Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

More on The Narrowing

Posted by Possum Comitatus on November 30, 2007

 

We know that there was a slight narrowing in the last week of the campaign via the published polls and we’ve also heard that the same phenomenon was occurring in the internal tracking polls from both sides – at least until the bogans of Lindsay were unleashed

A good question is what was occurring that was driving people back towards the Coalition at the end of the campaign?

The Coalition set piece campaigning was pretty dismal, and was hardly eyeball grabbing stuff – let alone inspirational. So do you think it was the advertising campaign? If so, what message do you think would have resonated in that last week to drag a few points back for the Coalition?

Also interesting was that once again the small “L” liberal vote in seats like North Sydney threatened to move to Labor but come Election Day it never eventuated. These really are the folks that seem to tell the pollsters one thing and then do another thing at the ballot box.

In terms of the State breakdowns of the published polls, Qld seemed to be the only state where the vote was pretty stable at the long term level the polls were suggesting.

I’d be interested in your thoughts.

128 Responses to “More on The Narrowing”

  1. GrahamS said

    The polls narrowed in the final week because Howard said they would and John Howard is a genius.
    Ummmm. OK, Take two.
    The narrowing could have had something to do with the length of the campaign. The waverers were getting bored and switching off. Perhaps it all became too difficult for them to concentrate that long. According to George M on Insiders we can be grateful for the Primates in Lindsay. They might have saved the day for Labor and lost the rodent his seat. My tribute to the bogans here:

  2. Dave Solomon said

    Perhaps Morgan was right and there was an element of “soft” support for Labor.

    Perhaps Peter Garrett’s “we’ll change it all” comment planted a seed of doubt into the decision making process of the undecided voters and “soft” ALP supporters.

    Whatever the case, the Lindsay Lynch Mob killed any momentum the Coalition was building over the last week of the campaign, consigning the former government to the political gallows.

  3. Cat said

    On the subject of the ‘doctor’s wives’ I tend to agree with my brother who observed the other day that they never intended to switch. He lives in a crap flat in Kirribilli and his reasoning was simple ” I walk around the surrounding suburbs every day and the cars are absurd. There is always at least a dozen super expensive cars – not just your Beamers or Mercs but Lamborghinis, Ferrari, Rollers and Bentleys. Those people not only follow the market but own half of it. They were never going to do anything to risk that for their finer feelings let alone given the turmoil on the markets.” I think there is some truth in that.

    As to the swing back in other areas I think there is a smaller level of that plus what I said here at the time about Bogan-gate. It does not matter whether the humans argue about whether the dog whistle should have been blown – the dogs still here and respond. I think however the dog whistle was not just about bogan-gate but also the Andrews and Haneef revelations* (it was the G-G after all that highlighted them), the anti-union campaign ratcheting up to the level of hysteria and the “extremists and learners” line which was patently absurd unless you happen to have bought into all the myths about the Keating government which a very large slice of the public did. The real damage was done to Labor’s primary vote which suggests sufficient fears of its competence were raised to make a difference.

    * sure they were unflattering to the government but they reminded people what they actually thought of booting him regardless of his actual involvement in anything untoward.

  4. Cat said

    On the subject of the ‘doctor’s wives’ I tend to agree with my brother who observed the other day that they never intended t o switch. He lives in a crap flat in Kirribilli and his reasoning was simple ” I walk around the surrounding suburbs every day and the cars are absurd. There is always at least a dozen super expensive cars – not just your Beamers or Mercs but Lamborghinis, Ferrari, Rollers and Bentleys. Those people not only follow the market but own half of it. They were never going to do anything to risk that for their finer feelings let alone given the turmoil on the markets.” I think there is some truth in that.

    As to the swing back in other areas I think there is a smaller level of that plus what I said here at the time about Bogan-gate. It does not matter whether the humans argue about whether the dog whistle should have been blown – the dogs still here and respond. I think however the dog whistle was not just about bogan-gate but also the Andrews and Haneef revelations* (it was the G-G after all that highlighted them), the anti-union campaign ratcheting up to the level of hysteria and the “extremists and learners” line which was patently absurd unless you happen to have bought into all the myths about the Keating government which a very large slice of the public did. The real damage was done to Labor’s primary vote which suggests sufficient fears of its competence were raised to make a difference.

    * sure they were unflattering to the government but they reminded people what they actually thought of booting him regardless of his actual involvement in anything untoward.

  5. Cat said

    Oops!

  6. Ronin said

    My take on the issue : “Demographic is Destiny”.

    The concept of ‘free will’ is an illusion. Voters of a certain demographic will vote in the same way when exposed to the same stimulus. Some voters don’t pay attention to party policies and is misaligned in regard to election stimulus. In the final week they finally pay attention, and their vote shift in the same way as their more well informed peers – causing the poll to narrow.

    An example of this comes from an article in Daily Telegraph on the day of the Lindsay story blowing up.

    A reporter asked a woman whom she’ll vote for : she replies Labor
    The reporter shows her the ‘Terrorist support Labor’ pamphlet, blows the dog whistle, and she immediately switches her vote to Liberal
    The reporter then tells her the pamphlet is a fake, and she is all confused.

  7. Peachy said

    I reckon some people blinked in the last week when it came time to assess what their future mortgage payments might be. It seemed to me as well that the Libs seriously ratcheted up the TV ad campaign in the last week (until the blackout). The thing you have to remember about quite a few swinging voters is they probably don’t even watch the news – they are not really interested – so they get most of their political opinions from the party ads they see during the Simpsons or Funniest Home Videos.

    Think about it – the Libs must have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on TV advertising – they wouldn’t do it if it didn’t have some effect.

  8. Moondark said

    Maybe the “6 weeks to get a poll jump from tax cuts phenomenon” identified by Possum did finally kick in at the end. Until the events in Lindsay.

    Also I was never a believer in this “doctors wives” thing. People in Rose Bay, Vaucluse, and Wastons Bay in Wentworth were always going vote conservative. If the doctors wives thing was real, why did Tony Abbott only get a small swing against him in Warringah (< 2%), which takes in some of the most expensive real estate areas in Sydney?

    I reckon it was just the relentless advertising about Labor being inexperienced and risky that helped the Coalition, as well as those “union thugs” ads. Could not turn on the TV or read a paper without seeing these ads in the last week.

    Or maybe it was the public love-in the PM and Treasurer had on TV in the final week? Naahhhhh!!!

  9. josh lyman said

    One of the remarkable things about the polls during the campaign is that they seemed independent of events in the campaign. But millions of people DO watch the news – it’s a high rater for the commercial channels.

    It could partly be the old theory that if everyone is talking about the economy, the Libs improve, regardless of what is actually being said. The last week and a half of the campaign were almost exclusively about the economy.

    It would seem to me that the theory (I think mentioned by Possum) that the PPM is the best predictor of the actual votes of the last-week-undecideds may be false.

  10. Bushfire Bill said

    I still have trouble accepting that the Lindsay meltdown put a stop to the final week’s narrowing by encouraging waverers to return to Labor. It’s just a gut feeling, but I believe, given a few extra days for Lindsay to sink in, the waverers would have forgotten about it returned to the Coalition fold.

    Of course, they didn’t have a few extra days. They only had two days.

    Therefore my take on Lindsay is that the timing of it was perfect. It gave waverers just enough pause, enough hesitation for Labor to get their votes back. Whoever took those photos and publicised the incident so well (getting the images straight to the Daily Telegraph) is a true hero of the Labor party. I wish we knew who they were so we could erect a statue to them.

    I would also like to challenge the common wisdom that Rudd scored big with his (and I paraphrase) “This spendathon must stop,” declaration. Oh, I know the pundits said it was brilliant, but they have been chronically wrong for most of the campaign and the phoney campaign before it. Why change the habits of a lifetime now?

    And what about the people who thought they deserved government largesse? What would they think about a Labor government cutting back on their “chile care” and their baby bonuses and their $500 handouts for nothing in particular? What would they have thought about Rudd promising to cut back on spending? Howard’s paticular brand of economic vandalism would have been right up their collective alleys, as many of them had become conditioned to bags of handout rice (with “Gift of the Liberal Party” stencilled on every one of them) being ladelled off the back of a truck to the starving throng… them.

    No, this common wisdom that Rudd had trumped Howard took hold in the days after Rudd’s pronouncement, but before any polls came out. It was all blather and hot air from a bunch of self-styled trendsetters in the media. When the polls did come out I detected no big surge back to Labor. In fact, AC Nielsen excepted, all the polls showed a narrowing, or at best no particular surge towards Labor. Wasn’t that why we were all having kittens in the last few days? We were staring at defeat.

    As an explanation for the Narrowing I believe that the wall-to-wall Liberal advertising started to bite. You all know the style of it: “fanatics” and “amateurs”, all “inexperienced” of course, were going to “stuff the economy”. Everywhere you looked – papers, the net, TV commercials, billboards – this was the message. At my wife’s workplace (a large automotive multinational) all the reps and area managers were on about “the unions” who were going to “take over Labor” and, yes, “stuff the economy.” Labor was allegedly terminally confused on climate change and were hell-bent to sacrifice thousands of jobs in energy intensive industries on the altar of Peter Garrett’s greenie daydreams. You all know the drill. I don’t need to list further details of the last week’s Coalition campaign. There was lots of this fluff about. The punters just got worn down, and decided to go back to the Libs if they promised to make that awful racket, that dreadful din stop.

    Why Howard and his cronies didn’t go into overdrive with these scare tactics in the second week of the campaign, and keep it up right through to voting day, I’ll never know. Maybe the Lib pollsters got it wrong. Maybe Labor outfought them on tactics, fooling them into thinking that a more statesmanlike message was the best way to win.

    If it was the latter, then praise is due for the advisors who told Rudd to keep on about the “Liberal Dirt Unit”. It caused a meltdown on the last day of Parliament. The boast was that “Rudd lost it”. But I don’t think he lost it at all. I think he made his point. He dared the Libs to go dirty and they choked on it. By the time they realised they’d been bluffed it was too late.

    But only by a whisker.

  11. John said

    I think that the all out fear campaign really worked a bit. Not so much the union stuff but the whole “they’ll stuff our economy” line – if you say it long enough and loud enough certainly some will be convinced. Fear campaigns work, even if they are based on lies. My memory is that the lib TV advertising was relentless in the last fortnight before the blackout.

    As an ALP supporter I am encouraged by the fact that this line will be completely useless next time around (assuming no global economic meltdown) if Rudd runs a centrist, middle of the road government. So the libs have nowhere to go. What will their slogan be in 3 years time?

    Here in Victoria I am reminded of the 2002 state election where Bracks had finished his first term, did nothing interesting at all, but won a landslide by being a nice guy heading a centrist government. Doyle as opposition leader just had no relevance.

  12. Francis said

    I would say that it’s a truism that governments lose elections. Towards the end of the election, people were starting to think that maybe Howard hadn’t done enough to ‘lose’ the election. Despite WorkChoices, the swinging voter starts to get the Fear – the faceless, nameless Fear that Howard so long has nobly protected us from by generally being such a swashbuckling captain – without a fresh jolt.

    Rudd should get a framed portrait of Jackie Kelly to hang in his office right next to dieter

  13. Lyn said

    Around here in Fadden the letterbox drops didn’t start until the final two weeks. For people who turn off politics on tv, radio and only read the back pages of newspapers this might have been the only campaign stuff they paid attention to.

    Fadden’s Fadden, so it’s not the best example, but could late letterbox drops have made a difference elsewhere? Other than Lindsay I mean.

  14. Ron Brown said

    Possum , I realise you dismissed Howard’s last week repeated statements ‘we are on the right track’ and repeating Keating ‘if you change the country’.

    My view is these comments caused the ‘narrowing’ because the comments cleverly fed into voters EXISTING view supported by the National stats that the Country IS travelling well
    ie. if it ain’t broke , don’t fix it

    Even the negative of work choices could not offset the fact employment is 4% & ‘everyone’ can at least get a job under Howard
    which may be safer than Rudd’s work choices free future with no guarantee the best of Howard’s job etc economy would remain

    This subtle ‘fear’ message I feel worked
    I am glad he did not use it earlier instead of the useless union fear ads

  15. Beach Ball said

    Poss, I call it the “benefit of incumbancy”. The alleged “Narrowing” always benefits the incumbents, no matter who it is.

    The punter’s of Australia like continuity (as shown by the fact that margins rarely get beyond 53-47 in general elections) and while they may think the Rodent is a detestable person, popular opinion was that he was doing an OK job. We saw a similar instance in 1993 with PJK.

    When asked in Polling, the punters say they would like to see “change” and indicate as such, however, when it comes to pushing pencil on paper on election day – they’ll stick with the devil they know. The fear of the unknown is a great fear, and only the brave 3 to 6% of the population are prepared to dive into that unknown and deliver us a new government.

