Well that's a nice way to end the year isn't it? How would you like to be Malcolm Turnbull - you reach the end of the parliamentary year, having been leader of the Liberal Party since the beginning of October, and in that time, according to newspoll the ALP primary vote has gone from 41% to 48%, while the Liberal-National Primary vote has gone from 38% to 35%.
Job well done I'd say.
And on the two party preferred it's gone from 55-45 to now 59-41. Oh for the days of "Game On!".
And you know you're in trouble when even the Liberal Party's most ardent supporters in the media can't even muster a silver lining, but instead are reduced to writing:
THIS Newspoll is a disaster for Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition. It's everything they didn't want just when they didn't want it.
Every indicator for the Coalition is down, and not only down but back to, or dropping towards, levels of support they suffered under Brendan Nelson, the Liberal leader they said had to go only 10 weeks ago.
Kevin Rudd and Labor have shot back to record levels of voter support - with the biggest single rise in the ALP's primary vote since the election, and with the Prime Minister's satisfaction rating back up to 70 per cent.
Mr Rudd now leads the Opposition Leader as preferred prime minister by the same massive margin - 47 percentage points - he held over Dr Nelson the weekend before the Liberal leadership changed 10 weeks ago.
Geez; not much Christmas cheer there. And when you think that on the preferred PM stakes, Rudd is now up 66% to 19%, well you can't say the populous has flocked to Turnbull.
Now sure 59-41 is idiotic. There is now way such a result would occur at an election. It's what's called an "outlier poll". And yet the thing is all the odd polls always go in the ALP's favour (or at least they have for the last 2 years). Were the result to be say 52-48, the Libs would be beside themselves with joy, forgetting for the moment the fact that that was the result at the election last year. I seem to recall one group being beside themselves with joy last November... hmmm who was that?
The interesting side note to this poll was the question on whether Wayne Swan or Julie Bishop was more capable to be treasurer. Swan won 45%-21%. The result produced this from Denis Shanahan:
Julie Bishop, who opted to take on Treasurer Wayne Swan, has crashed and given Swan his first lead over a Liberal opposite number after hopelessly trailing Peter Costello and being pipped by Turnbull.
Hang on. His first lead? That couldn't be right. Because I recall writing in a September post that:
And given that back in May after the budget was delivered newspoll showed that voters saw Wayne Swan as the most capable person to handle the economy over Turnbull by 40% to 26%, I don't see why Rudd would want to go with the runner-up.
Sure enough you click on the link and go to the last page, you'll find this from 20 May 2008:
WHICH OF MR WAYNE SWAN AND MR MALCOLM TURNBULL DO YOU THINK IS MOST CAPABLE OF MANAGING AUSTRALIA’S ECONOMY AS FEDERAL TREASURER?
Swan: 40% ; Turnbull 26%
Looks like a win to Swan to me.
And yet if you look at the chart provided in today's The Australian, the polls on best economic manager only show the result of Swan v Turnbull on April 20 (which Turnbull won 35%-29% - yeah a huge victory).
So it's a bit of a lie by Shanahan really, especially when you consider on 20 May he wrote the following:
The Treasurer has also reversed his position in relation to Malcolm Turnbull - a 20-point turnaround from a deficit of six points has given him a lead of 14 points on economic management over the Opposition's Treasury spokesman
Now I'm no fan of Julie Bishop. But if they're going to try and bring her down, it would be nice if they could at least use the facts.
If you are wondering why Turnbull is doing so poorly, here's a good example of why.
Last week in a vote on use of the "Communications fund" in the Senate, the Coalition cabinet decided that its senators would not vote against the bill. What happened was complete disarray. All the National Senators voted against the Bill; 2 Liberal Senators also voted against it. 5 Liberal Senators voted for the Bill, and the other 30 abstained.
No one knew what the hell was going on. Laurie Oakes reports were that some Liberal senators, unaware what was going on fled the Senate floor before the doors were locked for the vote!
And yet, what do we read tonight:
MALCOLM Turnbull has not ruled out a federal merger between the Liberals and Nationals as he called for unity between the parties.
"We work very closely together in coalitions,'' Mr Turnbull told reporters in Melbourne.
Yes Malcolm, you can't even get the two parties to agree on a vote in the Senate, but you will be able to get the entire national memberships of both parties to agree to a joint constitution with joint governance arrangements and a binding set of principles and voting rights that are acceptable to those in country QLD and inner Sydney.
It's his one big failing, and he can't stop himself. His initial reaction is always to go over the top and promise or say too much. He'll pledge full support for the Government's economic package, then he'll criticise it the next day. He'll say Work Choices is dead and buried, but then refuse to say whether the coalition will vote against the Government's IR policy in the senate. He'll say how big an environmentalist he is, and then come across all dithery about when an emissions trading system should start.
He needs to think first, before making the grand statement. In private-sector life you can get away with such things - it's part of the sales pitch; it gets the buyers interested. In politics it makes you look shifty and shallow.
Unless he changes that style, he'll struggle to ever get within cooee of Rudd.