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The Newspoll influence

March 25th, 2015 Comments off

I am not sure why it is but Newspoll is the pollster that has the most influence in Canberra. Perhaps it’s because of the regularity of appearing every second Tuesday.  Perhaps it’s because of being published in the nation’s only remaining broadsheet. Whatever. It is so. So Tony Abbott will leave the Parliament hothouse this week with his position secure.

But overall the  opinion polls as a whole show his government is still in serious trouble.

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Labor gains in Morgan Poll

March 23rd, 2015 Comments off
  • Federal ALP increases lead as NSW prepares to vote in State Election – ALP support increased to 56% (up 2.5%), still well clear of the L-NP 44% (down 2.5%) on a two-party preferred basis.  If a Federal Election were held now the ALP would win according to this week’s Morgan Poll on voting intention conducted over the last two weekends, March 14/15 & 21/22, 2015, with an Australia-wide cross-section of 3,146 Australian electors aged 18+. Primary support for the ALP increased to 40% (up 2%) now ahead of the L-NP 38% (down 1%). Support for the other parties shows The Greens at 11% (down 0.5%), Palmer United Party (PUP) 1.5% (down 0.5%) while Independents/ Others were 9.5% (unchanged.
  • Will the real Netanyahu please stand up? – Doomed to endless occupation, Palestinians will become more not less violent, says Simon Schama
  • Alex Salmond predicts vote-by-vote deal with Labour – Alex Salmond has predicted a “vote by vote arrangement” between a minority Labour government and the SNP is the most likely outcome of the election. Scotland’s former first minister said his successor as SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, would lead the negotiations. Mr Salmond also said he wanted the SNP to form a “progressive coalition” with Plaid Cymru and the Greens.
  • Asia’s deadly secret: The scourge of the betel nut – It is used by almost a tenth of the world’s population. It gives people a buzz equivalent to six cups of coffee and is used variously as a symbol of love, marriage and a cure for indigestion and impotence.nBut it is also leading tens of thousands to an early grave. The culprit? The humble betel nut. Found across Asia, these nuts are harvested from the Areca palm and are chewed for their warming glow and stimulating properties. Such is its effectiveness, that alongside nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, betel nuts are believed to be one of the most popular mind-altering substances in the world.

sin city

Force me to bet on the Australian election and I’d back the Coalition

December 8th, 2014 Comments off

The opinion polls showing Labor with a comfortable lead over the Coalition keep coming. At the weekend there was Galaxy putting the twp party shares at 45% for the Coalition and 55% for Labor. This morning Fairfax-Ipsos had it 48% Coalition 52% Labor.

It is an uncommon thing to have a government so consistently behind the opposition for such a lengthy period in its first year or so in office but would you really like to put your own hard earned on Labor winning? I certainly wouldn’t and if you forced me to have a wager I’d be backing the Coalition. To me the Owl’s federal election indicator considerably overstates Labor’s chances of being the majority party come polling day.

Australian federal election indicator

Now don’t get me wrong. Tony Abbott is an unpopular Prime Minister. It’s just that with almost two years to go one of two things will most likely happen. Abbott will change his ways or his party will dump him. In both cases the voting public will start to look more closely at Labor’s Bill Shorten.

To my mind Shorten is a man who will fall short under real scrutiny, bringing the Labor vote down with him.

 

No joy from Roy for Tony

November 17th, 2014 Comments off

Well the first verdict on Tony Abbott the international statesman is in and the verdict of the Roy Morgan poll won’t be encouraging for the Prime Minister.

“A week of international Summits, starting with the APEC Summit in Beijing and culminating with the Brisbane G20 Summit over the weekend failed to provide a boost to either Prime Minister Tony Abbott or the Liberal Party with the ALP (55.5%, up 1%) increasing its lead over the L-NP (44.5%, down 1%) on a two-party preferred basis,” pollster Gary Morgan commented this afternoon. “Abbott was widely criticised at the G20 Summit over the weekend for referring to domestic legislative difficulties in his opening remarks to foreign leaders which seemed to detract from the stated goal of the G20 Summit to provide a boost to world growth. There was also significant media coverage in the last few days about last week’s climate change deal between the United States and China which put the spotlight on the Abbott Government’s different approach to dealing with the issue.”