    Think about it, only 3 to 6% of voters change their vote to force a change of government. This is a very small part of the community and hard to identify, let alone capture in a polling exercise.

    Labor is now the “Devil they know” and will benefit from “The Narrowing” next time around.

  16. Kevin B. said

    A coupla weeks ago, Poss, you talked about the “Narrowing” and asked whether people who make up their mind late in the (election) day are any different from the rest of us political tragics who have made up their minds weeks out. Your conjecture was that they would tend to split on about the same proportions as the rest of the population anyway. At the time, I thought this was sensible, but now I wonder if it is correct.

    Howard went all out over the last week to raise the ‘risk’ issue about voting Labor. Even on the 7.30 report, Red Kezza asked him if this was a sensible idea. Howard commented that he was talking to the people who hadn’t made their minds up yet – typically less than 5% of people in the electorate.

    It is possible that his message got through to these people and they split far more towards the Libs based on the fear campaign than to labor. It is worth saying, that many of us actually don’t even meet any of these people on a regular basis, so it is hard from a personal perspective to understand their motivations.

    There is a truism in politics that fear campaigns work – maybe this just reinforces that idea.

  17. Country Kid said

    I think the Howard mantra: “it will change the direction of the country” in the last week worked for him, particularly with indifferent voters. I figure they thought, “well… maybe we should stick with what we have now”.

    As others have noted, the intensity and hysteria of union thugs & wall to wall labor must have shifted people (plus, as poss previously pointed out, stopped the liberal heart land from shifting).

    Funny thing though, the real fear underneath this type of campaign was a ‘core’ liberal fear: that this would be their last fear campaign for a long time.

    They know they can never use fear the way they have in 2001, 2004 & 2007.

    The burst of free speech (opinions writers in the Australian & SMH suddenly have sound reasoning in them) and general optimism & this week has been a major transformation – so the libs have no choice but to come up with a story for the future that has no fear element. It will be a challenge for them.

  18. bilko said

    I agree with Bushfire Bill, the fear campaign was starting to bite, I had the collywobbles as I drove to the Alps to hand out htv cards, I prayed for weeks that the Aussie public would arise from its slumbers and it did, if you get the chance watch the movie “Looker” starring Albert Finney all about subliminal advertising, illegal of course, the libs campaign ultrashort flash messages same idea. I now feel relaxed and comfortable but it has taken me 12 years to finally agree with something the rodent said. Now I must clear my mind of such heinous thoughts and get a life now that is all over

  19. RobertBe said

    In the end the result (seats and 2PP) was right about the same level as Hawkie got in ’83. Which is what the “realistic” expectation was all along. Yes there was a narrowing in the polls but I’m guessing that was more about the nature of opinion polls. 55% TPP was always a mirage, it was always likely to come back to 53.something on the day. It was just a matter of what combination of circumstances had what bums poised over which seats when the music stopped. As Possum has reminded us repeatedly, drawing causal links between campaign incidents and polls over anything but long (months) timeframes is a mug’s game.

    That said, the Lindsay meatheads do take the prize for most outstandingly stupid stunt in recent political memory and the Labor folks who caught them and rushed the art quickly and efficiently to the Tele are heros of the first order.

  20. djm said

    Soft or undecided voters may have been spooked by Howard’s continual reminders, amplified in the last week, that you can’t change the government without changing the direction of the country (straight out of Crosby/Textor). This could well have been the most effective line out of Howard thoughout the campaign, albeit one that is purely defensive.

  21. John said

    Comments so far seem to indicate a bit of a consensus around the fear campaign.

    I agree with Beach Ball @ 15 that next time the ALP has the benefit of incumbency, and that this is a significant advantage. I think the chances of a scare campaign about the libs reviving WorkChoices are odds on.

  22. Tim Byron said

    Is it possible that the Narrowing was merely an artifact of the polls? Remember that the published polls routinely remove the 10-15% of people who are undecided or uninterested from their results (and presumably the somewhat larger percentage who just hang up the phone when rung up by marketers/people running surveys). If those 10% went fairly overwhelmingly to the Coalition – say 75% to the Libs, 25% to Labor – because they were influenced by all that wall-to-wall Coalition advertising, then 53.5% seems about right.

  23. Jude said

    I think it comes down to inertia. If you haven’t made up your mind by the final week of the campaign – if nothing that has been on the airwaves, in the news, on your radar etc has managed to win you to one side or the other by this late stage, then I reckon sheer intellectual laziness and/or political unengagement kicks in, you stay in your mental comfy chair and go with whoever you went with last time as the “safe” option. After all, you probably had a reason for voting for them before (hopefully), and you probably heard some nice things uttered about the incumbents (mostly by them). And if this is the case then, as Beachball said, the incumbent has the advantage, as more people voted for the incumbent last time.

    I think that because Howard had been in so long, as each year brought some new atrocity of the “kids overboard”, WMDs, AWB, Hicks or Haneef variety, a few more Howard voters were lost for good to his government. I reckon many of those who still managed to be uncommitted after all this and Workchoices, climate change etc etc, whilst they might have signalled to pollsters that they were thinking about change, when it came down to it, were just not that interested and reacted in the conservative Aussie way by opting for the status quo aka “the devil you know”.

    I also thinks this explains why there was so little reaction in the polls to any of Howard’s policies or initiatives in the final year. Rusted-on Coalition supporters listened; ALP voters never did. Disenchanted Coalition voters had stopped listening; and the uncommitted might have liked to give the impression they were listening but they were really reading a comic book under the desk.

  24. Ronin said

    The true hero is the Liberal insider who tipped Labor off on the Lindsay fliers. He or she is the Australian version of ‘Deep Throat’.

    Unfortunately, all our ideas about the narrowing cannot be verified. Maybe they like the prospect of Peter Costello being our next PM?? Until we find those people who changed their vote and put them under the microscope, we won’t know.

    The narrowing didn’t happen in QLD – how was the campaign different?

  25. Neilbris aka Ferny Grover said

    I know it’s off point but I’d like your views: The ALP factional system is generally misunderstood, invariably misrepresented in the media and often did the Party no favours when inter-faction brawling hit the news. The system was developed to organise and give official voice to the various philosophical positions that inhabit the Labor party. They also served to ensure that leadership decisions were based on advice received from across the Party and not just on the Leader’s own views/biases/perceptions. This democratic approach to decision-making contrasts with the Liberal party where the Leader is supreme and his (it’s always a he) word is law. This is a weakness for the Libs in that the leader’s power is hard to assail and when the leader pursues an unwise course the whole machine follows him into oblivion (witness their current position). With Mr Rudd muzzling the factions and centralising power in himself, is the ALP now in danger of committing the same folly as the Libs??

  26. David Richards said

    Maybe “The Widening” was a result of the galaxy and newspolls scaring wavered waverers wavering back to ALp for fear the rodent would be returned?

  27. David Richards said

    Alternatively, “The Narrowing” was illusory, caused by MOE and methodological variations introduced in the last galaxy and newspoll polls.

  28. Diana said

    What would be helpful to get hold of is the Labor Party polling. Listening to Tim Gartrell being interviewed on the radio this week, by the last week of the campaign their polling was telling them they had enough momentum to get them over the line, but when they said publicly that they thought it was going to be close, they meant it. I think the Libs were always going to lose Lindsay, from anecdotal evidence, what the publicity around the leaflet scam did was increase the margin of the win in that seat…and more significantly tip the scales in Bennelong.

    I think it is hard to make national generalisations about the election outcome. I would note that in NSW, the campaign was playing out to a daily background of media coverage of a litany of mistakes by our incompetent ALP state government. So I suspect the PM’s final week ‘scare’ was more potent here. I assume in Qld there was a home-town boy factor, and also an appreciation that Rudd had been a senior bureaucrat there so the potency of the ‘inexperienced’ ads wouldn’t have been as great. WA – again a problematic ALP state government was unhelpful to Federal Labor.

    Maybe I had too much confidence in Possum, but I didn’t ever get to a point where I doubted the outcome!

  29. David Richards said

    The “better the devil you know” lot are just as bad as the “my mum and dad vote X, so I’ll vote X”, and the woodenavacloo’s.

  30. Jude said

    According to one of the women interviewed in that rather depressing 4 Corners program a few weeks back, people she knew were going to vote for Howard cos they’d seen him at their shopping mall. Sheesh.

  31. Bushfire Bill said

    Ronin #24 says:

    The true hero is the Liberal insider who tipped Labor off on the Lindsay fliers. He or she is the Australian version of ‘Deep Throat’.

    I’ve been wondering about this, whether it wasn’t a false trail for the Libs to follow, deliberately planted by Labor.

    Maybe it was just a public spirited staffer at the printers? Or, if they did their own printing, maybe a Labor mole inside the Lindsay organization? I don’t want to overdramatize the whole operation, but hey, it was pretty dramatic.

    The Labor “goon squad” (Jackie’s description) sure seemed to know an awful lot of the details regarding “who”, “where” and “when”.

    I still say, though, that there would have been both an upside and a downside in this for Labor. A lot of racist wankers would have agreed with Kelly’s Heroes that Muslims were in league with Labor. It was only a couple of days ago that a pig’s head was put on a stake outside the future site of a Koranic school a little to the south of Sydney. I can’t believe think tens of thousands of votes, on balance, were changed.

    Anyway, we now have a pleasant prospect for when Parliament next meets: the entire Liberal Party flocking to one side of the House – the “Nay” side – as the Aboriginal Apology is voted upon. It’s been a while since Labor could apply the wedge.

    Oh yes, and a muzzled Costello, plus a grim Abbott losing point of order after point of order. Albanese should be pleased with the potential of that happening.

    What else is there? Nelson’s purchase of Super Hornets going under the microscope. Turnbull’s allocation of $10 million to one of his corporate supporters after the caretaker period began. AWB. Haneef. FOI.

    Lovely days ahead.

  32. Drew said

    I’m with Ron, Beach Ball Country kid & co. – ‘They’ll stuff our economy’, ‘we are on the right track’ did bite.

    The essential consevatism of Australian voters, Fear of change, Battered wife syndrome, …… call it what you will.

  33. Fire Maker said

    Friday 23rd 5:40pm
    I drove out of the carpark at Marshall station and down Marshalltown road (electorate of Corrangamite).
    Two big trailers with a Liberals Fear campaign greated me at the corner of Barwon Heads Rd

    Its very easy to be intellectual about this but I was scared imagine what they would have done to a waiverer.

    Now that its all over I think that 60% of the population will say they voted or preferenced Labor.

    It will be at least 6 or maybe 10 years into the next Liberal governments term before they can do it again about 15 to 25 years away.

    Because of this relief / their not so bad facter I believe that the ALP could actually achieve little and pick up 5-10 seats in 2010.

    A few other factors.
    1. The media without being biased started to break things down in $ value as to who would be better off depending on your situation. The larger issues of education, healthy, nation became a blur.

    2. I beleive Rudd’s message became less fresh as the year wore on. He was saying a lot without doing much. Of course he was opposition leader and couldn’t do anything.

    3. Me tooism became an irritant to some. I understand that there were significant differences between Rudd and Howard and it was the correct tactic.

  34. bryce said

    The average of all polls taken on the second last and third last weekends showed roughly 55% to Labor 2PP on both occasions. Looks like the narrowing occurred during the last week only – or it could have been a cumulative effect of the scare ads or there always was going to be a return to the safety of the incumbent. I less suspect the union bosses TV ads, as these had been pounding away for some time, and look to what happened during the last 5 or 6 days.
    I was particularly worried about the Howard mantra – something like “you can’t have a change of government without the country being changed”. I’m sure this was not used in the earlier weeks. I thought this particularly clever and unlike most other scare statements it allowed voters to worry about anything they could imagine. The vagueness of the statement is the key to its brilliance.
    Most of the other frighteners were specific and this allows a commonsense approach to a narrow issue. Which can be believed or refuted.
    “The country will be changed (if you vote Labor)” allows for one’s fear to become irrational. You can’t put your finger on it, but if you can be worried about anything at all, this statement covers it.
    The real value of this assertion for Howard was that it craftily combined both a proposition which can’t be refuted – “the country will be changed” with the sinister subtext of “[any change will be to your detriment]”. Therefore voters would “agree” or “not agree” to this apparently simple question. But agreement, which is the only “sensible” response, automatically includes agreement with the hidden message.

    Howard is a master of verbal sleight-of-hand and deconstructing his devious messages is beyond the average punter.

    Maybe Paul Keating used something similar, but switching from Lab to Lib is a lot different from the other way around. The Conservatives do own the “safe” tag.

