suffice to make my point.

And of course we have a judge finding that members of a political party (The LNP) conspired with James Ashby to use the courts to bring a false claim against the speaker of the house with the eventual intent of bringing down the government. Do I take it that this means nothing to the electorate?

Or do I argue that the average punter has not yet had enough information to make a considered judgement and the ramifications of what a vote for the coalition might mean in real terms? Is the poll seriously suggesting that the electorate has already overwhelmingly rejected all of these policies? That none are worth a pinch? Could it mean that they don’t care and they simply dislike a women in The Lodge and are prepared to forgo any policy at all? It could also mean that the bias of the press and the media in general has been extremely persuasive. And how does one explain the turn a round in the popularity of Tony Abbott from one the most disliked opposition leaders ever, to being more popular than the Prime Minister? You simply cannot.

So all this is strange. There was a Morgan Poll after Christmas that showed the government one percentage point behind the opposition. Was it so far out as to be worthless? On the Café Whisper’s blog in the piece There’s something odd about the Nielson Poll the writer lists in chronological order the political events since Christmas and suggests that there is nothing out of the ordinary that might be a reason for Labor’s demise in the polls. I agree, except that the manner in which the media reported them demonstrated a bias that colours the public’s perception of both the Prime Minister and her Government. The resignation of two ministers was but one example. The media response to this was a complete and utter disgrace and the ABC were at the forefront. And of course there is the ever present Rudd challenge that has developed into some sort of media fetish. Every article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but there is little of it and they are full of unsupported statements. It has reached the point in this country where the media believes its own unsubstantiated bullshit. It has gone from reporting news to making it and in the process prostituted itself.

Could it be that opinion polls are about a perception in time and not a reality of it? Going by this one, hundreds of thousands of people came back from their Christmas holidays after giving much of their time to deep thoughts on the political process and decided that Tony was a good bloke after all. If I were a swinging voter how could I reasonably be expected to say who I might vote for? I would inclined to say: “More info please”.

Opinion polls are now the news. Bring on the next one. WHOOPS, sorry I said that.

And an afterthought. Why not simply ask this question: “How to you think the Coalition’s policies stack up against the governments?” That might confuse the punters.

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  1. Catching up

    John, I believe you left NBNco out.

    I read today, described as another Liberal Chaotic policy.

    If the ABC is correct and support for the PM is ebbing away, I have a problem. I will need to find a godd independent. Will have no choice.

    All that the Greens did today, is acknowledge that the PM has completed all they agree to. Yes, the Greens have been voting against Labor for awhile.

    ABC 24. Talk about a beat up.

    The Greens will support the budget bills. Will not vote the PM out. Therefore the agreement is still in force. What will happen. they will no longer have input into new legislation. So I do not understand what Milne is about. Her actions will also please Labor.

    The agreement, not alignment as some call it, has run its course.

    John, the trouble is, thanks to the MSM, many do not know what they have gained from this government, or what they have to lose.

    If I was one of those million persons that do not have to even fill in the yearly taxation forms, I would be asking why it this so.

    John, do you believe the hip pocket nerve will win out in the end?

  2. captain51

    John., McDonald not Ian McFarlane..

  3. el gordo

    ‘They overwhelmingly reject the need for a price on carbon.’

    It does seem like a huge amount of financial pain for no gain.

  4. Truth Seeker

    John, great article and I think you have hit the nail on the head when you mentioned perception.

    And then we have Iain doing exactly what the MSM are doing, passing opinion as fact. 🙁

    Cheers 😀 😀

  5. Tom of Melbourne

    Remember – oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them

    That’s simply the political reality, and the ALP has been beneficiaries of this in the past. Howard lost in 2007 largely because he was seen as dishonest, putting his political interests in front of his public obligations.

    Many people are now reasonably exercising a similar judgement about the current government.

    When people believe they’re being governed by a group of self interested, disconnected hacks of dubious honesty, they won’t put up with it.

    Even when some try to remind them that it’s all for their own good!

    The polls simply reflect reasonable public disaffection on similar standards they applied the Howard government.

    The only hope for the government (and the ALP) is to return to Rudd, give themselves a chance of winning, or retaining a level of representation… and then spend 3 years purging the poison from the party organisation.