Nor will Clive Palmer and his now depleted PUPs have much to bark about. Their week of internal turmoil has seen their share of the vote drop to 2.5% (down 0.5%) – the lowest recorded since prior to the Federal Election last year. Primary support for the L-NP was down 0.5% to 38% while ALP support rose 1% to 38.5%. Support for the other parties shows The Greens at 12% (down 0.5%) with independents and others (excluding PUP) up0.5 points to 9%. Distributing preferences on the basis of how electors say they would vote resulted in the 45.5% Coalition 55.5% ALP split. Using the method of Newspoll with distribution on the basis of how people voted at the last election would see the Coalition on 46.5% to the ALP’s 53.5%

According to Morgan the ALP maintains a two-party preferred lead in all Australian States. Tasmania: ALP 59.5% cf. L-NP 40.5%; Victoria: ALP 58.5% cf. L-NP 41.5%; New South Wales: ALP 55% cf. L-NP 45%; South Australia: ALP 53.5% cf. L-NP 46.5%; Queensland: ALP 53% cf. L-NP 47% and Western Australia: ALP 51% cf. L-NP 49%.

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Morgan Poll also has Labor pulling ahead – just like Newspoll

November 4th, 2014 Comments off

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A starling, one of the common European bird species found to be in decline in a new study. Credit: Tomas Belka, birdphoto.eu

A starling, one of the common European bird species found to be in decline in a new study. Credit: Tomas Belka, birdphoto.eu

  • A staggering 400 million birds have vanished from Europe since 1980
  • How marijuana will fare on election day – “Voters in four states will decide how the next chapter of marijuana reform will be written. If several of the measures pass, it will likely build momentum for a growing public consensus on legalization. On the other hand, if all or most of the measures fail, legalization proponents may need to take a step back and reassess their strategies for legalization efforts already planned for a number of states in 2016.”
  • The outlook: Prolonged low growth or another crisis – Contrary to widely held beliefs, the world has not yet begun to ‘delever’ and the global debt-to-GDP is still growing. Growth and inflation are also dangerously low. This Vox Talk discusses the findings and policy recommendations of the 16th Geneva Report. It argues that much more can and should be done to improve resilience to debt shocks and discourage excessive debt accumulation.
  • What Have Economists Ever Done for Us?

The Australian decides not to frighten the readers – relegate a bad poll to an inside page

November 4th, 2014 Comments off

The tale of some recent Tuesday front pages:

 

Big and bold as "Coalition closing gap"

26 August – Big and bold as “Coalition closing gap”

9 September - Down a point so make it smaller but accentuate the positive

9 September – Down a point so make it smaller but accentuate the positive

23 September  - A slight improvement so make it bigger

23 September – A slight improvement so make it bigger

7 October - Behind in every state but WA but Tony's doing better!

7 October – Behind in every state but WA but Tony’s doing better!

21 October - Hmm. Dropped again so back to the single column and at least they like one thing about tough man Tony

21 October – Hmm. Dropped again so back to the single column and at least they like one thing about tough man Tony

4 November - This is getting a bit depressing. Page 2'll do for it.

4 November – This is getting a bit depressing. Page 2’ll do for it.

Julie Bishop rates much higher with voters than Tony Abbott and other news and views for Tuesday 9 September