  35. Crikey Whitey said

    The overall results seem to me that the Labor voters who had previously defected, stayed on course, and held their nerve. Without saying this is in anyway evidential, there are numerous seats which massively and determinedly swung Labor.

    Anecdotally, among my personal confidants (Labor), there was a ‘scared’ factor.

    Scared, in that they decided to vote exactly as Labor recommended, HOR. Saying it was too important to risk an error, or risk Labor’s chances. Family conferencing on the issue, guiding their voting age children. Such statements were made before the final polls were released. The narrowing would no doubt have reinforced the point. Voters who had thought about it. In advance.

    But nervous, all right. Right up to the first exit polls hinting at relief.

    Diverging in the Senate, Labor, Greens, Xenophon. One number, One, as directed. Taking no chances on wrongly numbering in the rather hot and sweaty booth. For me, with the distractions of a rather confused elder in tow. A child who I had provided with a Kev 07 shirt, who was banished from the voting hall to out of sight. But we knew what to do and to where the preferences were being directed.

    I dare say, that every voting age younger person was guided by their parent/s, on family voting background, towards the party of family choice. And the majority did so. Firmly. Liberal or Labor. Do or die.

    Including those hardest hit by WorkChoices. Young voters. Who were not scared of change of Government. Who did not see Kev 07 as a dangerous monster. Who were scared of ‘that’ Government and pinned their hopes on Labor. As did their parents, who did not necessarily vote Labor last time. Who saw the writing on the wall if they did not, this time. So, the voter polled over time, indicating Labor, stuck with it.

    To me, the uncommitted and so called ‘soft voter’ accounted for the narrowing. Maybe they have no guiding influences in their lives. Or have suffered, real or imagined,along the line. And at the last, for many, but not too many, their nerve failed. And imagine, for example, the pain and anguish of Tasmanian voters. How many would have been genuinely undecided up to the last? Nervous, courageous voters, if you ask me. Unlike many in the mild West.

    Let’s hope the nervous nellies are fewer next time, Kevin.

    Commentary leading up to the election suggested that it would be an historic event for the Opposition to win against an incumbent government viewed as, rightly or wrongly, economically sound.

    And it is an historic victory, in the terms of Oppositions don’t win it, Government’s lose it. The result is the converse of that theory, as I see it. Given the theory, it is understandable that the margin was narrower. Er, than long term polling indicated.

    And I don’t think it was Lindsay. That would have reinforced existing views, rather than changed them, IMHO.

    On the advertising, I heard a researcher (Flinders University?) detailing her findings on views towards the ads. Local ABC Radio, Adelaide, a couple of days before the election.

    Strongly turned off by the negativity of the Liberal advertising. Effect, message not necessarily rejected, just not heard/listened to. Agreement with Union advertising, softer,clearer, meaning understood.

    Which does not mean the ‘subtle’ message direct from John Howard’s lips had no effect on the scaredy cats.

  36. Rudi said

    I heard a rumour that a butterfly beat its wings in Brazil and that was the cause.

    Seriously, it was the same inclination that makes it hard for you or I to go out some nights despite having agreed to a big night weeks beforehand: all the allure, excitement and potential of a night on the town can’t compete with the tried and true couch. Change is good but also creates nerves.

    Howard and Keating both tried to tap into this sentiment by warning about change. All the rest – the anti-union guff, inexperienced, flim-flam – fed this theme. The problem was that the very thing that made some nervous – a change – was wanted by the majority.

    Rudi

  37. David Richards said

    Rudi as in:

    Howard- “Change the government and you change the country”

    Voters – “You beauty!! That’s what we want!!”

  38. Harmless Cud Chewer said

    Never underestimate the power of primal fears. One of which is the fear of change in itself. Yes, the messages of ‘inexperience’ and ‘stuff the economy’ were getting traction but the real driver had little to do with specific ‘issues’.

    Never underestimate the stupidity of the average human and in particular the inability of the average human to grasp the ‘bigger picture’. The length of the campaign was primarily about blurring people’s recollection and anger at Howard’s past actions. Replacing it with the gray fog of “..stuff the economy”.

    The sad thing is, the more sophisticated that election campaigns get the more they are about manipulating people at the lizard level.

    Hyoomans – who needs em.

  39. David Richards said

    yes the reptilian brain –

    “The R-complex is named for the most advanced part of the brain higher mammals share with reptiles. It is responsible for rage[1], xenophobia[1], basic survival fight-or-flight responses[1], territoriality[citation needed] and social hierarchy[citation needed], along with the desire to submit to stronger (Alpha Type) members of one’s own species[citation needed]. Often, the R-Complex can override the more rational function of the brain and result in unpredictable, primitive behavior in even the most sentient of creatures, humans included. A well developed and healthy neo-cortex can monitor R-Complex activity in sentient beings. The Reptilian complex is the most ancient part of a very successful brain scheme, evolutionarily speaking.”

  40. JP said

    The fear campaign of “they’ll stuff the economy” certainly bit around here (Cowper).

    On the night we were having a community function, and when the results came through, a National supporter came over and said to me “Yeah, but will you still be this happy when the money’s all spent?”

    I replied tat it would be a bloody relief if the money got spent: on education, infrastructure, and the rest instead of being hoarded for election-eve bribes. She admitted that she would have liked that too – but still thought that only the Coalition could deliver it, and that Labor would just piss it down the toilet. I asked if she thought $100s of millions of advertising for WorkChoices counted as pissing it down the toilet. She admitted that it did, and that that had annoyed her, but that only the Coalition could manage the economy, and that Labor would just piss it all down the toilet……

    If people don’t want to see the evidence of Howard’s opportunity-squandering and craven economic management, you just can’t make them. Rudd could do everything brilliantly – all the things this woman wanted from the Coalition that Howard failed to deliver, and come 2010, she’d still vote National because “only the Coalition can manage the economy”.

    The real worry about this election is that 47% TPP still voted for that incompetent bunch of lying shits.

  41. David Gould said

    It seems to me that the narrowing was not just minor – it was very significant. The poll averages were hovering around 55 for quite a while. The 2PP vote on election day was very close to 53. That is a two per cent narrowing in just a couple of weeks. And if the Lindsay stuff did cause a bounce back to Labor, the narrowing was probably closer to 2.5 per cent or so. That has to be considered a pretty large narrowing, surely. One more week and the Liberals would have probably sneaked to victory – a very different picture than that painted by poll trends.

  42. Fleetmac said

    The swinging voter…they are about as hard to understand as the meaning of life. But……..this time there were heaps of disenchanted Howard voters (DHV) as well as the undecided. The DHVs are the mortgage belt battlers and the traditional Labor voters that previously preferred Howard’s message to Beasley or Latham. With Work Choices, interest rate increases and the attacks on the unions coupled with Rudd’s positive message about the future, these people came back to Labor in droves.

    However in the last couple of days of the campaign perhaps the negative messages about Labor and the economy started to put some doubt into the DHV’s mind. Australians are great believers in “better the devil you know.”

    Then I think Howard made a mistake… in the last couple of days he started to talk about winning. Remember those headlines….”I can win this.” I thought at the time that it was stupid to say that as people start to ask themselves, do I really want Howard to win? I think the effect on the DHVs was that the answer was no. They would stop being nervous nellies and vote Labor.

  43. Mr Denmore said

    Listening to those twittering old ladies on the bus in the final week, (‘mark my words, those unions will wreck everything; Mr Howard has done a wonderful job’), it seems the pig ignorant and the political disengaged began responding to the Liberal fear campaign late in the piece.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the swing seemed biggest in the blue-collar former Howard battler seats, which suggests the Coalition was done in there by a combination of the Workchoices factor and the ten successive rises in interest rates from 2002-2007.

    But the so-called doctors’ wives, for all their protestations about Howard’s pig-headedness on Kyoto and divisive social policies, ended up voting out of self interest, as they always do. The tut-tutting extends no further than Saturday morning at the tennis club.

    No, Howard’s reign ended as it begun, with appeals to fear and prejuidice. Without Workchoices, he would probably still be there.

  44. David Richards said

    Thank you WorkChoices!!! LOL

    This blog is an interesting journey into psephology, and the cephology (or lack thereof) of the swinging-from-the-trees voters.

    Now own up.. who was it that sent the WorkChoices plan to Lib HQ as a Trojan Horse?

  45. Grumps said

    Poss,

    What are we looking for here a 1 or 2% swing in the polls? I appreciate the arguments of MOE, scientific sampling, data analysis, representative sampling, etc, etc, ….. So why didn’t the polls see this until the end of the campaign? I present the following as my theories as to why; completely undermining myself I will start with the conspiracy theory.

    Shananan said when he did his dummy spit “we own the polls therefore we know how to interpret the polls” (I am paraphrasing a pretty simplistic soulless git.) True to form the GG and others ensured the polls reflected their views. The pasting they got from the phes’ community had to countered with a “I told you so”, to maintain credibility, so the polls where fiddled.😉

    Since we are assured the polls are scruplessly undertaken on scientific principles based on numerous polls measured by outcome, theory 2. I posted before that I believed our Spotlight manager (ACTU adds) could not bring himself to vote Labor, even though being duded by the Liberals. Fear campaigns in the last day obviously would work on this group.

    The polls present an opportunity to kick the Rodent in the grollies without wasting your vote.

    But I am assured that the polls could account for this level change at every poll. Theory 3.

    Checking results in key seats like Bennelong the informal vote on primaries is 6.4%, Lindsay 5.6%, Mcewen 3.26%, Corangomite 2.58%, Wakefiekld 4.72%, of the ordinary vote. I appreciate there is a norm of about 3% but I maintain it is a place to park a protest vote for those who cannot vote any other then the way there genes and nature dictate.

    Theory 4 (and the most sensible). My son is a typical gen, what ever they the pollster say they are at 23. This is significantly a large group, which the pollsters can’t reach.

    Last election the little twerp voted for Family First in the Senate. After my shocked expression told him all he needed to know he didn’t venture his admission of who he voted for in the lower house (maybe Family First there as well) He is the child of a vocal Labor supporter and closet Liberal. I wonder if he went the safe route in this knowledge of family politics?

    I am more prepared to assume that he is more likely to vote according to what he saw on Rov, what the MSM for him delivers and the view of friends. His mate didn’t want to vote for Rudd “because he didn’t like his face”. (I know the angst about compulsory voting but ……..this guy votes!!!!!!!!……..)

    After this rant I am more prepared to say that it was the narrowing was not the result of any campaign but the result of a new group of electors entering the system that the pollster just can’t reach to measure.

  46. Andos the Great said

    Crikey Whitey:

    I love your poetic style of writing. Very insightful, too.

  47. habby said

    Neilbris aka Ferny Grover at 25 re factions

    My observation is that both Labor and Liberals have factions, it’s just that the Labor party factions are more overt. The Nationals are in effect a conservative faction. Factionalism is a by-product of our 1 seat 1 member system in the lower house that forms executive government.

    In democracies where the governing house is based on proportional representation then there are a often a myriad of political parties to cater for the spectrum of political views. Coalitions of these parties then often need to be assembled to form an executive government. These forms of democracy often are quite unstable (as the minor parties get pissed off with the major parties in the coalition).

    Essentially the Australian system of government (at both the federal and state levels) means there can only be 2 major political blocks and therefore has to resolve diversity of political perspectives through either overt or covert internal factions. The instability is then potentially transferred to the internal coalitions of factions that need to be managed within the 2 major parties.

    Overt and covert factionalism each have strengths and weaknesses and your post is articulating some of the strengths and weaknesses.

  48. Tobias said

    A small point of order – being a Sydney electorate, there are no bogans in Lindsay. But there are shitloads of Westies.

  49. josh lyman said

    Grumps, I heard a young woman on the train this morning saying she voted for “uncle Johnny” and something about “Kevin’s face”. She was otherwise very much in the Kevin07/Rove demographic.

    Very strange.

  50. bryce said

    Swings to Labor in some seats were still enormous even though he last Newspoll and Galaxy had the gap closing considerably.
    There is merit in Mr D’s (43) argument that the blue collar seats held their ground but the Doctors Wives wet themselves when the big day got close.
    Poll numbers in Nth Sydney and Wentworth showed Labor in with a good shot but were not in the ballpark after Sat night. Hockey’s demeanour over the campaign certainly suggested he was worried. I’m sure Lib polling in Nth Sydney was showing a much closer contest than it turned out.
    So what happened out there?
    Could the late move away from Labor be disproportionately in the hands of the urban “faux progressives”? Could Labor have won anyway on a 50/50 split with the big late swing being in safe Lib seats?

    Possum, could any polls shed any light on this anomaly?