  6. Iain Hall

    John as much as I can see you are wearing your heart on your sleeve here I think that its not at all about some of the ALP’s ideas,many of which have some merit its very much more about their seeming inability to deliver on those grand notions. I suggest that you listen to the latest counterpoint piece(a 9.5 mg MP3) about the woes of the ALP because I think it sums up very succinctly why the party has failed so miserably in government and why they are going to suffer such a terrible defeat.

  7. John Lord

    I did mention the NBN catching up. To early to say on the hip pocket. I would rather wait until the electorate is confronted with a comparison. although Abbott may not give them one.

  8. Jenny

    Sadly Tom most people base their opinions on what they read in newspapers or hear on tv because they have worked all day and are too tired or disinterested to research beyond mainstream media. As the media is owned by a small group of people with vested interests it is very hard to get the truth out there. Our economy is one of the best in the world and continuing to grow, unemployment is low, debt is minimal compared to GDP, increases in wages have outstripped increases in cost of living, low income earners have been compensated by an increase in the tax free threshold, we have the beginnings of a NBN and NDIS, carbon emissions have reduced and industry is doing the research and development to set us up to be competitive in the global market which is increasingly moving towards carbon pricing…I could go on and on. Please look past the headlines and polls

  9. Tom of Melbourne

    I don’t think so Jenny.

    There are legitimate concerns about the honesty of this government and its leadership, just as there was in 2007.

    The public opprobrium is turning on this government, it’s not much use complaining. People don’t like noxious odours, and there is plenty of that around this government. It’s not much use blaming the media, any more than it was when the other side was complaining about media bias in 2007.

    I think the public exercises more independence of mind than you give it credit for.

  10. rabbits22

    Hopefully people will not vote against their best interests.

  11. Buff McMenis

    My Facebook reaction to this was … John, I give you ONE word for this Blog …BRAVO!

  12. TB Queensland

    Howard lost in 2007 largely because he was seen as dishonest, putting his political interests in front of his public obligations.

    And that’s WHY the Liberal Party (and their mouthpieces – like you) perpetrated the Juliar concept … the only difference being that, The Rodent was a liar as is Tony Abbott (and we can prove that over and over and over again … one of the reasons I haven’t seen it on TDT for sometime!) …

    AND

    If you check out the achievements of the Rudd and Gillard govenmrnt’s legislation, infrastructure, GFC barrier etc … compared to 12 years of Howard … the political interests of the government were for the people (not corporate cronyism) … the infighting in the ALP is truly disgusting the worst I’ve ever seen in my many years as a voter … but the outcomes of the Parliament – especially with a hung Parliament are outstanding compared to the stagnation of the Howard government …

    Having said all that … I would have great difficulty in voting for the ALP after 40 years of supporting them …

    What strikes me though is that supporters of the Liberal Party are either really, really dumb or don’t care that a dummy like Tony Abbott may represent the country overseas as our PM … that says a lot about Liberal supporters like ToM …

    Rather than pushing for a Rudd return to power … Libs should be pushing for a Turnbull return to power … at this stage a week in polotics is a long time!

  13. Rob

    FEED BACK LOOP – AN EXPLANATION OF THE TURN IN THE POLLS

    So the news papers commission opinion polls, then report on them with a constant theme of leadership change, then take another poll regarding leadership change then report on the poll through the view of leadership change.

    How many times does this feedback loop need to happen before we have a result like these polls?

    The Age was awash with unimaginative leadership drivel today. They are generating their own news.

  14. mrharmony60

    Totally agree with all this. But politics is all about perception, and the Coalition (aided & abetted by a compliant media) have convinced the punters that this govt is totally inept, incompetent, & lacking any vision. Never underestimate the power of large numbers of politically ill informed people wielding a vote. Abbott won’t win govt, Gillard will lose it. I call Abbott the Terminator of Oz politics, because he’s unbeatable. You can’t use facts, truth, or reason against this guy. The Newman experiment will be replicated on a national scale..

  15. reb

    Gillard is doomed. Anyone who thinks she can win the next election is living in La-La land…

  16. Sandra Searle (@SandraSearle)

    John, you have hit the nail on the head.