September 9th, 2014 Comments off

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  • Julie Bishop knocks Malcolm Turnbull off popularity high in cabinet rankings – A new poll reveals the foreign minister is the most popular minister and Joe Hockey is the least popular. – “Julie Bishop has overtaken Malcolm Turnbull as the federal government’s highest-performing minister, while the budget has dragged Joe Hockey into last place, according to a survey ranking each cabinet member.McNair Ingenuity Research polled 1,004 voters late in August, just before the first anniversary of the Abbott government’s election victory. Participants were asked to rank each minister on a scale of 100 for excellent, 75 for good, 50 for average, 25 for poor or zero for terrible.
  • As the party faithful drift away, can Bill Shorten reinvent Labor? – “Bill Shorten, who seemed so impressive as a union leader and minister, is shaping up as the least inspiring opposition leader since Alexander Downer. … Shorten’s position is safe thanks largely to the complexities of choosing a party leader. But unless he can construct a new narrative and distance himself from the apparently moribund party machine that created him, he is unlikely to replace Abbott. Labor needs a leader who can simultaneously transform the party and create a new narrative of governance. Waiting for Abbott to self-destruct is not enough.”2014-09-09_worldorder
  • Long View of History Includes Today – In ‘World Order,’ Henry Kissinger Sums Up His Philosophy – “In this book’s most compelling sections, Mr. Kissinger uses his realpolitik lens (with its emphasis on balance of power, linkage and triangular diplomacy) as a revealing prism by which to look at, say, the roots of World War I and the sources of conflict in the modern Middle East. He similarly uses his knowledge of various countries’ historical proclivities and their self-image over the centuries as a frame of reference for current developments like the Arab Spring and America’s increasingly ambivalent role on the world stage.”
  • Bold reform is the only answer to secular stagnation
  • When Yes Means Yes – California Lawmakers Redefine Campus Sexual Assault
  • Dreams on hold, Brazil’s ‘new middle class’ turns on Rousseff – “… a faltering economy and mounting frustration over poor public services are dimming the outlook for Brazil’s ‘new middle class.’ As that happens, leftist President Dilma Rousseff is watching a once-loyal base – and her chances of re-election next month – slip away. Her main rival, environmentalist Marina Silva, has surged in the polls and is favored to win a likely second-round runoff against Rousseff.”
  • Adelaide poet David Ades wins $15,000 in inaugural University of Canberra poetry prize

A clue to the Murdoch view on what to do in Iraq and other news and views for Wednesday 3 October

September 3rd, 2014 Comments off

3-09-2014 nyposteditorial

  • Attempt to split Commons clerk role is no ‘power grab’ – “Since he did not have Commons approval to split the post, Mr Bercow advertised the job of clerk in its traditional form and hired recruitment consultancy to conduct a national and global search. A panel of senior MPs conducted interviews and ended up nominating Carol Mills, a senior official from the Australian senate. Ms Mills is a respected administrator but a person with scant knowledge of Westminster procedure. Mr Bercow admits there was “something a tad incongruous about expecting one person to be both the procedural expert and the top-flight manager/chief executive”. The panel decided to go for someone with the latter experience.”
  • Sandhurst’s sheikhs: Why do so many Gulf royals receive military training in the UK? – “Four reigning Arab monarchs are graduates of Sandhurst and its affiliated colleges – King Abdullah of Jordan, King Hamad of Bahrain, Sheikh Tamim, Emir of Qatar, and Sultan Qaboos of Oman. Past monarchs include Sheikh Saad, Emir of Kuwait, and Sheikh Hamad, Emir of Qatar. Sandhurst’s links have continued from the time when Britain was the major colonial power in the Gulf.”
  • Labour cannot be complacent about Ukip’s advance – “Ukip is creating a divide between those with the skills, education and resources to adapt, and those who have little and feel angry.”

You had to turn to page 37 last week to get the most appropriate political comment in the Sydney Morning Herald about Tony Abbott and his coalition government.

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The really bad news for Abbott from the opinion polls – influencing that odd assortment of Senators

July 4th, 2014 Comments off

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The Owl’s federal election indicator is lagging well behind the opinion polls when it comes to assessing the future prospects of the Abbott government (although it is moving in Labor’s direction) but then the indicator is trying to measure something quite different to the pollsters. The polls are trying to tell us what people think now while the markets the indicator is based on are looking forward to what will happen on a future election day. They are two quite different things. As I have written many times on this site I prefer to take the guidance of the money.

But with new Senators about to take their places in the red chamber it is opportune to repeat something I wrote back in May.

What opinion pollsters say two and a half years out from an election is normally of no interest at all to me. Just ignore them is invariably my advice. Today, though, I am breaking those habits of a political lifetime. The unanimous verdict of all the major pollsters suggesting that Tony Abbott and his government are on the nose does strike me as relevant.