  51. Neilbris aka Ferny Grover said

    Habby @ 47. Thanks for the response. By supressing factional influence Mr Rudd may well strengthen his own position (for the moment at least) but will this centralising of power weaken the ALP? On the other hand is it all just smoke and mirrors? The ministry chosen by Kevin appears to have broad factional represention and some suprising underperformers (such as Snowden). Perhaps the factions weren’t ignored after all?

  52. swio said

    The talk of a Ruddslide turned voters off. Everyone expected Rudd to win very big. So alot of voters thought…

    “Rudd’s going to win anyway, which I don’t mind, but I don’t like Rudd and Labor enough to give them a landslide so I’ll vote for the coalition to even things up a bit”.

    We know alot of voters think this way because the same sort of thing happened in 2004 when the coalition got control of the senate. Its probably a natural bit of caution from voters on giving any party too much of a mandate, especially if they have not earned it. That’s my two cents.

  53. Crikey Whitey said

    Bryce at 50. Faux things. Have a nibble on this.

    AEC Two Party Preferred by Demographic. Inner Metro, Outer Metro, Provincial, Rural.

    http://vtr.aec.gov.au/HouseTppByStateByDemographic-13745.htm

    Counter weights, light weights and dumbells?

    I had a crunch through the odd Newspoll as well. Including geographic and demographic Nov 07. Biting off more than I can chew, should leave that to Poss, but..

    Did Newspoll extend its polling parameters, as well as increasing the sample size in the final poll. Getting 52/48. I saw suggestion elsewhere that they had, polling rural regional in a more comprehensive way than their usual.

    If that poll sample covered the ground as seen on the AEC and their own other type polling, think they must have felt confident.

    On the other, I may be totally wrong. If so, write me off on numbery type things.

  54. Crikey Whitey said

    Curtsies, blushingly, Andos the Great.

  55. Tom said

    Heh, advertising or cognitive dissonance? Or both?

    One vote does not a government change so voters probably thought about it, those that thought about it at all🙂 thought about self interest?

    I remember Humphreys was going to be definitely thrown out of his ACT Senate seat but he wasn’t. Was that ACT public servants terrified of the ALP razor gang’s razor switching back to Coalition?

    I like the line about the weak Iemma govt in NSW, that may give soemthing that could be tested, perhaps. If that is true, then the ‘inexperienced’ ads may have struck home.

    The ‘union bogeymen’ ads definitely changed some peoples minds, like one of my Mother’s old friends saying she was ‘worried’ about the unions and then some Neanderthals in the unions gave this fear some ‘reality.’

    Assuming our economy is not buffeted too much by the subprime winds blowing from the US or other problems not yet spotted and manages the economy, health etc well (and I see no reason why not) then the Fibs will really be scratching around for something to hit Labor with in 2010.

  56. Tom said

    Oops, ‘if Labor manages. . .’ I meant to say above.

  57. The Keegan said

    IMHO; negative LNP adverts = narrowing. Furthermore I think the final result was a ‘narrowing’ from the enormity of the Ruddslide that was promised by the poll trends for 07. I suspect there was no real bounce back to the ALP from bogan-gate. QLD aside, which as Poss says held the trend, the rest narrowed (WA is different, but they can go xxxx themselves). That Rudd won so easily, and yet had a narrowing, shows how determined the electorate was to rid us of the rodent.

    Ps. Has that little ess aitch eye tee conceded B’long yet?

  58. Rain said

    I dont think the Lindsay thing had much impact outside of Sydney, other States barely mentioned it in their media for example, and even then possibly only impacted in a handful of seats, such as Bennelong.

    The aftermath showed up something else that was unusual, there are often sizeable swings in many ‘safe’ seats, even if they are completely useless to the final result. Every seat has swingers, even the safe ones. But this time, with only a very few *star* exceptions, nearly all the safest seats (whether Liberal or Labor) barely budged. They must have completely tuned out of the whole drama, no matter what they might have said on polls, or there were too many “go aways” and “no comments”, which led to biased samples.

    The other thing was the high range of the swings – and patchiness by geographical region.
    EG One seat goes into double-digit swing, but right next-door, barely 1%
    and marked differences by State.

    NSW is always a “mixed-bag” anyway, all over the pendulum, the outer suburbans have always been swinging, but several coastals were very close, much closer than polling suggested. Tassie barely got over the line. Vic only swung a little tipping a few seats over. SA did a better effort with lots of hard work I suspect, but most to Queensland.

    I’m guessing not all of that was the ‘Rudd factor”, and that was probably only one part of it in the urban southeast, I suspect a nod to the Beattie State govt too, might have been a factor, and in those Cape and Gulf rural seats with double-digits, perhaps more local sympathy voting (or desperate calls for help) with NT’s grief.

    Solomon (Darwin) is still doubtful, may been all-but blood-in-the-booths warfare up there? high emotions and strong divisions over the Intervention and NT Labor govt all-but-imploding for several months? Clare Martin & Sid’s farewell speeches were so emotional, and lets face it, the rest of the country doesn’t get much news about them places.

    Also, the economy has not been uniform. There are parts of Australia that are severely economically depressed, and seeing ads with “full employment” and “you’ve never been better off” may have impacted both ways – to Labor in desperation as the “Last Best Hope”,
    to Liberal in hope that all these economic boom-boom parties that the rest of the country seems to be having 24/7 for 11 straight years — will finally trickle their way.

    I must admit, I was one of those thinking what am I missing here? where is all this economic Boom-Boom Party? I’m much worse off, and so are my 20-something grown kids, and my neighbours and community etc, but by all the demographic stats we’re counted as comfortable professional middle-class? Go figure.

    Electoral mapping of the whole country, might help point to which areas got the $$, and which never saw a cent of it. Some regions obviously do feel they’ve “never been better off”, and stubbornly so.

    Also, larger country regional cities and towns, (eg NSW and QLD coast, Victoria regional) were far more stubborn on the Liberal side than expected. Perhaps I’m just guessing here – these sorts of non-capital cities/towns are losing their business sector, losing jobs, losing what little industry or infrastructure they have, including their hospitals, and saw Liberals as the only ones who could possibly save them?

    Anyway My guess for the polls versus result/narrowing is, a combination of:

    – high geographical-based split voting patterns, (not necessarily your traditional classic population age/class/opinion demographics at all), which was not picked up in the polls being far too region-specific.

    and
    – the “Wall-to-Wall Labor” ads, along with how much debt they are in.

    might explain the State-by-State variation? Again this would not be picked up very well in polling.

    Some States are far more dismayed with their State govts than others, and unfortunately timed State-based scandals (and State-based media) don’t help.

    What many Australians don’t know, is that States/Territories have always had around 40-50% of their Budgets supplemented by C’wlth funding. This was cut heavily under federal Coalition, about 2% of GDP over 8-10 years or so, an enormous sum of money. States have had no choice but to cut services, or raise their own taxes etc, and its no wonder so many are in debt. Thats why local governments are the worst off of all. So families of 5 die on bad roads. The Shire Council doesn’t have 2 cents to fix it, neither does the State, but along come the feds to fix it at election promise time? *sheesh* that disgusted me. Personally speaking, I’m amazed they’ve been able to keep as much going as they have. Just guessing again, but methinx all our Premiers and Chief Ministers must have heaved a sigh of relief last Saturday night.

  59. The Shadow (from Swan) said

    Congratulations Possum – great site, wish I knew about it earlier. Love the format and insightful comments.

    IMHO the “narrowing” is in built into human nature and will occur in nearly all elections. When confronted with a choice we tend to prefer the known over the unknown – except for the small minority of us who are explorers/risk takers.

    It appears the underlying TPP support for the ALP remained at around 54-55%, since Kevin took the reigns, and I suspect the narrowing of 1-2% would have happened at the polling booth irrespective of when the election was held, the length of the campaign or any advertising (which tends to cancel each other). To achieve any other result would have required either a scandal at Ministerial level during the campaign or an external event like September 11.

    I agree with the comments that the “fear factor” was the main weapon of the conservatives and, unless the world economy goes into recession, they have lost this for 2010/11.

    I was too late to join your election tipping competition for 2007 but would like to put in an early tip for your 2010/11 competition – TPP for the ALP of 56% and 101 seats – largest swing in Canning.

  60. STAR said

    At the risk of blowing my cover, I was involved in the McPherson campaign on the Gold Coast.

    We needed a swing of 13.9% to win an all most impossible task. I also do a lot of professional work in the Longman Electorate which had Mal Brough as its member and also Minister.

    Longman, in some booths swung as much as 17% to Labor in my booth. the swing was about 3.9% when the average for Mcpherson was about 7%.

    Longman, really is made up of average Australians. People who just want to get on with life, pay their bills, and mortgage, educate their kids and try to survive.

    We talk about Lindsay being Howard’s battlers ,I do not know the electorate, except Penrith, but Longman would fit that bill because theit they haveyoung families and old stuggling to get by.

    However, in McPherson, we have a different subset. In the booth I was on is really the redneck area of McPherson. It really should be 70% Labor but it is 60 / 40 Liberal. It swung

    However, in McPherson and in particular the booth I was in, it only had half the swing of the rest of the electorate and one of the reason was our candidates name was Saroff.

    The number of people who said to me that they areabor people but they are not voting for a raghead was staggering.

  61. smokey said

    The other week was a Four Corners show on the ABC where the truly politically ignorant were on full display. Actually believing the BS about unions going to take over the world. It’s people like them who’ve kept Howard in power for 11 years, and I’d guess idiots like them who were going back to him.

    In any case, my view is that some went to the Greens instead of Howard, thus benefiting preferences for labor. The Greens were running quite a strong campaign that last week or so. The actual coalition primary vote didn’t move up much much, but Labor’s went from 47/48 where it’d been all year to, what was it, 43 or something?

    Personally I’m glad the Greens were a part of the mix. They aren’t going to implode like One Nation and will be there next time too.

    Agree also it was WC’s that won this election for Rudd. Those core people who were against it IMO weren’t the one’s changing their votes. Many of them had previously voted Liberal, and some were voting Labor for the first time.

  62. JP said

    @ Smokey 61

    OK, I give up. What or who are WC’s?

  63. bunnybampton said

    whatever influence specific events in the last bit of the campaign may have had, i can’t help feeling that the group defined as “unsure” were actually not unsure at all. what aspect of the past 11 years of howard and his gang would keep you feeling unsure unless your were already committed to them, or erring in that direction, in the first place but were simply keeping your options open, or as some have suggested, even playing some kind of game?

    so, the majority of the unsure voters in the last few days were, i suspect, actually going back to the liberals from whence they came and where they feel they really belong.

    bless them.

  64. cleanfred said

    Did the Libs just get an almighty flogging, or did I see something else? Some comments saying the result could have been in the coalitions favor, one more week of campaigning, some screw up by labour, pure fantasy island.

  65. Ville said

    Look, overall it was a pretty hefty swing Labor’s way anyway, which we shouldn’t lose sight of; but I think the narrowing in the last week wasn’t a statistical mirage. The four-poll tracker had them 55-45 right through the campaign, and it was only in the last week that it tightened.

    I think it can be put down to a couple of simple things;

    1. Howard finally managed to hit the right note with his ‘change the party, change the country’ shtick. As shambolic as it was (I mean, surely most people switching their vote to Labor would have intended the country to change, wouldn’t they?), it must have had an impact on the waverers. Howard stuck to that line religiously right through the week, so he must have thought he was on to something. And it operates a little like a dog whistle itself, subtly nudging voters back to all the little scare tactics right through the campaign, and letting them fill in the blank inherent in that ‘change the country’ line.

    2. It was only in the last week that Howard looked switched on. Up until then he acted like he’d seen a ghost. But he came out confident and punchy in the last few days, and looked at last like he really wanted the job again. That rubs off on people.

    I don’t think it was any more complicated than that. Your general populace get swayed much more by the ‘vibe’ than by the issues. I heard plenty of people rabbiting on about Rudd being ‘me-too’ without having a clue what they were talking about. And a fair proportion of them felt comfortable sitting that concept right beside the one of him being this ogre who was going to bring unionism back and ruin the economy. Sort of a pro-active, passive, hard-leftist, soft-rightist copycat. Which indicates that some people just didn’t like Rudd and were prepared to co-opt any old argument to support their feeling.

    Mind you, there are plenty of others who are politically aware enough to know why they vote the way they do. It’s just that most of them are already rusted on.

  66. smokey said

    JP sorry, WC’s = Work Choices.

    Cleanfred, yes we seem to be forgetting this was I think the 2nd highest swing since WW2, beaten only by Whitlam on 7% who didn’t actually gain office that time. Whatever The Narrowing was, it doesn’t seem to have made much of a dent in the overall result.

