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Nicholson (clipped) in The Oz   2007 results->  AEC    ABC  

 Qld election: ABC Antony Green Crikey 

June 29 Three polls show the same thing ...

... a jump in Labor and drop in Coalition support. No tables yet; hopefully later this morning. Newspoll and Galaxy say 56 to 42; Nielsen 58 to 42 (or 57 to 43 if preferences are allocated like the other two pollsters).

[Update: Nielsen table here, Galaxy here, Newspoll now on Oz site here. Newspoll has a massive drop in Turnbull's satisfaction rating and no change in Rudd's. Galaxy's extra questions about leaders' honesty over ute bizzo are stark as well.]

(For context, Newspoll's last poll, taken 2 weeks ago, said 53 to 47. Galaxy's most recent was four weeks ago; it said 55 to 45, as did the same weekend's Newspoll. Nielsen's last one was six weeks ago and it had 53 to 47 compared with the same weekend's Newspoll of 56 to 44.)

Radio journalists are excitedly quoting whichever numbers (approval, preferred PM) the newspaper reports led with, but really it's just the same bad news for Malcolm delivered three times (with the added assuredness of 'accuracy' due to each poll saying roughly the same thing).

Usually one should be very careful attributing individual poll movements to particular events, but in this case there can be no doubt it was the ute affair.

However this was a one-off event, and the poll trends that were settling in before this will probably return as the issue dies. Whether Malcolm will still be there is another question; it's likely that leadership stories will keep his approval ratings low, which will generate more stories ...

Folks (like this one) keen on joining the federal Liberal partyroom should move to a certain part of Sydney.

June 27 Morgan last weekend and Newspoll this weekend

Mr Morgan went face to face last weekend, before the ute business blew up in Malcolm's face, to register 55 to 45. Here.

As we speak Newspoll is out in the field. Leaders' satisfaction ratings will be interesting.

(Are we due for a Nielsen?)

June 26 Liberal leadership - considering the future

All federal Labor leaders in living memory (after Evatt?) have been roughly to the right of the party. The Liberals are different; for the last few decades they have had their 'right' and 'left' who take it in turns. Brendan Nelson represented the right and Malcolm Turnbull represents the left.

When the Libs are in opposition and the leadership is insecure, as these two have been, the wing that the leader doesn't represent tends to get its way. That's why under Turnbull the policies have gradually hardened compared with under Nelson, against what one imagines are Malcolm's own instincts.

Turnbull will probably get the chop later this year, and whoever replaces him is likely to be secure until the election. After that (assuming Labor wins comfortably) their credibility will dissipate and they will eventually fall. If it's Joe Hockey that means a swing to the right after the next election, followed most probably by someone of the 'right', a 'generational change' perhaps.

This man, maybe?

June 25 Malcolm in a hurry

Why is Malcolm Turnbull so impatient? It must be because he has calculated that the only way to keep his job until the next election is to bag some scalps/results/big opinion poll improvements - and post-haste.

Turnbull as leader during an election campaign would be interesting: things would happen. But we're unlikely to witness this.

(He had a point in wondering on 7.30 Report last night whether Albanese would have dared performing the Latham routine if Gillard had been sitting behind him rather than across the globe.)

June 24
Nicholson in the Oz yesterday.

The plot continues to thicken solidify fossilise. While it is against the law for public servants to leak information to politicians, there's nothing wrong with politicians receiving it. But one imagines Malcolm can be extremely persuasive when encouraging people to go that extra mile ...

June 23 Newspoll satisfaction ratings in NSW

Newspoll in NSW says 55 to 45 in the Oz; tables here. Note Mr O'Barrel's low personal ratings, which increase the likelihood of his being toppled before the next election.

As you know, I believe that for a given set of voting intentions, low approval ratings are better (meaning those voting intentions are more likely to sustain until election day) than high ones.

That is, put very imprecisely, if Mr O'Barrel remains as leader, voting intentions are likely to remain around 55 to 45 until election day, and the election result will be around 55 to 45. A new leader with higher approval might push the voting intentions out to 60 40, but come election day it'll still be around 55 to 45.

