Newspoll says 53 to 47

Kind of snuck up; in the Oz here. Up from 52 to 48.

Like the others except Nielsen, it shows a large increase in Labor’s primary support at expense of Greens and others, and small one in two party preferred. As happens after leadership changes, whether they turn out to be a good or bad idea. (Am repeating self, yes.)

Dennis Shanahan puts the argument, as Peter van Onselen and others also have, that primary vote and preferred PM are the only things that wot matter.

No doubt that’s what the party “hardheads” believe, but that doesn’t make it true. They believe all sorts of things.

25 Responses to “Newspoll says 53 to 47

  1. Pat Hills says:

    So the “bounce” is about 6 points in primary based on the 3 polls since the coup.

    Lose half the “bounce” and its a toss-up election.

  2. Doug says:

    Depends if you beleve Morgan before the coup that showed a 3 point bounce in primary for the ALP largely from the others

  3. Geoff Lambert says:

    Regardless of their beliefs, they have pretty good number crunchers.

    Howard’s 1996 46-seat majority caught all except a few of us (ahem) by surprise, but it didn’t catch THEM by surprise. Both Gary Gray and the Liberal party equivalent (Lynton Crosby?) later confirmed that the numbers were exactly in line with their predictions and which had been constant for 6 months.

    In the NTR in 2007, I was sitting in front of Tim Gartrell at a time when all we had to work with were the Tasmanian rural booths. I pointed out to him what I thought were a couple of ominous drifts. “No…. they’re spot-on; we’re heading for a low to mid-eighties seat count.” And so it was.

  4. Graeme says:

    Quite an exegetical rant from Mr Shanahan.

    Peter, will you add his ‘amateur and academic’ to your gentle description ‘alleged psephologist’?!

  5. chris gow says:

    So now all the smoke and mirrors have settled down there has been essentially no change in 2pp since the 2007 election and the whole ‘collapse in Labor support’ was actually about 5% who temporarily put down Green as their first choice to stir up the ALP about ETS/refugee policy and shifted back to Labor on the first vague promise of change.
    Abbott has no chance against Gillard and had next to none against Rudd – Peter, you are a smart man.

  6. Paul C. says:

    Policy vs Power.

    When Turnbull went last year, methinks it was over policy matters. Enough of the party disagreed with the support of the ETS to replace him as leader. Essentially it was about policy – yes, maybe coloured by personality. The policy was subsequently changed as a result of the party decision to change the leader.

    On the other hand, Rudd goes because the party ‘had lost its way’according to some. Yes, lost its way to staying on the gravy train and to staying in power. No mention of policy problems here. Just polls and power.

    The ruthlessness of Rudd’s demise and the crude reason for the action brings to mind the word ’stalinist’. Such a wonderful old fashioned word, but here it seems appropriate.

  7. Matthew says:

    A bounce in primary is nothing to sniff at and is exactly what was needed. Noone wins elections with a primary vote in the low/mid 30s because preference flows are just not that predictable once a minor party candidate gets over 10 per cent of the vote. In the electorate in which I live (Makin, SA) Greens preferences typically only flow at 60 per cent to the ALP—and that’s when they are only on 6-7 per cent.

  8. Neil says:

    Does this poll encourage Gillard to announce a poll in late August or mid October?

    Winter vs Spring. Honeymoon vs Familiarity. Opportunism vs Certainty.

    On Insiders yesterday Abbott’s said it would be preferable to delay the calling of the election. I thought he was genuine but I am no expert in ascertaining his sincerity. Was this remark more likely to be genuine or a was it ruse?

  9. The only was I could see this being called a ‘bounce’ is that the earleir polls were wrong on a 2PP. Otherwise this +1 ‘bounce’ is exactly the same one that Rudd was acheiving in the last four Newspolls. This may be true, but there seems a lot of re-writing of history going on here.

  10. edward o says:

    I can’t help but think that Shanahan is about 30% right. A direct measure is going to be closer to the mark, and preferences will spray all over the place and not necessarily like they did for each party in 2007. That effect is going to be intensified by the fact that there IS no election right now to focus people’s minds on how they really will vote. But that’s going to affect every indicator. Polls away from an election campaign are wont to show all sorts of nonsense (liek Latham beating Howard) – it’s the ones close in that are important on any measure.

  11. John Anderson says:

    Peter. I think you should stick to your original prediction that Labor will increase its seat tally to something above 83. This is going to be a presidential style election like the last one. And the one before that. They all are now. That is why I thought Rudd would have beaten Abbott, the campaign making the difference. Rudd would hav been the lesser of two evils so tho speak. With Gillard there, in my view, it’s all over.

  12. Mumbles said:

    No doubt that’s what the party “hardheads” believe, but that doesn’t make it true. They believe all sorts of things.

    Peter,

    Have greatest respect for your psepho savvy [insert extended bout of pocket-p*ssing]. And instinctively sympathise with your skepticism about beauty constest measures like “preferred PM”. This measure runs counter to the self-evident superiority of two-party preferred voting intention as a predictor of two-party preferred voting action.

    But the evidence from key conflicts – Gore v Bush and now Rudd v Gillard – indicates that “preferred PM” may capture something about voter intentions that “two-party preferred” does not. Particularly amongst high-value voters – swinging voters in marginal seats. The winning political personality is a leasing political indicator of the winning political party.

    This is in the case where there is a psehpohlogic inconsistency in voter preference between politician and party. Usually, for obvious reasons, voter preferences for politician and party will be in sync.