  67. fred said

    How much tv/radio/print advertising was there in the big cities in the last, say 2 weeks? And in what proportion, ALP vs Coalition [and various friends], was that advertising?
    I ask because I was in a rural electorate and there the advertising was dominated, in all forms but particularly TV, by the Libs/Nats/Big Business/Farmers Fed.. The local Lib candidate had personalised ads on TV in addition to ordinary party ones, full page ads in the local newspapers and frequent ads on local radio. he ran some 20 ads per night per channel for 2 weeks and probably more during the day.
    Labor on the other hand had only a few party ads on TV in that time. none naming the local candidate, no newspaper ads at all.
    If,as I suspect was the case, the Libs et al outspent the ALP on advertising in the last 2
    weeks then that could be a factor in the ‘narrowing’.

  68. JP said

    Fred @ 67

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Labor missed out on my electorate (Cowper) by about 1%, and I reckon that can be put down entirely to the relative strengths of the two campaigns (not just in the last two weeks, either).

    The Nats put out shire by shire glossy brochures detailing every last federal grant – to schools, community organisations, whatever. No matter that the local member had precisely nothing to do with just about all of these, if the money came from the feds, he took credit.

    In contrast, from Labor we got next to nothing. And as Fred said, precisely nothing with the candidate’s name on it, and precisely nothing electorate-specific.

    Cowper went into the election with a 6.7% margin, and yet Labor ignored it. If they had actually campaigned, they would have won it for sure.

  69. Hez said

    Putting everyone on fat mortagages over the Howard Era played easily – and I’d go as far as to say planned – into the fear campaing that Howard ran at both of the 2004 and 2007 elections.

    Offering first home buyers grants – creating the national frenzy of home buying and making out that our lives are purely about owning a home and having a great job set up a perfect launchpad for the pre-election fear campaigns.

    Under these cicumstances the “change the country line’ – “stuff the economy works” – if you have been told to do something for over a decade and told repeatedly that this is good by the government and the coroporate media – then of course you are going to be spooked by a bombardment of messages that some new shonky moneychanges are about to run the economy into the ground

    Howard was a smart operator to get everyone into this mindset of house-debt and job job jobs – to then scare the bejeesus out of them when it was needed. It also served well becasue the housing boom fed the econommcy for Howard’s first two terms. I think in the end he just got too old and his hearing aid stopped working, and his incontinence got out of control that before he knew it it was the last week of the campaign – and oh shit he forget to tell everyone that yes thier little straw house was about to be blown down by big bad wolf Kevin. Two weeks earlier with this message and Kev the wolf may have been blowing at brick houses!

  70. Cat said

    Crikey Whitey at 35 said: I dare say, that every voting age younger person was guided by their parent/s, on family voting background, towards the party of family choice. And the majority did so. Firmly. Liberal or Labor. Do or die.

    Actually one of my chief pleasures on the day was the number of first time voters who came by themselves or with one friend and specifically wanted me not only to give the Labor HTV but to show them how to complete their ballots correctly. I have worked that booth before and overwhelmingly I think the first time voters had fitted your description but these were breaking against tradition and that was perhaps why they came alone. I say tradition as I live in Ruddock’s electorate and there was a 10% swing on the primary vote in that booth and it ended up a Labor booth. One of the reasons the libs working the booth were depressed was that young voters were overwhelmingly taking no HTV or coming to me. Very few were taking theirs.

  71. janice said

    No-one will ever know why a narrowing occurred because voters are fickle and will change their mind for the smallest reason. Too many voters do not read past the headlines and the advertising blitz works subliminally on the mind. Committed voters are less prone to be subliminally affected by advertising because they have been interested enough to seek out information to enable them to sort out fact from fiction.

    Howard’s fear tactics worked for more than eleven years and during the last week of the campaign he banged on incessantly that it was a huge risk to oust him and his Govt in favour of an inexperienced Labor team that would ruin the economy etc, etc, etc, and he had his media supporters back him with mis-leading headlines that had little to do with the story beneath them. Thsnkfully, there were enough informed and committed voters to rid us of this odious little man and his rotten government.

  72. Stephen T said

    Poss had a thought. could you give some feedback?

    Seems to me that when you get down to the fine detail there will be a series of confounding factors that will be weighted towards different states and electorates. There is a general detectable trend line however there are variable motives for changing ones vote at the last minute. The major trend lines break down into a set of contributing factors that will share a variety of weightings down to the individuals opinion. At some point there will be a blurring in motives that will not be easily separable and detectable as clearly definable trend lines due to the complexity of the textured relationship between motivations and the individual. I would suggest that the list of confounding factors are indicators of a range of pre-election day strategies that will work at different levels of education, socio-economic status, electorate, states, etc. Rather than attempt to weitght the variables maybe it is better to develop a package of pre-elections strategies that will operate across a variety of subgroups.

  73. Graeme said

    Simple. Compulsory voting in times of prosperity ensures the most apolitical drift back to the incumbent. It’s a big status quo advantage. Labor didn’t try to differentiate itself, a safe strategy, but in the face of the message of ‘don’t risk it’ the lumpen apoliticals drifted home. Nb many of them aren’t swinging voters since they don’t necessarily even recall how they voted 3-4 years back.

  74. Graeme said

    ps – it follows from what I’ve said that Laborites are wasting oxygen worrying about this narrowing. It was inevitable. The Lib campaign as such had little to do with it. Look at recent state elections for similar trends.

  75. Steve K said

    Incumbency is worth at least 1 to 2% of the 2PP. On that basis Labor will cream the Libs in 3 years time. This time around the swing back to the Libs can be attributed to the 6 week campaign where, after 4 weeks, voters were starting say “For $%#$’s sake let’s just get back to normal please.” Normal of course being Lib members in many more seats. A 6 week campaign or a 4 week campaign in 3 years will result in a smashing ALP victory.

  76. bmwofoz said

    As a Liberal who did swing to Rudd, I will point out that it isn’t an easy thing to do and for a few moments on Saturday I nearly backed out and even when I voted I stopped and looked at the paper and felt it didn’t look right.

    In Kooyong the ALP didn’t run a campaign while the Liberals ran at least three mail-outs, I also feel that Rudd while having the better of Howard all year seemed to cruse throw the campaign.

  77. Styx said

    I believe by inclination the Australian electorate is conservative. They are also practical, they vote, not based on idealism but on the party that best provides practical outcomes and the practical outcome that is paramount is economic security. For historical reasons they believe that the Liberals are best placed to deliver economic security (God only knows why – I don’t)

    The only reason Labor had a foot in the door was that Work Choices directly undermined that sense of security – even though the economy was going well, Work Choices created a sense of insecurity – would their job be threatened? would their income be threatened? Then there was the other group who who remained secure and having their basic needs met, yearned for goals that aimed towards esteem and self actualization.

    I think in the last week or two the Liberals message based on the inexperience of the Rudd team, the possibly difficult economic environment ahead, turned some who were toying with labor for self-esteem and actualization reasons back to the Liberal camp.

    And basically the Liberals ran an effective marginal seat campaign which although it did not affect the outcome did limit the effect by saving seats that would have been lost otherwise looking at the overall 2-party swing.

  78. dany le roux said

    I seem to remember that when the last Newspoll came out a commenter on PB or here said that a Newspoll employee talking on Sky admitted that more samples were taken from country areas than per usual and that this explained the dip in ALP TPP.
    No commenter in either place at the time actually believed that any “narrowing” actually happened, and I think this included Possum.
    Now that it is all over perhaps the ALP tracking people could please tell us what really happened? Or even the LCP tracking people?

  79. Rod said

    One thing that polls can never really deal with are those people who simply don’t want to participate in them. The people who , for example, aren’t interested enough in politics to spend the time responding to one until the very final days of an election campaign, and perhaps not even then. The ones who don’t want to bother thinking about who to vote for and don’t care much really anyway.

    I suspect such people are probably more likely on balance to simply vote for the incumbents.

    I think the “narrowing”, such as it was, in the last few days, and in the election itself, was simply a matter of such people coming into play. I doubt that any votes really changed to the coalition in the final days. I suspect that they probably had them already, as incumbents, but the polls simply have no way of accessing them until the dying days of a campaign.

    You just can’t measure those who for the most part don’t want to be polled until they actually vote.

    Cheers

    Rod

  80. ae said

    On a slightly different tach: Costello on Lateline last night was pushing the line that the polls were trending up for Labor before Rudd took the leadership. His take on that was that the electorate wanted a fresh face, and he (obviously) should have been it.

    Another Possum Pollytics convert?

  81. Vino Veritas said

    I think a large part of the narrowing was due to recipients of middle class welfare suddenly realising that the trough could be taken away from their greedy snouts. Any concern they had for human rights and making a better place for future generations was replaced by the selfishness button. However I am not optimistic that Kev07 would dare to reform this particular corruption and divert the savings to real reform such as health and infrastructure generally, the squeals from the pig sty would be unbearable. By the way, loved the reptilian brain discussion, sums it up pretty well.

  82. gusface said

    poss
    1.check out the number of informal/incorrect votes (final count figure will be very interesting)
    2.postal votes forms used by the libs were both sneaky and confusing
    3.the green splintering and preference allocations (once again final count figure)
    4.the outright bias by local media in the last week.almost to the point that they were begging for the libs to be re-elected
    5.overwheleming leaflet/letter and general media blitz by the libs
    plus the usual suspects-fear of unknown,venality etc

    Possum if this campaign had been fair in both ad time and media bias then my prediction of 120 seats would have happened,I suppose i’ll have to wait till 2010

  83. Kerneels said

    There seems to be three main groups of voters. First those committed to a specific party,who will vote the way they voted in the past come what may. Secondly the swinging voters who are informed,and who make their decision based on the campaign and the performance of the incumbents over the past year or so. Finally the group that confused us, the last minute undecideds who have little interest in politics and would tend to believe the latest and simplest message.
    I have a feeling that the “disinterested undecideds” are more likely to be affected by exaggerated advertising, something the liberals were particularly good at.

  84. dany le roux said

    My first serious exposure to this site was at the instigation of Mark from LP who told me to search here for the information that most swinging voters are women.In part that stuff was here(and at PB) but referred to only a small percentage of voters which is what three people in 100 is (to produce a 6% swing).

    Mark said that the women swingers were now attached to Rudd and had abandonned Howard.I know there is something in this because in my household there is a perception that Rudd is a bit of a stud as well as a nerd and that this resulted in her first ever Labor vote.If I remember correctly Rudd’s approval went up a bit after the Scores stuff and come to think of it the ALP’s ratings were unaffected by the various ouputs of the LCP dirt unit throughout the year.The LCP stuff in the last week by rights should not have been any exception to this phenomenon.It was essentially saying that Rudd’s mates were bullies(unions)and that they would bring doom to the economy. In my household there is barely any perception of what a union is let alone an association between unions and political thuggery.
    In the interests of psephology (ie so we know what to expect next election in the last week ) I think it is important to go the source and invite the contribution of an actual tracking poller to this blog.
    Does anyone know one?

  85. Enemy Combatant said

    What a ripper of a read this thread’s been!

    The capacity to stimulate the “Snake Brains Of Others” in order to elicit an emotional responses that over-ride cortically mediated rationality, has been well documented in the annals of persuasion.
    Queensland’s “silent assassins” in electorates like Longman(Brough) and Dawson (Kelly) were pissed-off by SerfChoices to the extent that they were not for moving. The Union telly ads of months earlier helped to wise them up and stiffen their resolve. Parochialism also “played major” for Kevvie ‘n’ Wayne in Qld.
    I reckon, going along with the analysis of many Comitatus commentati, that the tory TV blitz of the final two weeks corralled enough “undecided” ungulates to induce Teh Narrowing.

    Penny fer pound,it was da frighteners wot done it most, gov’nah.

  86. dany le roux said

    Gusface,

    Just read your comment.I think you are spot on .To your list I would add absentee votes and the initailling of ballot papers.

    Last Monday I asked the AEC what their policy was with regard to the initialling of ballot papers. Their response was that they were making the practice optional and they agreed that this could be conducive to fraud.

  87. Neil said

    Those racists in Lindsay were not Bogans they were well-educated, Middle class people with good jobs who lived in nice houses in a nice middle class neighbourhood. Call them what they are; racist scum. To call them Bogans is to suggest they were working class Howard Battlers. This appears to be snobbery no-one who is middle class is a racist only poor people are racist.

  88. STAR said

    In reply to CAT @ 70 regarding the younger voter, those under 30.
    and perhaps under 35.

    Mostly the single ones, not the family type, but those that came by themselves or with their friends. And this applied equally to males and females, was that when they arrived at our booth, regardless of what demographic you thought they were in they played their cards very close to their chest.

    You could see by their quickened pace, which was obviously faster than the young family type. You could see by their manner and their eyes that they were there to do a job.

