Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Newspoll: ALP 56-LNP 44

This week's Newspoll was expected to show a drop in the ALP's support. It didn't. In fact it increased from 55-45 to 56-44, which in reality means no real change.

The big news as far as the media was concerned was the fall in Kevin Rudd's satisfaction rating. He went down from 64% to 58%. And the dissatisfaction went from 26% to 31%. In the Preferred PM stakes, Rudd went from leading Turnbull by 64%-19% to a slightly less ludicrous lead of 58%-24%.

The media got a little giddy about this; especially over at The Oz. Lenore Taylor, who usually keeps her analysis quite level-headed, suggested that the results showed "more people have started listening to Malcolm Turnbull, but they haven't yet decided to vote for him".

Essentially that is a meaningless statement. So satisfaction now is a barometer of people listening to him?? Turnbull's satisfaction rating has always had low levels of people uncommitted - especially for an opposition leader. People have been listening to him - they don't like him.

In this latest poll, his satisfaction rating did rise - up from 36% to 40% - and his dissatisfaction rating did fall - down from 45% to 42%. But just look at that - after supposedly a strong week, during which people had "started listening to him", more people still are dissatisfied with what he has to say than are satisfied.

And if we go back a couple months we see nothing much has changed (nothing that is all that good for Turnbull anyway). In the 6-8 March Newspoll, Turnbull's satisfaction rating was 44% (4 points higher than it is now). His dissatisfaction rating was 39% (3% lower than it is now). So in the last two months he's actually gone backwards!

Back then the preferred PM score was 61%-21%, so yes he has picked up 3% there. But do you really think that is a sign of him getting momentum?

The fact is these were good polls for the ALP. A collection of voters didn't like the Budget, but instead of saying they'd change their vote, they merely gave Rudd a bit of a cuff behind the ear.

Wouldn't be too worried were I in the ALP headquarters.

The other questions asked in the poll about the Budget are more illuminating. When asked if the Budget will be good or bad for the economy, 45% said good or extremely good; 33% said bad or extremely bad, 7% said neither, 15% said dunno.

When compared with previous years, this rates it just above the average reception to the last 17 Budgets of 43% good. Last year's Budget was given a 49% good rating.

The crucial question asked though was whether the Liberal Party have delivered a better budget. Only 33% said yes, and 51% said no. So while 44% would vote for the LNP, only 33% of voters think they would deliver a better budget. That's not a good ratio. Only one age group gave the ALP a less than 50% mark on the who would deliver a better budget question - and that was the traditional Liberal friendly 50+ age bracket. And even that group still gave the ALP a 49% vote (compared to 37% for the LNP).

So the media can talk all they like, but I will say this right now - if the Liberals can't even get more pensioners thinking they would deliver a better budget, if more people think Turnbull is doing a poor job than a good one, and if Rudd has a 30+% gap in the Better PM stakes, then any talk of an election win for the Liberals is just a fantasy - especially with the ALP Primary vote at 46%. (That last point is enough to render everything else irrelevant.)

At this point you can't even say they're back in the game; I'm not sure if I'd even say they've made it out of the changerooms and are waiting on the sidelines. The best I can say is they're looking like they might be about to come out of the changerooms. Perhaps.

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