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Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.

Somewhere in the background, there is the noise of the election campaign. I am not a party to it, nor am I its’ object. Grinding on remorselessly, one supposes, the campaign is asking for, but not deserving, attention.

The foundational expression of democracy we are told, in which minimally we get to critically scrutinize the qualities and intentions of our putative democratic leaders and there policy intentions. Meanwhile, we engage in a most foolish exercise to choose who will represent us locally and in the Senate. The later is the most difficult exercise conscientiously, so obviously we have the least information. The spin doctors constant seek the magic potion. They constantly search for the emotional hot buttons, the more insubstantial and inconsequential the better, in the search for the appeals that swings the outcome. This is especially the case now the polls show a close outcome is in prospect.

Elections are really now about opinions recorded by polls, and not all that silly distractions such as a form of deep democratic conversation – just saying (so look who is talking). Ignore everything else democracy is about polling. Simon Jackman, in The Guardian, is we are to assume one of the high priests of polling divination. He sets out the current situation, so I can be up to date, oblivious to the real political world of television:

Only the Morgan poll has Labor level level with the Coalition, and this is when preferences are allocated by respondents. If preferences are allocated as at the 2010 election (the industry default), then the Morgan estimate of Labor two-party preferred (TPP) falls to 49.5%.

The “poll of polls” based on this data puts Labor on 48.2% TPP, with a “margin of error” (a 95% credible interval) of +/- 1.4 percentage points.

The probability that Labor’s current TPP support lies below its 2010 result (50.12%) is 99.6%.

This means we’re seeing the lowest level of Labor TPP support since Rudd returned to the leadership. According to older figures from the same model, Labor’s post-Gillard TPP peak was 49.7% on 6 July.

The interesting question is what is causing this latest shift in opinion. Could it be the Murdoch entry into democratic manipulation? Of perhaps something else? Movements in sentiment in relation to political brands and leaders is, it might be imagined, something that polls might be able to track.The diviners of public opinion should be able to detect the gusts and breezes of changing opinion, about facts and policies, and the influence of the agenda setters in the mass propaganda media system.

If we had access to Channel 4, in Britain, we could have watched the following program, but perhaps the question of refugees and asylum seekers were not the hot bottom issue this week. As it was I came across it on Informed Comment:

If our response is to be callous indifference and violence, overseen by a high ranking military officer probably given the policy prescription is most appropriate. Could not the Australian Government exercise some influence, even moral influence, on the source of the problem on the border between Bangladesh and Burma? Now we are the brave pioneers of the Asian Century, might we not exert some influence some influence on Thailand – or is that a no go area, since it involves fundamental human rights and that strange, often alien notion in human affairs, the fair go. Any involvement would imply accepting refugees, and we could not have that. Just think what it would change to the polls!


The real political world should include talkback radio. Being my usual agreeable self, I said nothing, but I was truly impressed how well the talking points had been learnt in a casual conversation. The problem then becomes how can we engage in a productive exchange of ideas.



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