And Thus Spake Newspoll
Posted by Possum Comitatus on September 19, 2007
My humblest apologies for the delay on the Newspoll low-down; I’ve been organising a few things for the election and will have an announcement about that soon (insert mysterious music)
When the Newspoll rolled out on Monday night, I was expecting to wake up to headlines reading “Howard poised to take Denison” or some equally silly interpretation of polling noise. But no, journos and commentators across the land generally kept it in their pants.
As we’ve been saying for months, the polls are moving about 2 points around a long run mean of 56-57/43-44 on TPP and 47-48/38-39 on primaries. Adding in the final September poll to our monthly aggregate of Newspolls, we end up with:
Again – it’s just more of the same. If you remember back to the last Newspoll when the headline 59 figure came out, we said:
“The headline numbers will undoubtedly have the politicians, commentators and pollyjunkies running around like headless chooks in varying states of euphoria or complete panic, depending on ones political bent.
But underneath these headline figures it is nothing more than business as usual.
Nothing has actually changed since March. The nature of polling series is such that they wander a few points around their true level simply because of the probabilistic nature of sampling that occurs with opinion polls.
But so saying, break out the popcorn because the fallout is going to be worth watching”
And it really was all rather amusing over the last 2 weeks. They’re fickle, predictable little creatures those pollies.
There were a couple of other interesting bits in the Newspoll. The Coalition leadership question which suggested that Petulant Pete was about as popular as nappy rash and Malcolm Turnbull was about as popular as, well…. Malcolm Turnbull.
But the other bit was on the question of the strength of voter support:
What I haven’t seen picked up anywhere much around the place was talk on these figures (but so saying, I could well just have missed it).
The ALP is ahead by a large margin on primaries, yet these figures clearly suggest that the ALP vote is actually stronger than the Coalition vote.61% of the ALPs primary vote is rusted on while only 58% of the Coalitions vote is the same. The “probably will” voters have the Coalition one point in front 29 to 28.But the Coalition has soft support at 11 compared to the ALPs 10.
But to fully absorb the power of these figures, you have to place them in the context of the true primary vote being close to 10 points higher for the ALP.
So not only is the ALP vote higher, but it is at least as strong as the Coalition vote.
To highlight this, if the “maybe” voters for each party changed between now and the election, representing the best and worse case scenario for each party, the ALP primary would be reduced by 10% (about 5 points) from 47-48 to 42-43.However, if the soft voters for the Coalition all shifted, the Lib/Nat primary vote would fall 11% (or about 4 points)to around 34/35 *.
A scary prospect indeed for the conservatives if we take these numbers at face value, and assume that he who wins the election campaign will make the greatest inroads into their opponents soft vote.The best the Coalition can do if the “soft vote” deserts the ALP is to come roughly equal to the ALP on primaries – only to lose on preferences.
Which gets us back to a question I asked earlier – what happens if Rudd wins the campaign?
These numbers put some meat on the bones of that particular question.
The conclusion from the Newspoll is pretty simple – its business as usual on the primaries, business as usual on the TPP, Howard is the most popular Coalition leader by a powerful lack of alternatives and the Coalition vote is not only dismally small, but considering its size it’s also dismally weak.When your primary is hanging around 39 and you get the rough end of the pineapple on preference flows, 4 points is the difference between a post election result where there’s more party room members than shadow portfolios to divvy out, or close to the the reverse.
* Thanks to BB for pointing out an earlier mistake.