    What I will be waiting for is the head to head debate on all of the issues you have mentioned here. That will definitely sort things out, especially if they have 3 head to head debates. They have to have the debates on television. I think then people will be able to see and hear what this gov. has accomplished and the MSM will not be able to hide behind their own concoctions of opinionated rubbish.

    Hold your nerve PM, you have the courage. Your cabinet needs to stand 100% behind you. All of this stuff is being driven by the LNP brigade with the aide of the MSM and the PM knows this.

    Folks, don’t panic, just stay focused.

  17. Bob Lloyd

    Great article John. Enjoy reading all your posts.
    Perception is the name of the game as others have said here. Hence the way the print media set up their front pages, report on polls, never report on any of the numerous positive initiatives introduced by the government, present opinion as fact. The same is true of TV media in terms of lead stories and the seemingly endless political shows on Sky that have now double in time on screen and increased number of shows etc and of course the disgrace that is Question Time. The opposition ensure that QT is noisy and chaotic because this is what people see or hear. They continually repeat the 3 word slogans. It is such a shame that we do not have late night TV shows as in the US that put a progressive or in their case liberal point of view. And with Murdoch and Rhinehart in charge of print media, no help there. With the Guardian on-line coming soon there should be a more balanced reporting of events and journalists like Lenore Taylor who will have a go at the conservatives.

  18. Truth Seeker

    Sandra, well said, and i have given my thoughts about the reasoning behind the right wing hysteria in the preamble to my poem just posted.

    reb, 🙄 blah blah blah 🙁

  19. Miglo

    Well I must be living in La-La Land. I’ve been around long enough to have seen people lose the unlosable election. I’ll make my call a bit closer to September 14.

  20. andyrob

    “There are legitimate concerns about the honesty of this government and its leadership”

    Tom, you don’t believe, like so many people do, that some in the LNP have something to answer as well. But where is the MSM on the subject???

    Ashbygate just stinks. So you don’t beleive a federal judge either??

    I just can not see how some of the crap the MSM go on about (glasses for instance, gees Abbott had them on the next day and nothing) can be more important than a cout attempt.

  21. Tom of Melbourne

    Andyrob, I’d be entirely happy for newspapers to report on any and all political shenanigans.

    But people don’t trust Gillard, and that isn’t the fault of media reporting, it is based on their actual experience. There is plenty of legitimacy about the view that many people have formed about her.

    I really don’t understand why people can be so elitist to express the view that they are immune from manipulation, but others aren’t. Apparently (for example) I’m manipulated by the media, but you aren’t. Really?

    Generally, the public liked and respected Rudd, when he was knifed the ALP was in front 52-48 2pp. The public have not forgiven those that are now tainted by the political coup. Because of this deep disaffection, they are receptive to examples of Gillard’s dishonesty. I don’t blame them, and there are plenty of examples.

  22. johnlord2013

    So Tom. this then requires a character comparison between the two. What do you think of the characteristics of Abbott and what redeeming features do you think he has that would make him a better PM?

  23. andyrob

    UM, Perhaps if they reported, on the main pages not way down in a little piece, people may have a different opinion.

    And I am not elitist, I am a working class man and proud of it and don’t believe in the capitalistic monopolism that big business represents. All for small business and the help they have been provided by the current government. Shame the MSM can not report that, it is not alarmest I guess.

    It is all the crap, negative reporting/opinions that people hear/see that creates the dislike and therefore the opinion polls, which are run by the papers and with their loaded questions.

    Migs, perhaps you should start running some online polls with unloaded questions. I would not mind being proven wrong.

  24. andyrob

    JL +1

  25. Tom of Melbourne

    I’ve pointed out on other occasions that I don’t support Abbott. I’ve opted out, for several elections I have given my preferences to independents etc and placed the Liberals and ALP equal- usually equal 4 or 5.

    So I don’t feel any need at all to explain why I prefer Abbott- because I don’t.

    I have also previously said that I used to be an active member of the ALP, but that it is now a party in need of major structural reform.

    The only way to achieve reasonable parliamentary representation (perhaps even form government) and reform is to return to Rudd. If the ALP return Rudd to the leadership, they would have my active support.

    So please don’t bother to compartmentalise me as an Abbott supporter simply because I think Gillard is dishonest and a dismal failure as leader.