Not because the figures suggest the Liberal-National coalition will lose the next election. Far from it. I’ll stick with the predictive power of the Owl’s federal election indicator which puts Labor well behind. The importance of the polls is the influence they will have on that maverick collection of Senators who will become the real power brokers of politics after 1 July and on the Labor and Greens majority from now until then.

A strong suggestion that voters do not like a government – and the polls are giving just that now – encourages an opposition to stick the boot in because of a belief that will help their own prospects of re-election. Ultimately it might do no such thing but in the meantime it sure does make governing harder.

A rare exception to taking little notice of opinion polls

May 6th, 2014 Comments off

What opinion pollsters say two and a half years out from an election is normally of no interest at all to me. Just ignore them is invariably my advice. Today, though, I am breaking those habits of a political lifetime. The unanimous verdict of all the major pollsters suggesting that Tony Abbott and his government are on the nose does strike me as relevant.

Not because the figures suggest the Liberal-National coalition will lose the next election. Far from it. I’ll stick with the predictive power of the Owl’s federal election indicator which puts Labor well behind. The importance of the polls is the influence they will have on that maverick collection of Senators who will become the real power brokers of politics after 1 July and on the Labor and Greens majority from now until then.

A strong suggestion that voters do not like a government – and the polls are giving just that now – encourages an opposition to stick the boot in because of a belief that will help their own prospects of re-election. Ultimately it might do no such thing but in the meantime it sure does make governing harder.

 

What a difference a fortnight and a Liberal lead means to The Australian

April 8th, 2014 Comments off

Labor hits the lead on Newspoll and you will notice it on page one if you look closely enough.

2014-04-08_march25behind

That was then and this is now, a fortnight later, with Tony Abbott’s team back in front:

2014-04-08_APRIL8POLLWith such neutrality is “the heart of the nation” revealed.

 

 

Proof of the need to laugh about opinion polls a long way out from an election

March 3rd, 2014 Comments off

From page one of The Australian this morning with the headline “O’Farrell steadies support after summer of discontent”.

2014-03-03_nswnewspoll

Mark Coultan, the paper’s NSW political correspondent explained the poll results thus:

NSW’S opposition Labor Party has failed to dent the popularity of the state’s Coalition government, despite a summer dominated by controversy over alcohol-fuelled violence and the investigation of three Liberal MPs by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The latest Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, shows the Liberal-Nationals coalition remains in a dominant position, with a two-partypreferred vote of 58 per cent, largely unchanged from the previous poll, in September and October last year.

The one piece of good news for Labor is that Premier Barry O’Farrell’s personal satisfaction rating fell and his dissatisfaction rating rose, reversing all the gains of the previous survey.

Unfortunately for Labor, the satisfaction ratings of its leader John Robertson suffered the same fate, falling one percentage point, while his dissatisfaction rating rose three points over that time.

From page one of the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday under the headline “Poll shock Labor takes the lead – Corruption fallout hits O’Farrell”

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Sean Nicholls State Political Editor explained the poll results thus:

Voters have turned on the O’Farrell government and are threatening to throw it out of office after just one term in a dramatic resetting of the political contest in NSW.

If the 15 per cent swing was applied uniformly across the state it would see the Coalition lose up to 25 seats – wiping out gains it made in western Sydney, the central coast and the Hunter three years ago.

The poll of 1000 voters was conducted between February 22-26, shortly after the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced an inquiry involving former resources minister Chris Hartcher and two other government MPs, Chris Spence and Darren Webber.

It also coincides with ructions between the Liberals and Nationals over the push by Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson to take over the seat of Goulburn from Community Services Minister Pru Goward.

So there you have it. The Liberal government two points behind on the two party vote one day and 16 points in front two days later. There’s something there for everyone.

The great opinion polling irrelevance

November 25th, 2013 Comments off

The great media obsession with opinion polls continues. The Fairfax tabloids this morning both report that Labor is now leading the Liberal-Nationals. Not only reports it but pretends it is somehow significant by putting it all over page one.

2013-11-25_fairfaxpolls