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OMINOUS POLLING FOR ALP April 2, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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The latest Nielsen Poll shows a drop in support for the Federal Government.

Philip Coorey reports in The Sydney Morning Herald:

The latest Herald/Nielsen poll shows that while Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott continue to rival each other in the personal unpopularity stakes, the hard-fought gains Labor has made during past few months have gone.

The poll of 1400 voters, taken from last Thursday night to Saturday evening, shows Labor’s primary vote has slumped 7 percentage points in a month to 27 per cent.
The Coalition’s primary vote increased 3 points to 47 per cent, giving it a crushing 57-43 per cent lead in the two-party-preferred vote. Labor’s primary vote is just above its poll-record low of 26 per cent last July.

The Nielsen pollster, John Stirton, said the avalanche of bad media for Labor after the Queensland rout would have contributed to the plunge and it would take more polls to determine whether the damage was permanent. ”The longer-term trend had been towards Labor so we will have to wait and see if this ‘Queensland effect’ washes out of the system in the next month or so,” he said.

The poll showed Mr Abbott had a slight lead over Ms Gillard as preferred prime minister by 48 per cent to 45 per cent. Ms Gillard’s approval rating was steady at 36 per cent and her disapproval rating was down 1 point to 59 per cent. Mr Abbott’s approval rating was down 2 points to 39 per cent, a personal low for him, and his disapproval stayed steady at a personal record high of 56 per cent.

Paul Keating, as ever, can be relied on to provide trenchant opinions:

Allowing for the fact that vision and leadership is necessary, and the polls suggest a lack of faith in both the PM and the Leader of the Opposition, the Government needs to address the political reality. As Robert Mann, who did not get a word in the video, demonstrated the problem is deep seated. The latest poll, influenced as it may be by current developments, does not change the pattern:

Whatever his failings, Kevin Rudd was popular with the electorate, and his degrading by his colleagues so as to prevent his return and by implication damage his leadership should he be successful, may well prove a critical and foolish political mistake.

If these polls continue, for the next two to three months, the prime ministership will prove to be terminal even those who live in the Canberra bubble, and then the problem will be the even larger question as who might step forward and make a difference.

Elsewhere:

At Crikey, Charles Richardson is sceptical about the polling alarmism raised by the latest Nielsen Poll, which is less frequent than it’s competitors.  Political fortunes can change. There would appear to be cyclical trend at play independent of the political actors, and looking at  the two-party preferred results for the Government given the time to the next election it is not too concerning. However look at the primary vote for the ALP, there a clearly questions to be addressed. Why now is this so low?  What are the electoral implications? It is relevant to observe that this low primary vote is attracted by a party in government.

The inference is that such a party will need to lose office before it can address the issues and rebuild with the reaction to the government that follows. It would appear to be political stupidity to alienate your base. One suggestion might be the adoption of neoliberalism as an ideology in public policy, rather than to identify that ideology, along with climate change and peak oil, as part of the suite of structural problems besetting the global community, of which Australia is a part – for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

Antony Green expresses scepticism about the terminal nature of the ALP’s recent polling. What is not noticed is that the leadership at the Federal level is timid, they jump at shadows, their grasp of the electorate is manipulated by focus groups, and the attitudes expressed, such as the PM’s denigration of human rights in Parliament, is often reactionary. The cannot even address public policy issues, let alone the deeper structural problems of the party. So they are remarkably similar to the British Labour and the US Democratic Party. Something is going on.

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