Monday, June 28, 2010

Newspoll ALP 53 – LNP 47 (or this is irrelevant, apparently)

Today Newspoll become one of the mass of polls to come out to give us a view of what the people think of Julia Gillard. Of course such polls are always a bit ropey. All it really examines is an initial gut feeling on Julia – and it must be said the initial feeling seems to be very positive.

The 2 Party Preferred sees the ALP increase from 52 to 53% (ie nothing really), but the big move was in the the primary votes. The ALP gained 7% going from 35% to 42%. Significantly all of the 7% came from The Greens (5%) and “others (25). The LNP stayed constant on 40%. SO the Gillard move has not brought over any Liberal voters yet.

What this means is that those voters who “parked their votes” with the Greens seem to have come back – suggesting that it wasn’t the ALP they didn’t like, but Kevin Rudd. And while that’s all fine and dandy, it does suggest that come the election they would have most likely voted for the ALP over the LNP (because if that wasn’t the case, why didn’t they go to the LNP in the first place?)

The last 6 Newspoll results have seen the ALP 2 Party preferred go 54, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53. So after the drop from 54 to 49, the ALP under Rudd was making slow but steady progress back to where they were at the 2007 election. They got there now under Gillard.

But you see this is all meaningless. You know why? Well Dennis Shanahan tells me so. You all those people talking about the two parry preferred figure were kidding themselves – all anyone who mattered was really worried about was the primary vote:

So, by last Monday all the people urging Gillard to challenge for the leadership knew Labor's primary vote was stuck at an unwinnable 35 per cent and Abbott was starting to make ground on Rudd. Coupled with the marginal seats polling from Newspoll showing both Abbott and Gillard ahead of Rudd in western Sydney and Gillard, a Victorian, only six points behind Rudd in the marginal seats in his home state of Queensland, Labor leaders knew they had to move against Rudd or face electoral oblivion.

Everyone else? Sorry, but you got it wrong:

Yet, even as Gillard knew Labor was in a losing position and there were MPs and others poised to bring down Rudd in her favour, there continued to be a misreading of the Newspoll results.

At last Tuesday's general ALP caucus meeting, former national ALP secretary and retiring MP Bob McMullan attacked The Australian for its presentation of the Newspoll results and the reporting of the figures. McMullan's argument was that Labor was safe because its two-party-preferred support in Newspoll was rising and Abbott had a negative satisfaction rating -- that is 49 per cent were dissatisfied with his job as Leader of the Opposition and 38 per cent were satisfied. This meant Abbott had a negative satisfaction rating of 11 points.

Although the substantial moves to replace Rudd were already under way before the Newspoll survey was published, McMullan's argument was championed on so-called psephological websites dedicated to polling analysis declaring there was nothing but conspiracies aimed at Rudd and Labor, and he would win because the two-party-preferred figure had improved one point in Labor's favour to 52, to the Coalition's 48 per cent.

Gosh darned, those evil “so-called psephological websites”.

Poor Dennis is so insecure about his own analysis that ever couple of weeks he feels an overwhelming need to criticise bloggers (especially those on Crikey). He decides to give us all some advice, just to show he knows better:

The reason the two-party-preferred figure misled some Labor MPs and bloggers was that it is a calculated figure and not based, outside election campaigns, on a direct question as to preferences.

Can I get a “well, duh!” from everyone? Geez Dennis, what insight. Here’s the thing. If the two party preferred is so pointless, why report it? If using a calculated figure is so terrible, why does Newspoll do it and not, like Nielsen, ask voters where they will direct their preferences?

Is Newspoll really that bad at working this stuff out? (Check out Possum for some better nerdy analysis of the polls and Dennis’s views)

But all the political journalists (especially those at The Oz) are desperate to claim they knew what was going on. I found it quite amusing to see The Australian's online political editor, Samantha Maiden, tweet on Friday:

Anyone sick of multiple journos bragging they broke yarn that killed Kevin ? I must say I find it ghoulish, and distasteful. #spill

It’s a rather amusing tweet, especially when in today’s Oz there was this bit of ghoulish bragging:

Rumblings in the News Limited faction. Dennis Shanahan and Patricia Karvelas's splash last Saturday:

KEY Labor MPs are prepared to move against Kevin Rudd's leadership to make way for Julia Gillard as early as next week.

