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Why Malcolm Turnbull’s Government Will Win The Next Newspoll!

Prediction is easy. It’s one of the easiest things in the world. The difficult bit is getting your predictions right. However, getting your prediction right isn’t always the only thing that matters. As a society, we give too much credit, on the person who fluked the unlikely, and far too little criticism on people who get things consistently wrong.

In the case of the fluke, some people have attempted to claim a lot of credibility from the fact that they predicted a Trump win. In their triumphal gloating, they claim that they were right and everyone else was wrong. However, people who only gave Trump a ten percent chance of winning weren’t necessarily wrong. Think about it this way.: Most of you wouldn’t play Russian roulette even though the odds of the bullet being in the chamber is only 16%; you’re aware that it’s entirely possible that something with a low chance of happening might happen. And you probably wouldn’t play even if you were the chance to win a million dollars with one click of the gun.

Just getting a prediction right doesn’t mean that your reasoning was sound. When Fred consumes twenty stubbies and assures you that he’s right to drive, the fact that he makes it home safely doesn’t mean that he made an intelligent decision even though his prediction was accurate. Similarly, you should ignore the argument that he always intended to knock over the letterbox because it’s ugly and his decision to use his car to do it was a flash of genius that he wouldn’t have had if he’d taken a taxi.

The unlikely event that happens is just that: An exception to expectations.

So, if by some freak of statistics or some fiddling with the figures, and Turnbull does win the next Newspoll, and I look clever, it’s no good asking me for the Tattslotto numbers or stock market tips. I’ve had my fluke for the year. Of course, I deliberately said next because that means that I can point to the headline and say I was right in the unlikely event that he ever actually wins another one.

That would be similar to the way that during the GFC, the media gave a lot of time to pundits who’d been predicting a crash, and asked them what would happen next. Of course, the fact that some of them had been predicting a crash since 1988 didn’t stop the media from saying how prescient they were. Predicting a catastrophe in global markets is a bit like predicting rain in a desert. Sooner or later, it’ll happen, but a lot of people will die of thirst waiting for their containers to be filled.

The great thing about making predictions is that nobody ever seems to remember the ones people get wrong. (I’m talking here about the media, of course, Some of my friends still remember predictions I got wrong from last century!) Some political and economic commentators will be back telling us about the future and nobody will ever have the temerity to remind them that the only thing they got right in the past five years was when they were asked for a tip on Melbourne Cup Day. And even then all they got right was, “Number 5, but I have no idea, so you’d be foolish to back my horse.”

So it’s no surprise that these commentators don’t call out politicians for their lack of prophetic powers. After all, when everyone’s getting it wrong, it’s best just to move forward and hope that nobody has a memory or enough time to go back and point out that the most accurate thing that anybody said was: “Whatever. The sun will still rise tomorrow.”

Ok, we all remember when Malcolm Turnbull told us that Barnaby Joyce shouldn’t stand down as Deputy PM  because the High Court would find in his favour, but we didn’t think of that as an inaccurate prediction. We just presumed that it was Malcolm’s arrogance that he knew the law because he’d studied it.

And Tony Abbott’s wonderful concession speech to Malcolm Turnbull where he predicted that there’d be no sniping or. undermining. That’s pretty hard to forget, but we don’t take that as a failure of prediction; we just take it as another broken Liberal promise.

But we seem to have collective amnesia when we read yet another article about how Adani intends to start it’s mine “next month”, no matter how many times they announce an intention to start soon.

And then there’s, all those golden oldies: Predictions byTony Abbott and Joe Hockey about getting the Budget back into the black in their first term of office, and how once we had a Liberal government then the economy would click back into gear and…

Budget deficit? What Budget deficit? Everything’s just fine. We can give business a tax cut. And this will lead to wage rises. No, really. Nothing surer. Didn’t we say that we’d have jobs and growth? And isn’t growth just as good as it was under Labor? And didn’t we produce a record number of jobs last year? In fact, we produced enough jobs that unemployment didn’t go up. Ok, it didn’t go down but it will when the company tax cuts get passed.

We know this because if there’s one thing you can depend on, it’s a prediction.

 


30 comments

  1. John Boyd

    No joking matter! What if all those people who have deserted the LNP, at least as far as responding to polls goes, suddenly get worried that the thirtieth bad poll will lead to a spill, and Dutton as prime minister?

  2. Zoltan Balint

    They say that no matter how much of a mug punter you are sooner or later you will pick a winner and be the legend in your own mind.