    They were all confident, they walked past both sides handing out HTV cards. Not for them, they knew what they wanted to do .

    I thought, are they interested or not, and early on in the day i thought we are going to see an abnormal high informal vote, But we did not. These young voters are the future, I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall to see where they put their tick. because i could not tell which way they went.

    However, with the older voter, it was a bit easier, they either took your HTV or not. Some took it for politeness, but you coulsd sort of read their intention and i think you would have got it right more times than not.

    ps. I was in a very pro Liberal booth and labor needed a swing of 13.9% my booth got a swing of 3.9% while the electorate’s swing was about 7%.

    The young ones were very confident about what they wanted to do, but did not want to show it. Or maybe they did.

  89. bryce said

    Dany #84. Just a small point…
    “a small percentage of voters which is what three people in 100 is (to produce a 6% swing).”
    To cause a 6% swing it takes 3 people from ONE of the sides to switch. Not 3 from the total.
    For example, if the current 2PP was 50/50 and there was a swing of 6% (now 53/47) it means that 3 in 50 changed their vote. Not “three people in 100”.

    The result in Leichhardt on Saturday shows this very starkly. Labor went in down a bit worse than 40/60 from 2004 and now has more than 54% 2PP. This shows that more than 14 out of every 60 non-Labor votes (2PP) from 2004 deserted the Libs.
    Almost 25% jumped ship!

  90. dany le roux said

    Bryce,
    I think I am right. The three people who change their minds are first subtracting from one group and then adding to the other.They only do not add to the second group if they vote informal or abstain.

  91. bryce said

    Whatever makes you happy.

  92. Ningaui said

    The Coalition in government learned certain ways of behaviour and certain expectations that will not work in opposition. Public statements in government tend to generalize, simplify and often to imply single cause. This was enough in government because it could be translated into action. It gained truth in action. The Coalition had access to the public service and to private sources of policy advice. The private sources of advice were motivated because they would receive either outcomes that were favourable to them or because they were paid with taxpayers funds to provide the advice. This advice would often be based on significant complexity, but typically, the politicians would need to consider only the headlines and the bottom lines. Open discussion was suppressed so public mechanisms for policy development, and the ability to engage in policy discourse, withered. Cabinet solidarity meant that Ministers fequently had to make a virtue of espousing views that they disagreed with. Dog whistles, while clever, have the intrinsic problem that they are a discussion in ‘unreal’ terms about something that was real – shared racism. Then, over time, certain positions tend to became dogma. They were not re-examined. In sum, the dynamics, the resources, the drivers and the skills in Government created a certain way of addressing and applying policy. For the Opposition, all these change.

    The Sorry Saga since the election demonstrates very well that the Opposition has yet to learn this lesson. Bishop has said she would wait to see what the Government did. What she is saying is that the Opposition does not have the resources to re-examine or further develop its position on Sorry. Turnbull simply state that he would support saying Sorry. He did not pause to think that a party policy process would be needed to change such a policy. Nelson has stated that he is opposed to saying sorry. In other words business as usual.

    But the landscape has changed. What is the Opposition left with once the Government says ‘Sorry?’ Is it going to withdraw the sorry if it regains power? Then there is Nelson’s justification. He is not going to say sorry for what ‘past generations’ did. This intellectual laziness worked in Government because it could invest hundreds of millions of dollars in ‘practical reconciliation’ and the emergency intervention. It could give at least the impression of caring and doing something. In opposition, this screen for intellectual laziness is no longer available. A brief examinations of the past generations argument shows that it is sterile. There are lots of Indigenous people who are alive who were stolen. Their families are alive. Many of the people who took them are alive. Many of the people who voted in the governments that implemented the stolen generations programs and regulations are alive. And even if all us lot die, all our descendants will have to accept the truth and deal with the generational consequences.

    Nelson also refers to the motivation of those who took the children. Again, the simplism, the public screen. There was no single motivation. Some were involved for religious reasons, others because it was a job, others because they thought it was a good program response to children at risk, and others because they enjoyed sexually abusing children. As for not saying sorry because of the possible implications of paying compensation – what is ethical about trying to dodge compensation for a great wrong?
    The Opposition needs to re-examine its policy processes. It needs to re-assess its dogma. It needs to build sources of complex advice. It needs to re-examine its dogma. It needs to examine all the pressures it absorbed in government that made lying and halve-thruth seem normal. Australia needs it because it needs a robust Opposition that can do all these things and challenge the incumbents. It is fortunate that the Opposition has ample time in which to do it.

  93. Ningaui said

    The Coalition in government learned certain ways of behaviour and certain expectations that will not work in opposition. Public statements in government tend to generalize, simplify and often to imply single cause. This was enough in government because it could be translated into action. It gained truth in action. The Coalition had access to the public service and to private sources of policy advice. The private sources of advice were motivated because they would receive either outcomes that were favourable to them or because they were paid with taxpayers funds to provide the advice. This advice would often be based on significant complexity, but typically, the politicians would need to consider only the headlines and the bottom lines. Open discussion was suppressed so public mechanisms for policy development, and the ability to engage in policy discourse, withered. Cabinet solidarity meant that Ministers fequently had to make a virtue of espousing views that they disagreed with. Dog whistles, while clever, have the intrinsic problem that they are a discussion in ‘unreal’ terms about something that was real – shared racism. Then, over time, certain positions tend to became dogma. They were not re-examined. In sum, the dynamics, the resources, the drivers and the skills in Government created a certain way of addressing and applying policy. For the Opposition, all these change.

    The Sorry Saga since the election demonstrates very well that the Opposition has yet to learn this lesson. Bishop has said she would wait to see what the Government did. What she is saying is that the Opposition does not have the resources to re-examine or further develop its position on Sorry. Turnbull simply state that he would support saying Sorry. He did not pause to think that a party policy process would be needed to change such a policy. Nelson has stated that he is opposed to saying sorry. In other words business as usual.

    But the landscape has changed. What is the Opposition left with once the Government says ‘Sorry?’ Is it going to withdraw the sorry if it regains power? Then there is Nelson’s justification. He is not going to say sorry for what ‘past generations’ did. This intellectual laziness worked in Government because it could invest hundreds of millions of dollars in ‘practical reconciliation’ and the emergency intervention. It could give at least the impression of caring and doing something. In opposition, this screen for intellectual laziness is no longer available. A brief examinations of the past generations argument shows that it is sterile. There are lots of Indigenous people who are alive who were stolen. Their families are alive. Many of the people who took them are alive. Many of the people who voted in the governments that implemented the stolen generations programs and regulations are alive. And even if all us lot die, all our descendants will have to accept the truth and deal with the generational consequences.

    Nelson also refers to the motivation of those who took the children. Again, the simplism, the public screen. There was no single motivation. Some were involved for religious reasons, others because it was a job, others because they thought it was a good program response to children at risk, and others because they enjoyed sexually abusing children. As for not saying sorry because of the possible implications of paying compensation – what is ethical about trying to dodge compensation for a great wrong?
    The Opposition needs to re-examine its policy processes. It needs to re-assess its dogma. It needs to build sources of complex advice. It needs to re-examine its dogma. It needs to examine all the pressures it absorbed in government that made lying and halve-thruth seem normal. Australia needs it because it needs a robust Opposition that can do all these things and challenge the incumbents. It is fortunate that the Opposition has ample time in which to do it.

  94. dany le roux said

    Bryce,
    It went from -20 TPP (40/60) to +8 (54/46) i.e. 14 people changed their Liberal Partied, snake brained, defective super egoed consciousness to vote for all things hopeful, ethical,spunky, fair and nerdy , an overall change of 28%.God bless them.

  95. Crikey Whitey said

    Geraldine Doogue. Saturday Extra. On following voter intent. McCormack extended family.

    Gerard, one of the McCormack family. Tracked, weeks and weeks out from the election.

    Claiming swinger/undecided status. Feigning indecision and agony, for weeks on end.

    A Nat voter, without question. Pants on fire.

    Spat on by me.

    Not that he could see. Luckily.

    Geraldine announces this morning that Gerard, at the last minute, walking into the booth, voted

    Labor! Macquarie, for Bob Debus.

    Addendum: Oh Yes, we’re all sorry now

    ME! Know all.

    Never can tell. Apologies, Gerard McCormack.

  96. nysa said

    On the small swing in seats like North Sydney I don’t actually think the campaign and the liberals negative advertising itself changed many votes except maybe to reinforce the ‘them vs us’ / ‘with us or against us’ attitudes.
    I think that there was a general feeling that Howard has shifted off a little too far to right and was loathed to give any weight to any progressive/social issues (reconcilation, republic, refugee treatment and even the arts)- this causes small ‘l’ liberals to say they will vote Labor but when they actually get the pencil in their hand they can’t actually bring themselves to put Labor before the Libs.

  97. Kerneels said

    What do you all think the effect would have been if voting was not compulsary?

  98. David Richards said

    Another gig for the drover’s dog?

    Would Costello have been seen as a fresh face, given his prominence as Treasurer for over 11 years?

    Beazley had been out government for 10 years, and there had been a few other faces as leader in the meantime, so in the goldfish memory of the lumpen might be considered a fresh-ish face.. in a warmed over left-overs sort of way.

    He may be right – but he wasn’t the face methinks.

    Who would they have gone to for a truly fresh face?

  99. Crikey Whitey said

    No narrowing in this survey. Part only. The Age.
    Coalition focus on economy a big blunder, poll finds, Peter Browne December 1, 2007

    THE Coalition fatally miscalculated by relying too heavily on its economic record during the election campaign, according to a poll conducted on election day exclusively for The Age.

    Labor’s preferred election issues — health, education, industrial relations and climate change — were the dominant factors in the minds of a majority of 750 people interviewed soon after they voted.

    The survey, conducted by the Swinburne Institute for Social Research, included 79 people — more than 10%— who said they had shifted to Labor since the last election. The views of this group of voters spanned the concerns of Labor and Coalition voters, but their alignment with the views of Labor voters was more pronounced.

    The survey findings are broadly matched by the results of a Sky News/Seven Network survey, carried out by Auspoll on election day.

    Reflecting the prominence of the global warming and WorkChoices in the Swinburne study, these two issues ranked third and fourth in Auspoll’s results.

    The value of both these polls is that they were taken within hours of when people actually cast their vote. Although they do not reflect the age profile of voters in general, the distribution of the declared vote in each sample matched the election result remarkably closely.

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/coalition-economy-focus-a-big-blunder/2007/11/30/1196394625553.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

  100. David Richards said

    Was there a narrowing? The election 2PP is almost a mirror of the 4 poll average.

  101. r@tzRUS said

    68 – there was a front-page story in the Canberra Times about public servants being drafted in to draw up lists of federal funding by electorate for the government. Obviously these resources were not available to Labor. Yet another example of another major Howard crime that’s had too little attention – politicisation of the Commonwealth Public Service.

    I noticed that late in the campaign the Coalition campaign seemed to split: at one end was very parochial and specific local member stuff barely mentioning the Liberal party, while at the other were these big picture, very vague, scares. Presumably deliberate; make them stand for something very concrete vs vague fears of the other side. Somewhere in the middle here in the ACT were attack ads on the local Labor government – over water! Yeah, bloody Labor, causing the drought…

  102. GS said

    In contrast to Eden-Monaro 10 minutes drive away, here in Canberra we didn’t see our local ALP member (Amanda Ellis) and I’d be surprised if we ever will – so safe Labour are we. Was of course a win but a ho-hum one for her (and us). No narrowing here, just consistent daylight between Lib and ALP polling.

    On ads I didn’t get the impression it was wall-to-wall ACTU and ALP ads – I kept waiting for the deluge. Maybe they saved their ad spend when things appeared certain but what did screen was eminently better thought out and targetted IMO. But many were surpised the GetUp campaign didn’t do anything to help the Greens in the ACT.

  103. Rain said

    Hey GS, her name is Annette Ellis, not Amanda. She is a grass-roots back-bencher, a quiet, introverted and reserved older woman, and wouldn’t be able to handle feral media hounds. Given her age this will probably be her last term. She also worked hard behind-the-scenes in Opposition for many years, on local ageing, disability and carer issues as this was close to her heart. She was enormous help to me for example, in a 9-month legal battle with Centrelink over my son’s disability pension.

    She is also far more supportive locally with schools, P&C and sporting groups for example, and other local community NGO groups with Salvos, St Vinnies, Tuggeranong youth centres etc. She’s been a very good local MP all things considered, always approachable in her office. Much more your ‘Quiet Achiever’, than your media star. While she didn’t do any active campaigning, she is more well-known than you might think and physically present day-in, day-out throughout her time, and not just running around at election time!

    Bob McMullen over north side was much busier with his position inside the fedral ALP, his constituents saw far less of him, than we saw of Annette, during election time or at any other time.