It’s pretty distasteful to me….but hell, you have to admit those guys at The Oz were spot on! On Saturday they were all over it; pity then this bit written on Wednesday (you know the actual day of the spill):

PM's position is secure, party's is not

  • Dennis Shanahan, Political editor
  • From: The Australian
  • June 23, 2010 12:00AM

KEVIN Rudd was a changed man in parliamentary question time yesterday.

He was relaxed, smiling - that genuine grin, not the forced one - and promoting the government's achievements. The Prime Minister was in exactly the mood some key powerbrokers wanted after weeks of plummeting polls, negative publicity and genuine thoughts of leadership change.

The battle, the tough time, the big challenges for Labor are all there but the school of thought that it would be suicide to engineer a leadership change has prevailed.

As well, Julia Gillard would not move against the Prime Minister.

Rudd seems safe to lead Labor through to the election, whether parliament resumes in August or not and whether the election is in September or October.

Yesterday McMullan said Labor did the right thing then in changing leaders to guarantee victory. Most Labor MPs are now hoping they have done the right thing in not precipitating a leadership change now.

Whatever happens, Rudd has almost certainly survived until the election with far worse polling numbers than Beazley in 2006.

Yep, they were right on top of it. …

imageThe poll today shows not a lot has changed on the 2PP stakes this year. There’s been that one dip below 50%, but other than that the ALP has remained in the lead. And yes, I know the 2PP is based on the preferences of the last election. The reason this is done is because it’s a pretty damn good measure of preference flows. No one ever suggests that Primary votes are irrelevant. But to dismiss the two party preferred is to pretend we live in a first past the post electoral world. We don’t. 

Now sure, the ALP hard heads obviously were focussing on the primary vote, and likely the preferred PM – which Abbott at the last Newspoll had narrowed to 46-37. At this point I should recall that back in July 2008 I wrote:

I don’t think any poll will matter until the opposition leader is within 15% of Rudd on preferred PM. If Rudd stays above 50%, and Nelson or Turnbull or whoever can’t get above 35%, then the election will be a rout.

Geez. I picked the spill 2 years out!!


r591801_3791431Julia Gillard today let us know that the election will be in August. By making only two very small changes to the Cabinet due to her move to the PM’s office suggests the election cometh soon.

Moving Simon Crean to Employment, Education and Work Place Relations put an old head in a position that will get a lot of question during the campaign. If you’re going to the election early, you don’t want to put some newbie in to the role; you want someone who knows how to deal with journalists questions on BER funding and such. Similarly giving Stephen Smith Crean’s old job of Trade in addition to his Foreign Affairs role suggest minimal movement and little fuss. 

And given the size of both portfolios – both of which are normally managed by two Ministers each, suggests she is not going to leave these two struggling with the massive workload for very long.

The mining profits tax is still a big issue, and the media has almost made it a prerequisite of calling the election that it is all resolved. I wouldn't be surprised if Julia gets that done. Similarly I believe she’ll also come up with some sort of climate change policy.

Give her three weeks to do that, and she can call an election for August 24…


The oldest political joke tweaked for 2010: How do you know when Tony Abbott is lying? He moves his lips.

The guy cannot talk without lying, bullshitting or exaggerating the truth. It is in his nature – he’ll do it to get a laugh, a gasp, to stop a talk-back DJ’s attack. He lies and then the next day he comes out and makes the excuse. Last week he lied about whether or not had said the Liberal Party was on the verge of a famous victory. First it was reported he did say it (by the Liberal Party spokesperson George Brandis – their shadow Attorney General, so not a guy who is loose with words – actually he is a bloody pedant on the meaning of words); then Abbott denied saying it, then on the 7:30 Report he admitted he did say it, but it wasn't all he said.