Well, that's how I see these things.

June 20 My bets: Julia's chances nudge up

Have been looking for an ALP leadership bet at the next election in hope of putting a little insurance on Julia, but could not find.

The youngsters Somebody in Kevin's office may have really dropped him Malcolm in it.

(Lindsay Tanner as Treasurer is looking slightly more likely.)

[Monday updates.]

June 19 Antony Green on NSW Legislative Council

Antony Green's post on the NSW upper house voting system is relevant to ongoing talk of reforming the Senate system.

As an intro to the topic you can read something I wrote after the 2004 election.

June 17 Me in Inside Story

On Peter Costello, here.

I am not a blogger!

Some call me this, but when commencing Mumbling in 2001 I had not heard of the word.

No self-respecting blogger would run such a terribly-designed site as this. Things will change soon, I (almost) promise.

Elephant Man

Malcolm Mackerras in Western Australia

Malcolm Mackerras pops an email, asking me to republish this table "Per Cent Share of Two-Party Preferred Votes for Defeated Governments – 1975 to 2008” as well as WA's pre 2008 election and post 2008 election pendulums.

I happily comply; here's Malcolm's email.

June 16 Newspoll: 53 to 47

In the Oz, tables here.

Bye bye Peetee

Am writing a piece for tomorrow's Inside Story.

Double dissolutions

On Sunday's Insiders, Barrie Cassidy asked both Christine Milne of the Greens and Steve Fielding of Family First if they were hoping for a double dissolution, because it would increase their parties' chances of re-election. Both avoided the question.

Barrie was certainly correct about Fielding, who is up at the next election whenever and whatever it is; a double dissolution is his only chance of re-election (and a slim one). But situation is less clear with the Greens.

The Greens currently have 5 Senators, two elected in 2004 and three in 2007. A double dissolution might, perhaps, if they did really well, see them end up with seven - one from each state and an extra one from Tasmania. But after a half senate poll they could, maybe, conceivably, have nine: the current three plus one from every state.

Note the equivocations: don't quote me on the exactitudes; there are people out there who follow Senate machinations in much more detail. But the point is that the quota at a half-Senate poll is 13.4, which is about a percent less than double that at a DD, which is 7.7. A DD ain't necessarily in the Greens' interest.

See this old AFR piece about quotas. (Note the final lines.)

[Update: Malcolm Mackerras writes:

"my view is that the Greens would have seven senators after a DD and six after a half-Senate election. However, it might be eight as against seven. For that reason I think the Greens do have an interest in a DD – but I agree that their interest is not nearly as great as that of Steve Fielding."

Special Minister of State

Peter van Onselen in Oz has a point. I would add that the test with these things comes when a government is in electoral trouble: then they decide that being pure earns no brownie points with the voters, and party apparatchiks are telling them to get real if they want to win the election, and ...

June 11 On prime ministerial blokiness

John Howard would, strangely, bung on the ocker act in the presence of Americans - and American journalists in particular. 'Mate' this and 'mate' that.

But he did not feel the need to do it at home; people thought of him as very Australian anyway.

Kevin Rudd obviously does feel the need, but overall he is no phonier than Howard, whose every utterance was rehearsed to within an inch of its life.

The pair vies for the title of Australia's phoniest PM, largely because Rudd took many of his lessons from Howard. Let us hope this is not how Australian politics will be forever.

June 10 Mr Sheridan takes up the cudgels

Cultural warriors constantly look for evidence in events to show that their particular way of seeing the world is correct: 'See, I was right!'. Recently left-wing ones have been flogging the global financial crisis for all it is worth.

On the other side, the Oz's Greg Sheridan, while extremely pro American Republican, is not usually a participant in these wars broadly, but he makes an exception in drawing comfort from the weekend's European parliament elections which he claims show that social democracy is on the nose.

Greg exaggerates a bit about Wales; a quick google suggests Tories won there in 1918. [Update: reader corrects me; it was the Liberals who won in 1918. And see June 10 results here.]

Regarding Europe overall, at a glance it looks like newish governments did well and oldish ones not. But needs closer examination.

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