    Not all MPs are going to get in to front-bench positions, or be media-profile super-stars, nor should they. Many do just work for their local communities as an MP.

    I suspect Mike Kelly wont be around Eden-Monaro too much except at election times, to keep that seat from swinging.

    The 3 safe Labor seats in the ACT ( 2 HoR and 1 Senate) have rarely gone to high-profile ALP MPs – which I always thought was odd, kind of wasting safe-seats, so to speak – but considering how the rest of the country would get their knickers in a twist if Canberra had high-profile MPs, (or known factional power-trippers etc) its probably the best way to go.

    I think it was Rudd’s one mistake when he slammed Canberra in his one and only visit to the ACT late in the campaign. Using angry glares, words like “meataxe”, implying that the whole city has been living the high-life at the expense of the rest of the country with our homes in Bateman’s Bay etc…. As If!!! it really *hurt* a lot of Canberrans.

    and probably damaged the GetUp and Greens campaigns, which was to be directed at the youth vote, and the blue-collar vote to get Kerrie Tucker over the line.

    Here’s a copy of a letter in the local papers:

    ____________________________________________________________________________

  104. Rain said

    Mr Rudd – We’ve kept the faith with the ALP for 40+ years, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, through good times and bad (and even worse ones).

    We never expected to see you during the campaign. We didn’t mind. That’s OK. We understand, probably far more than most, that the rest of Australia, is far more important than us.

    But, you did show up late in the campaign, and we thought – maybe, just this once – we’d be last, but not least, recognised that we are Australians too. Maybe you would just say “G’Day”. That would be nice.

    But you glared angrily at us from our TV screens, and said you were taking a “meataxe” to slash jobs, and by the knock-on effect that hits a whole city’s microeconomy. We remember well the years of our local recession after 1996, the restaurants, theatres, small businesses and large that went to the wall. We still kept the faith.

    We are a large city Mr Rudd, of over 340,000 people. We outgrew being a federal public servants barracks town decades ago and expanded into a large microcosm of all of Australia. Your predecessor Mr Hawke recognised that and forced us, (admittedly kicking and screaming), into becoming a Territory, like NT, and sitting at COAG with all the other States and Territories. We eventually forgave Mr Hawke and the ALP, and later still voted in another ALP Territory government, to keep the faith.

    Like other Australian cities, we too, have people from all walks of life, mortgage-belters, bus-drivers, plumbers, teachers, nurses, police, construction-workers, academics, immigrants fro all over the world, businesses large and small, as well as homelessness, poverty, drugs, crime and violence. Our DoCs is in no better shape than NSW’s even if we don’t make national news with dead babies littering the lawns of Parliament House. Our public hospitals are on par with Royal North Shore. We have always been an area of health workforce shortage, particularly GP shortage. We were on Stage 4 water restrictions for several years before the greens of Sydney or Melbourne started gossiping about “water” issues in their trendy cafes. We celebrate when we can drop to Stage 3. We are surrounded by drought stricken rural areas, and take in rural refugees looking for work, or a life. As for the APS, many public servants kept their integrity, perhaps in silence.

    The implication in your public comments when you visited our city Mr Rudd, is that Canberran residents have been living the high-life, at the expense of the rest of the country for the past 11 years, and you were going to make this obscenity stop with a meat-axe.

    Then today,you sacked or demoted our Labor MPs. To complete the spanking, you gave our satellite “commuter” town Queanbeyan (Eden-Monaro) Mike Kelly a guernsey, so they can keep their jobs and hold their heads high.

    What did we do to deserve being publicly whipped and relegated to the naughty chair of Australia?

    I can only assume that since Canberra-bashing is an honoured Australian tradition, up there with cricket and vegemite on toast, that you are proving you are a “True-Blue Aussie” Prime Minister by continuing the tradition.

    You may also remember Mr Rudd, that Canberra also has a large and active Aboriginal community, and that Parliament House sits on Ngunnawal country.

    May you be Welcome to Country.

  105. JP said

    Rain, that letter contains one glaring contradiction:

    The writer suggests that “We outgrew being a federal public servants barracks town decades ago and expanded into a large microcosm of all of Australia.” and then slams Rudd, saying: “But you glared angrily at us from our TV screens, and said you were taking a “meataxe” to slash jobs, and by the knock-on effect that hits a whole city’s microeconomy.”

    So which is it: is Canberra utterly dependent on the continued employment of public service seat-polishers, or has it outgrown that? You can’t have it both ways.

  106. John Ryan said

    The “narrowing” appears to be in the postal votes. On election night it was 53.5% odd TPP to Labor. This was in line with the last minute polls, but also the earlier polls that Newspoll and AC Nielsen had (54-46). These were somewhat meaningless though, since the Libs had locked in a lot of their vote through early postals. The fact that only 75-80% of the vote is now cast on election day is disturbing.

    Rightly or wrongly, the Coalition seems to have had a massive postal vote. This may be due to “stuffing” by sitting Coalition MPs or due to factors when the postal votes were cast weeks in advance (eg. Lib tax cuts) – but who can say. Nonetheless, it does smell fishy. And it’s now these postal votes that are winding back what appeared to be certain Labor wins last Saturday night. It has now brought the TPP for Labor under 53%. Please see http://www.aec.gov.au for the latest results. The ABC computer has been bouncing seats back and forth all week based on strange and inconsistent postal vote figures.

    This is why Liberal insiders were talking about winning with 48% TPP. They were not going to do it just through clever “electoral math” (ie. Labor swings in the wrong places) but with their (legitimate or otherwise) postal vote advantage. A 51.5-48.5 ish count on election night, could have been wound back and won for the Liberals on postals during the weeks after. It was only when they got 46.5% on election night did they have to concede because their postal votes that they had counted via the electoral offices wouldn’t be enough to wind back a Labor victory.

    The AEC needs to either ban postal votes, or reform the system such that MPs are not allowed to send out postal vote applications. It gives incumbents an unfair advantage, and also is open to abuse, given that the applications go via an electoral office. (Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house!) I dare say the Coalition electoral office shredders probably favour certain postal vote applications over others…

    Call me a conspiracy theorist, but even if there wasn’t foul play, the postal vote system is dangerous and always has been. Even President Kennedy in the US played this game in West Virginia. There’s also been cases in the UK in 2005, where incumbent Labour has been using it to its advantage. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/4408101.stm

    Pre-polling places are a much better idea and are under tight AEC control, just like the polling places on election day. We are getting to be a very lazy society when now we even want to vote from home… Time to rethink postals.

  107. Ron Brown said

    David Richards Says:
    December 1, 2007 at 11:06 am

    Was there a narrowing? The election 2PP is almost a mirror of the 4 poll average.
    (the average is 53.9%, see top right corner of this page)

    BUT the 2PP vote now is 52.90%
    so the average is well out

    Morgan’s 53.50 is the closest , ACN staff have departed this world
    and Newspoll & Galaxy need the 2PP to drop from current 52.90% to to below 52.75% for them to be the most accurate Pollsters !!

    Maybe Newspoll & Galaxy already are the closest if we knew pollsters first decimal point rather than rounding

  108. David Richards said

    Yes – it is odd that the postals are having such an effect.. it does seem fishy

    You would expect them to reflect the general trend – to be so heavily slanted to one side is very suspicious.

    It’s all very confusing and worrying at the same time.

    I agree with John Ryan – ban postal votes.

  109. Rain said

    Rain, that letter contains one glaring contradiction:
    The writer suggests that “We outgrew being a federal public servants barracks town decades ago and expanded into a large microcosm of all of Australia.” and then slams Rudd, saying: “But you glared angrily at us from our TV screens, and said you were taking a “meataxe” to slash jobs, and by the knock-on effect that hits a whole city’s microeconomy.”
    So which is it: is Canberra utterly dependent on the continued employment of public service seat-polishers, or has it outgrown that? You can’t have it both ways.”

    I don’t know precisely, I wasn’t the author! Just posted it for information here, as one example of a flurry of sentiment/emotion in our local media late last week.
    Personally speaking, I was surprised by the rash of such sentiments.

    As a local, I can understand and empathise with it though. The years after 1996 were very bad times. I *personally* doubt it would happen again that way, because the city has outgrown it even more since, but thats me – I’m more informed than most.

    Like any other fear campaign, Doesn’t matter if its true or not!
    Its because many people *believe* it to be true, that it works.

    Rudd’s statements, and dare I say it, that tone of the “Voice-of-Doom”, caused fear to ripple through those with memories, and unneccessary fear in these electorates. It also caused fear amongst our social service sectors, they also remember the flood of poverty which hit the city.

    That “Voice-of-Doom” was also completely at odds with what the rest of Australia was getting, and we also saw on our TVs. The ‘image’ of positive future nation-building etc…optimism and future -looking, and we get the “you will be screwed” message …

    I can understand why such generally solid Labor-supporters would at least be just a teeny bit *hurt* by that.

    Also, because people believed it, (true or not) it damaged the GetUp and Greens campaigns in Canberra, the Liberals took up with it and pushed it harder. Liberals took it up in the media, scaring even more.

    Canberra just like every other city, with families, mortgages, and just as concerned with failing education, hospitals, communications, infrastructure, Workchoices and interest rates.
    And like any other electorate will have voters who react out of fear. We are also not far away from our local Territory govt elections.

    And the public service are not seat-polishers, by the way. With all the hate-mongering and wedging across this country in the last decade, I guess *somebody* had to be the whipping post for Australians to vent their spleen on. Better us, than the Indigenous people, or all the other groups.

    It was like when the 2003 firestorm sent 10,000 Canberrans homeless. We saw a lot of complaints from the rest of Australia though — how dare we interrupt the cricket with sudden newsflashes! (Besides the fact that we didn’t even know that we had caused such gross inconvenience, as we had no power, no mobiles, no phones, no water etc).

    We’ll do as we always do, shrug off your hatred, and try to be polite and keep our problems out of the rest of Australia’s nose, in case we might spoil your dinner.

    I was just personally surprised that this time, Canberrans actually said something about it, even if it was just to sulk in the local papers that nobody else ever reads anyway.

  110. Ron Brown said

    David Richards Says:
    December 1, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Yes – it is odd that the postals are having such an effect.. it does seem fishy

    It used to be people going overseas or on holidays who were the well off used postal votes and therefore you expect those postal votes to strongly favor the Liberals

    Now we’ve had an increase in postal votes AND in pre polls votes

    Are people going around Nursing homes , retirement homes etc ??

  111. Ron Brown said

    One Labor bloger on Poll Bludger said he got a postal vote form with official looking Government paperwork PLUS a Liberal ‘how to vote ‘ card also enclosed

  112. Peter Fuller said

    I can’t add much to the discussion that’s already proceeded. However, I did have an unusual perspective as I was out of my usual situation holidaying in Leichardt for the last week of the campaign. As a result, I saw more television (including more commercial) than usual, and didn’t see the papers I read regularly. I was certainly struck by the disproportionate amount of Government advertising on both news and general programmes, including for individual candidates not just in Leichardt, but also in Kennedy. I can’t say whether this was peculiar to rural Queensland, to non-metro Australia more generally, or whether it reflected the balance Australia-wide. It certainly suggests a plausible reason for any late recovery by the Government.
    I’m also certain that the Queensland home-grown PM was significant. I was amazed to see that street signs around Cairns were augmented twice in the final week; Wednesday night a stack of signs appeared in the Maroon and Gold livery saying “A Queenslander for PM Now’s your chance Vote Rudd”.
    While this sounds twee to a cosmopolitan (lol) from Melbourne who’s a political fanatic, I’d be prepared to bet that this shored up the vote north of the Tweed. According to Tim Colebatch, the swing in rural Queensland was 9.6%, and aren’t we bloody grateful for that.
    I also think those on the thread who have emphasised the incumbency factor are probably right, and the advantage is surely intensifying with more professional campaign techniques and benefits like the massive postal allowances now available to MPs. We’re still talking about a 5.7% swing over the whole country, and in excess of 15% of seats changing hands. I’ve just been re-reading Graham Freudenberg’s autobiography, and wast reminded that the 1972 election saw a net change of eight seats in a House of reps of 125 (i.e. 6.4%). Anyone who was an adult in 1972 would recall that the McMahon Government seemed hapless and hopeless, and that’s not an after-the-event judgment either.
    Howard’s mob didn’t seem anywhere near that level of incompetence, prior to Saturday. In that context, a swing of almost 6% is massive.

  113. riccardo said

    Hang on Rain. While I sympathise with Canberrans in poverty – Rudd knows exactly who he is talking to when he says “Batemans Bay” – the first assistant secs and so on who are being given their marching orders. Remmeber he was there when Goss had to get rid of 30% of the Qld public service because it was corrupted by 20 years of Joh.