So yeah, he lies. All the time.

Now that is bad enough (and really deserves a hell of a lot more coverage from the media) but when he starts suggesting others lie – especially people of such high standing as Lindsay Tanner – well that’s when I start to get bloody angry.

Here was Tanner in Parliament (the one place where politicians make sure they never, ever lie) announcing his retirement:

I want to stress that this decision is driven entirely and absolutely by matters of personal circumstances. There are, frankly, two little girls and two older kids who need me more than the country needs me.

When I married my wife, Andrea, nine years ago, I said in the speech at the celebration that every day that we were apart was painful. I am afraid that is still true. These are circumstances that I am sure most members of the House will understand only too well—indeed, better than many in the community.

People will know from media reports that I and my wife have purchased a property just outside Melbourne. This of course is not unrelated to my decision.

I am aware that in the current political environment—a rather unusual environment—all kinds of speculation and conspiracy theories will emerge with respect to the decision that I have taken. I want to assure the House that this decision is totally and absolutely unconnected with the events of the past 24 hours. It involves no reflection on either the previous Prime Minister or the incoming Prime Minister. It involves no reflection on the government’s policies and it involves no reflection on the prospects of Labor holding the seat of Melbourne.

Now maybe you think Tanner is lying and if you do, I’m sorry we must part ways, because if Gillard were the reason Tanner would simply have not made such an unequivocal statement. The bit about buying a property outside of Melbourne refers to this interview on Insiders on June 13:

BARRIE CASSIDY: The public housing, the congestion, is that what caused you to recently leave the electorate?

LINDSAY TANNER: Well I'm in the process of seeking to get another base, another home in the electorate. That hasn't been finalised yet.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you've moved out of the electorate haven't you?

LINDSAY TANNER: Well I was actually 150 metres outside the electorate to start with Barrie. But I'm in the process of obtaining an apartment somewhere in the western part of my electorate. That hasn't been finalised but that's continuing.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you have bought a farm outside of Melbourne?

LINDSAY TANNER: Yeah I've purchased a property out there. That involves complicated family issues that I have no intention of discussing publicly.

If you view the footage you will see Tanner is very uncomfortable talking about it. I have to say, when I saw it I thought he might be in the process of divorcing his wife… it had that feel about it – that it was a very personal and painful issue.

Now Tony Abbott in Parliament stood up and responded to Tanner’s announcement with this:

But, that said, when he says that the events of the last 24 hours had nothing to do with his decision we believe him. I am sure there is no sense of reluctance to continue serving, and I do believe that this place will be the poorer for his absence.

First off, what a prick. As if he needs to let everyone know that he believes Tanner – as though that has any fucking relevance. You could tell when he said it he was stating it purely to let it be known that he didn't’ really believe him – 0r to alert people that they should question Tanner’s motives. But note the line in bold. Was he lying? Well yes, he was. How do we know? Because it took him two days to change his story. Here was Abbott on Saturday at the Liberal Party National Conference:

Now, I regret to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that the new Prime Minister is as addicted to tax as her predecessor. She has never seen a tax that she didn’t support and so far her only recorded contribution to smaller government is to take the Gang of Four and to turn it into a Gang of Two, and she’s done that by driving out of the Government the Minister for Finance, Lindsay Tanner, who was its only economically literate member.

So now he doesn't’ believe Tanner. In fact he is accusing Tanner of lying to Parliament. Here, in a carefully prepared and written speech, he states that the reason Tanner has retied is because Gillard has become PM.

Well I’m sorry Abbott, but just because you lie every time you speak do not assume those who are better than you in every possible way are somehow as contemptuous of the public as you.

I used to think seeing Howard lose was as good a feeling as I would ever have from politics. But no, seeing this poor excuse for an MP go down on election day will be so much better.


BK said...

That was brilliant! You have characterised Abbott with perfection.

john said...