    But, when the two measures fall out of sync, voters are trying to tell the pollsters something. Specifically the swinging voter, quite probably in those marginal seats, are saying that they they have some weak preference for the party but they don’t want to see the same dude in charge. The current leader fails the old “do you want this person in your living room for the next three years” test.

    This mood of disenchantment will quite likely become evident half-way through the governments term of office, after “honey moon” effects have worn off. The so-called mid-term slump. Which is invariably followed by uneasiness in the party room, stirrings of back-bench revolts and appartchik machine operations.

    Obviously for the 70-80% of the electorate who have strong partisan loyalty it must be the case that preferred PM is not going to be a decisive consideration. They will vote for the same party irrespective of leader.

    But for the (growing) share of the electorate who do not have strong party loyalty – specifically swinging voters esp in marginal seats – the type of leader is a decisive factor. As the election date looms their two-party preferred intention will start to mirror their earlier “preferred PM”. Which in many cases means that they will swing their vote.

    My interpretation of the validity of preferred PM is testable. I believe that changes in preferred PM preference will be evident prior to changes in two-party preferred intention, particularly amongst those with weak partisan loyalties.

    I think it explains the closeness with which party operators watch this measure. It is also consistent with the general celebrity-isation of culture and Presidential-isation of politics.

    I know you are allergic to grand narratives or over-arching theories of political behaviour. But sometimes we need to shine a theoretical light on the mountains of empirical data to see our way through.

  13. Peter Brent says:

    Thank you kind sir. (Zips pocket closed.)

    During the last election campaign both Rudd’s preferred PM lead and his 2pp lead shrunk. Don’t know which caused which.

    Actually, I’m a fan of over-arching theories (but not grand narratives).

  14. “high-value voter” = triage principle applied to practical politics. The economy of political investment.

    1. “Walking wounded”: Party operators are not going to spend too much political capital on their own rusted-on base, who will always vote for you no matter how badly you betray them.

    2. “Goners”: Party operators are not going to spend too much political capital on their opponents rusted-on base, who will never vote for you no matter what you do for them.

    3. “Touch-and-go”: Party operators will focus on swinging voters who will respond to various electoral bribes and incentives. Particularly in marginal seats where a small change in voter preference can deliver a large political reward.

    I know, its common sense, bleedin’ obvious. But its probably worthwhile repeating it just to hammer home what is uppermost in political machine operators. They are running a business, not trying to make pie in the sky.

    Touchy-feely idealism may bring a warm fuzzy feeling to the hearts of the true believers. But it won’t win office, get a workable policy up and running or get them a nice cushy sinecure once their political shelf-life has expired.

  15. Graeme says:

    “During the last election campaign both Rudd’s preferred PM lead and his 2pp lead shrunk. Don’t know which caused which.”

    Perhaps neither? Both may have been caused by Jack’s weak partisans returning to Howard’s bosom (both pref PM and 2pp being zero sum games). The ‘firming for the government’ phenomenon is probably universal but is exacerbated by compulsory voting except in the case of not just terminally ill but genuinely loathed administrations. To borrow Peter’s over-arching theory, Howard was low-risk, albeit not no-risk to those voters who felt his administration had reached stasis.

    Gillard herself is less risky than the fairly low-risk Rudd was in 2007 (and doubly so given her comparison is with Abbott not Howard). But the risk for Labor is the appearance of desperation created by the coup. A snap election, as Hockey is fantasising about (or goading about) would be as foolish as the opposite course of waiting till 2011. As Peter said, Gillard needs time to ape Prime Ministerialness: not least as she came in on a narrative of ‘the government had lost its way’.

  16. A point about the relationship between “preferred PM” and political leadership. There are any number of reasons a polity can turn against a politician. Most of the ones suggested by the commentariat are consequential, not causal.

    Most obviously, excessive incumbency – the “its time” factor – as the swinging voters patience with the current lot wears out and the electoral pendulum commences its recessionary phase.

    Also, economic stagnation – a sustained fall in important economic indicators – will wear out a leaders welcome mat, “recession we had to have” rhetoric notwithstanding.

    Scandals are not that important, so long as they don’t involve obvious corruption. Bill Clinton being obvious example.

    Neither are rivals a real cause of leadership collapse. They need something more than just ambition and machinations in order to stake their claim.

    A big No-No, at least in AUS context, is the inability of leaders to deliver on core promises. Voters will cut leaders some slack to leaders who back-track on peripherals.

    But if a leader repeatedly says that certain issues are core and not negotiable and then repeatedly fails to deliver then voters will tend to regard him as a “flake”, to use the PUA lingo. To be deleted from your contacts list.

    Note that core issues do not have to be earth-shattering to be considered politically worthy. Small target core issues are acceptable, esp. if the electorate is comfortable and in no mood to be made-over.

    Rudd was a serial “flake”. The 2020 summit may have done more harm than good, by raising expectations. Rudd flaked on climate change, obviously. But also on people smugglers (off-and-on), insulation (a bit), school buildings (a bit), the Intervention housing program (a lot). And he seemed unable to cut through on RSPT, with no obvious resolution in sight.

    Rudd’s flakiness extended to both sides of the political market equation: demand-side political opinion and supply-side policy interests. He seemed to have a tin-ear when conversing with the man-in-the-street, which no amount of faux-blokeyness could compensate for. And his micro-managing control-freakery did not endear him to movers-and-shakers.

    Since the polling trend was down, and there was no love lost between Rudd and the party, it appeared that Rudd had expended his usefulness.

    No such thing as a job for life in today’s volatile employment market.

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