  26. Natalie

    Foreign Correspondent last night reported on the unusual and seemingly successful comeback of Silvio Berlusconi, despite having outstanding criminal fraud charges and other trials pending.

    The fact that he controls 80% of the countries media was only treated as a side issue.

    People are dumb and easily manipulated. You don’t think commercial entities spend huge budgets on advertising just for the hell of it ???

    Scare the shit out of the stupid people.

  27. Truth Seeker

    Natalie, dead right, and that is the reason that communist regimes and despots always try to control the media. Likewise when a military coup takes place, the first thing that they take control of is the media!

    Control the media and you control what the masses think! 👿

    Scary isn’t it that people like Murdoch and Rinehart are ruining our democracy, and pulling Abbotts strings for their own benefit and agendas.

    And what is even more scary is that they are becoming more and more blatant, and yet many don’t seem to care :mrgreen:

    Cheers 🙂

  28. Janice Ford.

    You know what the trouble with your article is?It is way too succinct,reasonable ,sensible and you haven’t managed to belittle the PM and denounce every policy that the ALP have managed to get through the Parliament.Please lift your game.Other than that–what a great article.

  29. Crash Skeptic

    John, there is a HTML tag called “blockquote”. It can be used to clearly distinguish your words from others you are quoting.

    Also, you left it out, but I did also mention Wayne Swan got caught out making false claims in leaflets:

    Swan also caught out sending out pamphlets (with taxpayer funds) to dozens of electorates that falsely claimed “We delivered the surplus as promised.” Swannie apparently doesn’t know the difference between present and future tense – forecasting a surplus is not the same as delivering a surplus.

    And in my original post, I wrote “MacFarlane” when I should have written “Macdonald”.

  30. Mary Spencer

    Miss Gillard & Mr. Abbott should be ashamed of how this country is been run bring back Kevin Rudd he is the best

  31. robertstephenson

    Rudd is a BULLY. Abbott is a bully. In a world where we are fighting against the works of bully people you want to reward them? I think not. Rudd lost his way and lost his way again when he thought his bullying could win back his position… Now Abbott, Hockey and the filthy man Pyne think bullying will get them in the big chair. No. At the moment Australia is not only being well government but the future plans are all looking pretty bloody bright. The only people saying Australia is BAD is the LNP and the media entities who are funding them.

  32. robertstephenson

    When it is clear media entities are not only making up news to suit themselves, and all want to raise the mantle of ‘Look at us, we brought down a government’ I am unnaturally aware that the ALP could lose an election because the media have their money firmly placed in the LNP pockets. It doesn’t take a very clever person to see who would benefit greatly if the ALP lost. Mining Companies would go back to pay fewer taxes and getting more government hand outs to help bolster profits. Howard actually gave millions to mining companies so they would mine, and the mining companies clapped their hands with glee while posting Billions in profits. Who owns the media companies? Oh, that is right, the owners of the outlets are all Liberal supporters and do profit greatly from Liberal policies. The Howard government basically sold the majority of Australia down the river when he allowed only one or two people to own all the media voices in Australia… What will you get with Tony Abbott? Nothing. The only thing he is promising is punishment for making him wait for so long to be PM — the man is more than misogynistic (and yes the PM was correct – the media are the one trying to rewrite the meaning) he takes every opportunity to promote the fact he is a man, he gets media coverage to show he does manly things, and to show up the PM as being ONLY a woman, and only a real man can do the right job.

  33. el gordo

    ‘Rudd is a BULLY. Abbott is a bully.’

    I haven’t heard that Abbott is a bully, you’re just making shit up, but I agree that Rudd is a renowned bully.

    That’s why I hope the back bench revolt and choose clean skin Gary Gray for PM.

  34. Pingback: Welcome to the war | Café Whispers

  35. 730reportland

    ” Gillard is doomed. Anyone who thinks she can win the next election is living in La-La land “
    .
    ln other word reb, you`re saying Mr-Rabbit can`t lose.?
    l remember John Hewson falling arse-backward into his birthday cake.
    l won`t be surprised by any out-come in 2013, including another minority govt. l would just add that small `L` liberals have been left behind by what is now a teabag party,
    (thanks to John-W Howard,)
    who won`t be voting for Mr-Rabbits zombies, but are now putting them last.