Well, it actually did have to do with the last 24 hours. Kevin Rudd had persuaded him to run in this election, and I'm pretty sure having his archnemesis wrangle Prime Ministership wouldn't have been a great inducement for Tanner to stay on.

Greg Jericho said...

John, no Rudd did not persuade him to run. Here's what Tanner said:

"I just wish to outline some of
the reasoning behind my decision. A couple of weeks ago I spoke with the then Prime Minister indicating
that it was my intention not contest the coming election.

He asked me to delay consideration of this decision, indeed to reconsider. He indicated that he wanted me to stay on as a minister even if I did choose to step down. I concurred with his request and we agreed that we would revisit the matter at the end of the parliamentary sitting period.

In fact, we had an appointment
scheduled for 9.30 this morning to consider this matter. As you all know, by one of those strange quirks of fate that tend to occur in politics, other matters intervened.

So I found myself doing what I expected to do—namely, confirming my intention not to recontest the
election—slightly later in the day to a different Prime Minister, the incoming Prime Minister."

Which makes it clear - Rudd had asked him to reconsider. And jhe asked Tanner to wait 2 weeks before announcing it (ie on what everyone expects to be the last sitting day before the election). Tanner makes it clear regardless of who the PM was, he was going to reconfirm his decision on Thursday.

Julia's move to PM had nothing to do with it. Tanner makes that abundantly clear. You can believe Tanner or you can believe Abbott. I know who I believe.

john said...

It's not about believing either of them. It's about knowing that Tanner blocked Gillard's preselection two elections in a row, and knowing that defending a marginal seat is much more appealing if you're an influential minister rather than an ignored enemy of the boss.

Greg Jericho said...

John your arguement would be correct if only Tanner had not told parliament that he had already made his decision two weeks ago.

john said...

And you think that an appointment with his strong ally Kevin Rudd would have gone exactly the same as an interview with Gillard, who has been his bitter enemy for over 30 years, do you?

Greg Jericho said...

I think he would have said, "Kev, I haven't changed my mind".

A bloke like Tanner would not tell Rudd he's quitting and then 2 weeks later say he's changed his mind.

The fact that he had bought a farm and intends to move shows this has been a while in the maming - that is not something you do off the cuff.

You can think what you want. I'll take Tanner at his word. He didn't need to be as equivocable, he could have just said he was retiring for personal reasons.

And regardless - it doesn't change the fact that Abbott has said two completely contradictory things in the space of 2 days.

If (as he said in Parliament) he took Tanner at his word, then what he said to he Lib National Conference was a lie. If he believed what he said at the National Conference then he was lying in Parliament when he said he took Tanner at his word.

The guy shoots his mouth off, and lies when it suits him.

john said...

Dude, I'm not talking about Abbott, I'm talking about how Gillard made a huge enemy in Tanner, and though he might have stayed on under Rudd, there's no chance under her.

He wouldn't be the only one. There are rumours that a few backbenchers in marginal Queensland seats that are only running because Kevin Rudd persuaded them to, and that's not there now he's gone.

Greg Jericho said...

Oh John, yeah Julia made enemies. And yes Julia and Tanner were enemeies in the left faciton of Victoria.

Big deal.

It's the freaking ALP. No one gets to the top of that party without making enemies. Hawke had enemies, Keating did too. The problem with Rudd is he made enemies but didn't have any faction in his corner. No one who said "this is our guy, bugger off".

"Rumours" about QLD marginal seat backbenchers? Oh geez, if Kev had such hold over QLD, where were they during this? He has as many enemies in QLD as he does eleswhere - check out Bill Ludwig and Peter Beattie (actually he probably has more enemies in that state).

And sorry but this is about Abbott. Explain to me how his two statements can both be truthful? The point is he stretches the truth (or let's be blunt, lies) when it suits him.

If he didn't believe Tanner (like you obviously don't) then why did he say in Parliament that he did? There was no need for him to say he believed him, and yet he did. I am judging Abbott by what he says. And on that score he comes up well short.