  3. pamelac65

    This is the line being sold on Social Media- support Turnbull or you get Dutton! what a choice! what a parlous state for a nation which promised so much to be reduced to.
    Reminiscent of the Morrison threat to Senate- Pass my bill or I will keep children locked up on Christmas Island in filthy camps with no education and keep the babies locked up in detention on shore- remember the anguish of Senator Muir agreeing to pass the bill. We are ruled by crooks charlatans and worse yet to come.

  4. townsvilleblog

    There is a case in history where the ALP came within one seat of toppling Menzies, but at the next election lost badly. No matter what opinion polls say, the only poll worth worrying about is the poll on election day.

  5. Keitha Granville

    we need to stop talking about how much we don’t like Bill Shorten – “unless you let us do this, we’ll have a Bill Shorten government “.
    It’s a LABOR government, at this stage it’s the only hope we have.

  6. helvityni

    Keitha Granville…and I second that…

  7. john tons

    This is not unlike the paradox of the unexpected exam. At the commencement of the academic year students are advised that at some stage during the next semester there will be an unexpected exam. The clever student will work out that there will be no exam. For they know that the exam cannot be on the last day of the semester for if the exam had not been given by the second last day then they would know it would be given on the last day and hence it would no longer be unexpected. So if not the last day then by the same logic not the second last day, similarly the same would hold for every other day.

  8. Terry2

    I am very cautious about Newspoll (conducted by Galaxy since 2015).

    As far as I can see their methodology is very limited : Online panel and robopolling, which does not include mobiles.
    Sample size: About 1,600-1,800 for most surveys.

    If I get a robocall I always hang-up no matter who it is or what it’s about and with no mobile phones included, this must exclude a large proportion of young voters – which, I imagine, may advantage Labor.

  9. diannaart

    I predict Labor will win the next federal election.

    Now, I can either sound extremely sagacious if my prediction comes to pass – or a complete nong, if not.

    Given that I am assumed to be a compete nong most of the time, I don’t stand to lose much.

  10. David Stakes

    Poll will be taken in a Darling Point only, that should fix it.

  11. Meg

    I’m worried that the almost comatose Bill is coasting to a too-easy victory that may not happen. Don’t rule out the LNP dumping Mister 30 Newspolls. Labor need to counterstrike pre-eMTively and make Albo the leader.

  12. wam

    Prediction, speculation anything except reporting in the modern media. Might, may, would, could, should outranks did.
    Trump pretty well sunk the value of polls. I and my odd minded friends usually answer no to questions like ‘have you heard of steve marshal? oops hope laud is not reading such a lie???

    hahaha, Arguably only a nong would predict a labor win now. But I will predict we will never have a shorten government.

  13. Meg

    I enjoy your missives for their bleak, obtuse abstraction, Wam. This one is perhaps too clarified for my liking.

  14. ajogrady

    Turnbull could win the next election because there are enough people who believe in an invisible friend, extra terrestrial beings, Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, that climate change does not exist, coal is good for humanity and especially that pigs will fly.

  15. Meg

    When will the stupid blue-collar slobs and other rednecks realise that they need Labor in power to let our exotic foreign friends in so that their bigoted lives can be culturally enriched for the better?

  16. diannaart

    @wam

    You do understand Rossleigh writes satire – extremely well, in fact far better than I can ever hope to write – doesn’t stop me trying, however.

    Now I was simply running with the joke Rossleigh made, that one only has to be right once to be regarded as in some way special and if I get it wrong then not much has changed…. Oh, forget it, I’m not even going to discuss self-deprecating humour…

  17. cartoonmick

    When Bill Shorten becomes PM, will we still blame Labor for everything?

    So, who would have guessed Tony would score 30 bad reports, and Malkie with 29?
    Will Tony try for another 30
    And what time is High tide anyway??

    This vid looks at parts of this . . .

    https://youtu.be/RLVKuATfPnw

    Cheers
    Mick

  18. wam

    Thanks, meg.
    How would you expect a blue singlet man in his 50s to combat the rabbott’s slogans? At the bbq when the debt the economy and little johnnies surplus is the repeated message by those scared by the lnp hype?
    Gillard and rudd left these people to their own devices with no counter arguments.
    Even words like little johnny sold the airports, 800 tons of gold and telstra for peanuts would have been a start but with one marvellous gillardian exception, labor doesn’t work the rabbott’s way. There is a chance with the young and the net and labor may succeed but ??

    Diannart funny your joke is allowed but my tongue in cheek is slips over your head. Did you think I peg you as a nong???.
    Still it is possible shorten’s worth as shown in beaconsfield and in choosing gillard will break through. I expect the process of osmosis will send it to the bbqs
    Whatever, words at face value are important to the you but not to the old.(with one most pertinent exception)
    ps
    some people say what they don’t mean in hope

  19. margcal

    MegApril 2, 2018 at 1:23 pm
    “I’m worried that the almost comatose Bill …..”