  36. Peter

    As I highlighted in a previous post, this poll merely confirms the trends of other polls over the past few weeks.

    Nielsen: 56 – 44% to Coalition (16 Feb)
    Morgan Poll: 56 – 44% to Coalition (12 Feb)
    Essential Research: 55 – 45% to Coalition (10 Feb)
    Newspoll: 56 – 44% Coalition (02 Feb)
    Galaxy: 54 – 46% to Coalition (02 Feb)
    Essential Research: 54 – 46% to Coalition (Jan 27)

    The reason this poll received so much more attention, and the reason why ALP MPs are thinking about the leadership again is that up until this point, Gillard had retained her edge as preferred PM (even though Labor trailed badly). Gillard and her team maintained to a nervous ALP backbench that her advantage over Abbott as preferred PM would, as the election drew closer inevitably see the ALP vote bounce back. Now her one advantage has disappeared.

    These polls merely reflect the awful mis-steps of Gillard since the start of the year – blunders of her own doing.

    As a number of media commentators have noted, the Libs were just as divided over Abbott, but parties that are winning, are united. The moral vacuum that remained around Labor is a direct result of Gillard’s inability to lead the party with any conviction. The scars of how she assumed the Prime Ministership have never resolved and the ALP is split.

    Blaming the media is a scapegoat. These polls are horrendous – and would see Labor lose between 25-30 seats. The media are currently being fed by a caucus that leaks – reflecting the sheer panic of a sizeable number of ALP MPs. Gillard’s admonishment to the caucus earlier this year not to leak to the media – was leaked to the media!

  37. Miglo

    Hi Peter. What are these blunders?

  38. reb

    What are these blunders?

    – Treatment of Julian Assange; specifically announcing that he had acted “illegally” when he hadn’t.

    – Caving in on the mining tax.

    – The Internet filter.

    – The compulsory internet data retention policy.

    – Craig Thomson “a line has been crossed” (and something about “molecules”)

    – Mining in The Tarkine instead of Tourism.

    – Kids in mandatory detention.

    – The whole sorry saga of offshore processing for asylum seekers and chasing the racist redneck vote.

    – Pandering to religious rightwing extremists like Jim Wallace – reassuring him that religious groups can continue to discriminate against gays.

    – Cutting support to single parents and letting the unemployed live in poverty.

    – Appointment of Peter Slipper (epic fail masquerading as “clever politics”)

    – Welching on deal with Andrew Wilkie.

    – Lashing out at the Greens as “extremists”.

    – And of course, the biggest blunder of them all – knifing Kevin Rudd.

  39. Miglo

    I actually agree with a number of those, reb. 🙁

  40. reb

    It’s ok Migs….

    I think many people feel let down by Gillard…

    It’s a shame really, and a major lost opportunity…

    She could’ve been so much more; with a more humane approach to asylum seekers and dragging Australia into the 21st century on marriage equality, but she seems determined to chase the redneck vote.

    Pity really, because I don’t think that “the rest of Australia” really wants more “nasty politics”.

  41. Peter

    Blunder 1: Budget Surplus
    Building ones entire economic credibility, (in a period of economic uncertainty) around a key criteria that is incredibly difficult to plan – a budget surplus. The criteria Gillard said she should be judged on, she then had to “re-educate” us why that criteria is difficult to be judged on because budget revenues can be difficult to predict. Why would one set up a criteria for success or failure on an aspect of the budget which is open to big fluctuations. Crazy, stuff. Polls now show Coalition lead ALP on economic competence 50 – 26%.

    Blunder 2: Captain’s pick: Novas Peris
    How to cause dissension within the NT Labor party and within the broader Labor party. Doug Cameron admonished the PM. Indigenous voices were split on Novas – many Indigenous ALP members were particularly upset that a non-member get ushered into the top spot. The fact that Trisha was a supporter of Rudd added to the sense of division. What was supposed to be a “good” news item ended up highlighting the fractious divisions within the party.

    Blunder 3: Resignations
    If Gillard knew of the coming resignations for more than 12 months, why didn’t they occur in November when the new Ministers would have had time to come to grips with their portfolios over Xmas and there would have been enough time between that and the election date. Announcing the election – and two days later having a number of high-profile ministers retiring gives the sense of rats leaving the sinking ship (irrespective of whether that is true or not). Throughout last year, there was (legitimate) talk of older MPs retiring including Crean, Macklin etc. This allowed the media to ask whether there were any more resignations to occur – not the sort of questions you want when you have just announced an election.

    Blunder 4: MRRT
    Firstly Swan tried to hide the amounts that were raised – which was in the papers for a week or so (why won’t Swan release this info). The Greens/Coalition forced this out. It was an embarrassing amount. Not enough to cover the commitments that were to be funded from it. Far from fixing the mining tax Gillard’s fixes saw the tax implode. The Coalition pushed the narrative that Gillard is incapable of putting together a policy that does what it says it will. When the message coming from the Govt was all about policy – this showed the ALP were unable to put together their own policy.

    Blunder 5: Caucus leaking
    Gillard knows her caucus leaks. If you know this, you don’t admonish your colleagues in caucus not to leak. What happened, the media were informed that Gillard pleaded with them not to leak to the media. The public saw a leader who doesn’t have the loyalty of her colleagues and showed her weakness within the party.

    Blunder 6: Wayne Swan
    Within a week, Swan left open the possibility of tax rises? A few hours later he had to send out a clarification. Swan has to clarify the correct unemployment rate. Swan has performed poorly this year. This was a bad look for the Government – they were own goals and allowed the Coalition to be all over the media feeding the perception that taxes could rise.

    Blunder 7: Anti-discrimination legislation
    Gillard promising to Jim Wallace that she’d ensure religions will still be able to discriminate against gays and lesbians was an awful look. Lots of ALP MPs openly attacked this, the left of the Party went balistic. Cameron went on the radio to advise that the PM should not be promising things which have not gone to caucus. Left commentators attacked Gillard mercilessly for this. Mainstream Australians are uncomfortable with Wallace’s extreme positions and seeming influence. The media was filled with progressive commentators talking about the ALP losing its “values”. Media articles appeared highlighting the discrimination of gays and lesbians in Catholic schools. Gillard’s main problem is that people see her as politically insincere, this continued that perception of her.

    Bad Timing. Thompson
    Terrible communications to set the date of the election – to be followed up by the Thompson arrest. This was a potent reminder for many voters of the “sleazy” nature of the current Parliament. To be followed the next day by Ministers resigning.

    One can’t blame Abbott or the media. Abbott has been largely absent – clever enough to stand back and let the ALP do this to themselves.

    After nearly 2 months of bad polls, and the latest that revealed that the ALP’s main electoral strategy of targeting the hated Abbott is now dead after Abbott is now the preferred PM – the fragile ALP has shattered.

    And we are only in February!

  42. robertstephenson

    I think confirming you are an arse does help

  43. Miglo

    My own biggest disappointment with the Govt is its demonstrated eagerness to chase the redneck vote. Govts have been doing this with much gusto since 2001.

  44. reb

    Indeed Migs…

    Are there really that many rednecks out there to chase…?

    I mean apart from “all of Queensland” of course, which is a given…

    Melbourne is the height of sophistication. No rednecks here.

  45. Miglo

    Yes, there is a perception – incorrect in my belief – that the redneck community is a vast body of swinging voters. It worked for Howard in 2001 and governments/oppositions insist on pandering to them.

  46. el gordo

    ‘…that the redneck community is a vast body of swinging voters.’

    The non-rusted-on are not rednecks. Swinging voters actually think before casting their vote.

  47. el gordo

    They have left it too late for Rudd, the electorate crave political stability and I doubt whether the Ruddster can provide it.

  48. reb

    “Abbott is now the preferred PM – the fragile ALP has shattered.”

    Agreed.

    The party that had “lost its way” under Rudd is now a train wreck under Gillard.

    She’s finished.

    There’s no way Labor can win the election under Gillard.

    Their only hope is Rudd. And they may have already left it too late for that.

  49. 730reportland

    The pre-depressed Lefty`s seem to be chuck`in it in with the election 7 months away. Don`t you Lefty`s realize most of the public won`t start listening to political stuff until sometime in August. lgnore the noise-polls.