    Just where is Bill Shorten really on the GCS? I think he’d struggle in the world of entertainment. But I think that of Turnbull too.
    Is Bill really that much worse than Malcolm or is it that Rupert Murdoch says it’s so and therefore we must believe it?

    Fairfax might not be owned by Murdoch as the even worse rags are, but while it sometimes nods at giving a bit of fair coverage, their editorial the day before the polls will tell you to vote for the LNP.

    Since the press are constantly running Bill down, maybe everyone else should do something different – like look at Labor policies and talk about those. I sure don’t like all I’ve seen but they’re streets ahead of the alternative.

  20. stephengb2014

    Nice Rossliegh Nice had a broad smile appear as I read the article, you do have a way with words.

    As for the repeated nonsense wanting Bill Shorten to stand down, words escape me.

    Those of you who keep knocking Bill Shorten, stop it it!

    The time for that has passed in 2015, because in 2016, he brought the ALP to within one seat of victory against an extremelly popular man turnbull. Since then Bill Shorten has delvered nearly six years of stable consistent and honourable oposition. He has shown that he is organised and lately a courageous policy maker.

    We must stop hounding him and get behind him, NOW because I smell an election.

    turnbull has shown himself to be a coward, incapable of leading and bereft of ideas other than Neoliberalism.

    S G B

  21. Glenn Barry

    The miraculous emergence of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership qualities following his close encounter with a UFO will see Australia become a utopian republic

    My hair is also going to grow back…

  22. Cool Pete

    This is my prediction. If there is a Liberal spill, and Dutton ends up as leader, we will be a fascist state. He will merge the offices of Homer’s Farts and Prime Minister and declare himself der Fuhrer. Poo Lean will bend to his every whim and we will be the sorriest nation in the world. Oh, and the population of New Zealand will rise.

  23. wam

    Billy can do, tanya can do labor can do but don’t why???
    Politically trumball has emasculated the ABC leaving the only media action bill has is live on sunrise and today to set the questions for simple sam and karl baby to ask. the old answer a question with a question technique may still work??
    Simply target easy to ask hard to answer questions on climate ie china solar panels and the economy and the tax cuts????

  24. Alpo

    Malcolm Turnbull will not win the next Newspoll…. Murdoch has accepted that Malcolm Turnbull is finished. There are only two ways out of this mess for the Coalition: To the right with Abbott or to the centre-right with Bishop. Murdoch is backing Bishop….. whereas at the moment nobody is backing Turnbull….

  25. helvityni

    Alpo, “…There are only two ways out of this mess for the Coalition…”

    Bleak, who says there will not be even more mess with either of those two…

  26. John L

    I look at who the government and press are running down, then vote for them. Currently it’s Bill, by a country mile….

  27. diannaart

    @wam

    Diannart funny your joke is allowed but my tongue in cheek is slips over your head. Did you think I peg you as a nong???.

    Correct, I have difficult deciphering your serious commentary from your satire. Clearly I need lessons, however, you will understand if I seek the tuition of such skills from Rossleigh rather than you.

    😉

  28. Mick Byron

    The State most critical to Labors chances of gaining a win in the 2019 election is QLD.
    Unfortunately things don’t look too bright in the Sunshine State according to Roy Morgan polling

    With a typical burst of support from MSM/ABC
    a terrorist threat or two and a vigorous KillBill campaign
    We may well see an LNP Government through to 2022 and who would the PM be,-Bishop,Dutton,Abbott or Morrison?

    “Federal Election too close to call as L-NP holds big lead in Queensland”

    ” L-NP holds a two-party preferred lead in Queensland: L-NP 59.5% cf. ALP 40.5% and South Australia: L-NP 51% cf. ALP 49% and the parties are dead even in Western Australia.”

    http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7543-morgan-poll-federal-voting-intention-march-28-2018-201803270904

  29. Zathras

    If Turnbull somehow magically wins the next Newspoll for doing practically nothing, it would certainly devalue Newspoll as a reliable indication of anything in particular.

    I don’t believe the average poll participant would be so fickle.

    As for the print media in particular, they seem to get behind the ALP until an election is called and then all bets are off and they fall in line behind the Libs.

  30. opal53

    So who does the News Polls? The Australian? Murdoch’s Rags? It seems very easy to quote the figures but who actually checks the accuracy of theses findings? Many years ago people used old phone books as toilet paper, perhaps Murdoch’;s newspapers could come with a small hole in the corner to place the string and be used for the same purpose? All it’s good for……….

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