  50. Peter

    @730reportland. Disagree. The Gillard brand has been formed and cemented in the community’s mind over many years – everything this government does is assessed through this predetermined prism. The level of vitriol between Gillard and Abbott has meant Australians have been engaged whether they want to or not.

    Australians hate minority governments, they want strong government. Swing voters will move decisively to Abbott/Liberals as their strong lead in the polls means they represent the party most likely to win a strong mandate. Most Australians could not stomach another 3 years of a hung parliament.

  51. 730reportland

    ” Australians hate minority governments,”
    l don`t know about that.
    l`m finding Aussies all over the place,
    (on-line and off-line) who would Love to see another `minority`
    Govt, and see Mr-Rabbit and Joolya miserable for another 3 years. Do you really believe the `truthy-ness` of the noise-polls.?

  52. robertstephenson

    More has been done during this minority government than at anytime when a government had the majority. I live in wonder at what people are talking about when they say Australia is in ruin, and that the government is in tatters and nothing is being done. I have to ask, where the hell have you lot been for the last three years. Obviously believing the media is for certain and when you consider Andrew Bolts is often quoted as the font of all that is NON biased, it is little wonder ignorance does take precedence at the moment. Back at the start of last year I said Julia and Labor would win government by a mere 5 seats, maybe 3 and this is a historical basis for this. Labor has won government when its opinion polls have been 44%-47% and the Liberal have lost an election when they have had polls up to 56% in their favour. Another hung parliament would be ideal, as it would mean more getting done right in this country and less of the party line stuff that jumps all over the place. While it will be a close call, I do think Julia Gillard will remain our PM, and rightly so from where I stand.

  53. 730reportland

    Don`t believe zombie-media robert, they are full of shit.

  54. Peter

    Four different polling organisations across five different polls over the last 6 weeks have all come to the same conclusion – Labor’s primary vote is the low 30s with a 2PP 45-55 split. This is a NSW/Qld style melt-down. You may want to dismiss the polls. It seems the panic in Labor MPs ranks about the seriousness of the decline in the vote suggest they are less sanguine about these things than you. As Crean stated: “It’s a wake-up call isn’t it? You can’t gild the lily”.

    robertstephenson: in the polls, the Labor vote was 26%. ICAC continues to destroy the Labor brand. The huge swings against Labor in Sydney alone – will see Gillard’s government fall. Tasmania is another state where the Labor vote is crashed – with the ALP easily losing 3 of 4 seats. The Financial Review did a marginal seats poll – the Labor vote is tracking worse in marginals than the main polls. The AFR’s marginal seats poll had Labor easily losing 18 seats, alone.

  55. Fed up

    The most that polls show, is peoples reaction to events occurring at this time.

    They do not project what people will do on Sept. 14.

    Cannot, as much will happen between now and then, to shape voting intentions.

  56. Tom of Melbourne

    The government’s political strategy can be summarised as ”let’s hope Abbott trips up”

    That isn’t a strategy to win, that’s a strategy to get beaten.

    The best hope is that the parliamentary ALP returns Rudd to the leadership. This will allow both electoral success and provide desperately need impetus for structural reform.

    A reformed ALP would be a party worth supporting, a moribund ALP deserves unrelenting, severe criticism.

  57. Fed up

    The PM has been on the front foot from the beginning of the year. The PM is taking the fight up to Mr. Abbott.

    How is this relying on Abbott tripping over.

    It is more like setting the scenario to ensure he does.

    The PM is proactive and plans far ahead. Is also very good at changing track, when the situation demands it.

    This the opposite of the Opposition leader, who is at the best, a one trick pony.

    He will need more than a phoney makeover to last until Sept. 14.

  58. 730reportland

    Oh yomm, that`s just pure Lefty scaring.

    The oppositions political strategy can be summarized as
    let`s hope Abbott trips up

    That strategy didn`t work last time.
    Once the public start listening in Aug, it will get same result.

  59. 730reportland

    correction, let`s hope Abbott doesn`t trip up

  60. Fed up

    If he did trip, who would replace him.

  61. 730reportland

    The teabags didn`t learn from the 2010 vote. They believe it was an `accounting` error. Teabags will run Mr-Rabbit all the way to Sep-14, only after that loss will the teabags look for a new leader.

  62. Miglo

    And didn’t he say after the 2007 loss that the electorate was sleep walking?

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