    Canberra does live off the fat of Australia, in a way that not even any state capital does. I’m not sure Canberra was really needed. That right winger Paddy McGuiness made some very accurate points about the consitutionality of Canberra

    1) it didn’t have to be a new city, it could be an existing one, as long as it was ceded by NSW

    2) the writers of the consititution might have had a much more Washington DC model in mind – with the Lodge, Parliament, Yarralumla, the High COurt and the Depts of PM&C and Treasury the only ones inside the constitutional ACT. The rest of the city, including the vast bulk of the population, would have remained in NSW. A “Greater Queanbeyan”. In fact this model would have used Queanbeyan as the capital, with an notional “Canberra” tacked on the side with the Buildings of State inside it.

    3) The only reason you have an ACT is to stop the state government threatening the instutions of state in a crisis – for example, having vast legions of NSW police standing at the steps of the High Court to prevent the judges going inside.

    Having the people of Canberra in their own territory means that they DO become insulated from the economic pressures of the rest of Australia.

  114. CK said

    Well Poss, I think we need a bit more on the The Sorrying.

    Cardboard Box is going to have his work cut out for him on the first issue on the agenda.

    Honest to god, whatever form of words the incoming government come up with, the Libs are truly going to position themselves as a pack of mean-spirited aresholes if they vote against it.

    And they don’t realise that everyone just wants this issue to go away so we can move on.

    Oh, and Christopher Pearson.

    Is there such a thing as a a Psepholonong?

    How he manages to get paid for pissing his trousers in public each week is quite beyond me.

    Folks, I give unto you:

    “Howard could have won” http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22848597-5013596,00.html

    After a rambling 1500 word introduction, we’re delivered this stunning insight.

    “Months ago I argued that the Coalition government could win with 49 per cent of the two-party vote and was violently attacked for my pains in left-wing blogs. By the end of the campaign the conventional wisdom had put the bar lower, at 48 per cent or a touch under. In the event, at week’s end The Australian reported the outgoing government as having won 47 per cent of the vote.

    For the Coalition to win the next election, psephologists have been estimating that it only needs a swing of 2 per cent to 3 per cent, which is readily achievable. ”

    Fact. Only one-term government in Australia’s history is Jim Scullin’s which toppled in the wake of the Wall Street crash.

  115. Bert said

    Pearsons rambling is an understatement of what he did not say CK. It reminds me a bit of a horoscope.
    It is very simple really, you make one part of society hate another part of society , but just make sure your bit of society is bigger! This fails in the long run if you dont look after your bit. JWH ultimatly failed at this simple task. He attacked the the very same simple souls that thought if you follow his recipe for financial salvation you would be OK.
    JWH attacked the safety or complacency of their very income! Enough got more scared to change their vote.
    It still stuns me that 47% of Australians can still vote for a Government bereft of any honesty let alone humanity.

    Delusion is the only word that comes to mind.

    Bert

  116. David Richards said

    That the Libs got 36ish % of the primary is amazing. As they only ruled for 10% of the population, you would expect that that is all they would get in the way of votes. The other 26% are a real mystery.

  117. Rain said

    Riccardo: “Hang on Rain. While I sympathise with Canberrans in poverty – Rudd knows exactly who he is talking to when he says “Batemans Bay” – the first assistant secs and so on who are being given their marching orders. Remmeber he was there when Goss had to get rid of 30% of the Qld public service because it was corrupted by 20 years of Joh.”

    Hey🙂 I *know* that, and *you* know all that, but the average Canberran janes & johns etc don’t know that. I might see it very differently, but *they* don’t – and they vote too.

    I also agree with you, there should never been an ACT with such a large and diverse residential population inside it, and the people of Canberra voted resoundingly in two referendums against self-government, for most of the very sensible reasons you cite🙂 We even protested for a third rerefendum.

    But what’s done, is done, and it was done a long time ago, and since that time it has grown into its own character/identity, complete with all the issues that go hand-in-hand with urban growth.

    They see it as *home*, and with outer urban growth has melded into Queanbeyan like any other major capital city with outer satellite population centres. Several generations have been born and raised here, and put down *roots*, and like any other city commuter going to work for Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, American Express Asia-Pacific HQ etc, David Jones or Westfield shopping malls, or constructing high-rise apartment blocks for the rich, hotels etc, working in mills and timber yards, engineering depots, car-yards etc the list goes on.

    And like any urban growth, along comes all the other urban issues, including mortgage-belters who are no different to the people who live in Lindsay, and growing poverty ghettos etc.

    Just that in Canberra, they are scattered throughout, and not more generally concentrated in individual electorates as they might be in other cities.

    Secondly, the layout is deceiving to the casual observer, being a unique city design.
    There used to be graffiti on the highway entrance tunnel saying “Canberra – where do you hide your slums?” Along with the brothels (high-class as well as street-walkers), red-light districts, per head of capita having earned the title of the nation’s “drug capital”. Per head of capita we have more injecting drug users – how’s that for a record?

    Every city has its rich fat-cats, and in Canberra it is not just the FAS’s & above, its also the ANU academics, locally we call them the “inner north cafe latte crowd”, and quite a few private sector lords and barons. Several large companies have established businesses here, in certain “industrial estates”.

    I do disagree however, that it has been insulated from the economic pressures of the rest of Australia, not for a very long time. Not since self-government anyway. In its infancy the ACT govt was Liberal dominated for many years. After years of obscene money-rorting scandals, privatisation of a lot of public sector work into private hands, we finally voted them out. Under the Coalition, the ACT has been just as starved of funding as any other State/Territory, for education, health, roads etc, eg public schools have had to be amalgamated with huge class sizes and cause a lot of local controversy, as such things would in any other State/territory.

    We just hide it better from the casual observer, Floriade tourist of visiting diplomat, thanks to the architect who designed such a unique layout.

    Queanbeyan-Canberra, is no different now to Gosford-Chatswood, we even have Yass as a kind of Penrith analogue, half the town of Yass commutes 1.5 hours each way to work in Canberra. Beyond Queanbeyan, commuters also come in from Braidwood, Captain’s Flat and Bungendore. A lot of the “fat-cats” actually have rural retreats out there within that 1-2 hour commuting distance. Jerrabombera Estate (a large residential district) is actually on the NSW side of the border but is seamless with Canberra city.

    With all that over the years, there is a growth of the sentiment of the ACT as its own identity, separate and different, to the other States/territories. We been voting for a Territory govt to manage our schools, hospitals, roads, and so on, just like everybody else does, and have been for a long time now.

    We may not have wanted it to begin with, but we have it now.

    Should we all start voting for Morris Iemma?

    Like I said, I know, and you know, (and many here) *know* exactly what Kevin Rudd was talking about, and exactly to *whom* the message was meant — but the average Canberran janes & johns etc, working in Bunnings Hardware warehouses, or as a night security guard for Hewlett-Packard on the industrial estate, don’t know that!

    They just heard the tone on the evening news, have heard stories from their older neighbours, and the local Thai restaurant owner, or pub barmaid etc – about how the whole city went kaput the last time a govt took a meataxe to the APS, the local Liberal Party took it up in the media, to escalate it as a scare campaign in the media, (See? If we had Workchoices it wouldn’t happen!) and just like everywhere else in Australia a lot more people were needlessly upset.

    Secondly, like any organisation, the APS is heirarchical, there are more at the bottom than at the top as fat-cats. These younger public servants, being lower-level, lower-paid etc, were more likely to be cushioned/protected from the real politicisation by their mid-level managers, at least in policy agencies. Also more likely to be mortgage-belters, with young kids etc.

    Workchoices and AWAs have hit the APS harder than you might realise, a lot are now on AWAs, plenty of casual and part-timers at the bottom of the food-chain. Last years round of Uni graduate intake were forced onto one-yearly individual AWAs in a few agencies, and several agencies which are still on agency-bargaining agreements have slowly lost every round with increasing paycuts, cuts to conditions such as worker’s compensation, increases in hours worked in return for no pay-cuts etc. The Union is only present in such “negotiations” as a ‘token’ and everyone knows it.

    The first thing Howard did in 96, was split and divide the service into have and have-nots,administrative or service-agencies were hived off from policy agencies. Each agency had its own payscales and conditions, and have risen or fallen over the years with quite disparate wages and conditions across the service. You can imagine administrative agencies? the ones that just do the business of government – managing Medicare payments, working in accounts and personnel? They often get 3-month casual contracts, paid a pittance more than Centrelink cients, and can be sacked on the spot. No paid sick leave or rec leave.

    Riccardo, methinx you might be out-of-date I’m sorry to say. We have not been “insulated from the economic pressures of the rest of Australia”, and that includes the bulk of lower level APS workers.

    These younger and newer public servants, also saw Kevin Rudd’s “meataxe” as a threat, they did not realise he meant the SES, these “Howard” public servants barely know what an SES officer is.

    The other thing is, we are not that far away from our next Territory elections, the Liberals may have lost the Big-One, and ACT may be very small fry in the scheme of things, but they might have a go at breaking the “wall-the-Wall” just for the fun of it. Get some practice in for the next Big-One.

    OK, will get off my soap-box now…

  118. David Richards said

    OK poss – how about a “Predict the first post election Poll Results” thread.

    Primary, 2PP, preferred PM 🙂

  119. CK said

    Oh Bert, ahem, to quote:

    “It is very simple really, you make one part of society hate another part of society , but just make sure your bit of society is bigger! This fails in the long run if you dont look after your bit. JWH ultimately failed at this simple task. He attacked the the very same simple souls that thought if you follow his recipe for financial salvation you would be OK.”

    Silly, silly boy. Haven’t you heard? There is no such thing as society http://briandeer.com/social/thatcher-society.htm

    And this is precisely the reason why they’re such a crumbling heap.

    Towit: Fighting the ideological battles of the ’80’s and they’ve suddenly woken up and it’s 2007.

    What a pack of mugs.

  120. Bert said

    CK
    Are you talking to me?
    De Niro

    I apologise if I see the world in a realistic way.

    When we first came to Australia in 1953 every ‘ordinary Australian’ helped us. If we turned up now we could be interned. Thanks to the creeps that used to be in power we now do not have a society but an economy. This will definitely change.

    As an aside the leader of the opposition is an ex union boss that used to vote Labor!

    Bert

  121. JP said

    CK @ 119 wrote:
    “Fighting the ideological battles of the ’80’s and they’ve suddenly woken up and it’s 2007. What a pack of mugs.”

    I agree, but it worked just fine for them up to and including 2004. Why would they believe 2007 was different?

  122. David Richards said

    CK @ 114

    Christopher Pearson – “For the Coalition to win the next election, psephologists have been estimating that it only needs a swing of 2 per cent to 3 per cent, which is readily achievable.”

    What this twit forgets is that they have lost the benefits of incumbency, and a lot of other tactical options are also denied them come the next election.

    Whence will the impetus for such a swing come?

    It is far more likely that there will be a 2-3% swing TO the ALP (especially given the dodgy postal/prepoll vote this time which is rather suss, that’s 1% to the ALP automatically).

    As CK pointed out, one term governments are extremely rare. I suppose Whitlam might be considered such, having only lasted 3 years from election to the dismissal – but he did win an election in between, and it took an act of bastardry to prematurely terminate that second term.

    So – barring a total global economic meltdown,(less likely these days given the strength of the EU, China, and India – the US is not the dominant economic force it was in the 1930s), the Libs have no real chance, especially given the likelihood they will be too pre-occupied with their internal problems for the next 3 years. The internal divisions could well add another 2% to the swing to the ALP at the next election.

    The Libs will be lucky to hold things at the current position.

  123. Don Wigan said

    Some of us are a bit overly concerned about the narrowing. I’d liken it to a cricket result. We’re in a position where we seem likely to win by 500 runs. Now the gap is 300 and their tail-enders are hanging on, if not scoring many runs. But even if the final margin is below 200, it’s still a handsome win.

    I was not in doubt after catching the first radio introduction from Chris Uhlmann. This was before any counting came in and based on party insiders from both camps. He said the Liberals were in despair and had even abandoned tracking in the last two days. They said that Queensland was looking like a massacre. The Kelly fiasco probably slowed or stopped a modest recovery. Labor insiders tracked it right through and estimated 54:46 (a shade optimistic on the actual count). On that basis he foreshadowed a comfortable Labor win. With polling ended, there was no need for the insiders to lie, and as it turned out both camps summed it up well.

    The most interesting thing I found was the fall in ALP primary. From a consistent 47 for most of the year, it actually became 43.5 – a drop of 3.5. It looks like 1 to 1.5 could have shifted to the LNP (scare campaign, or incumbency advantages), but where did the rest go? My guess is that this went to the Greens on the assumption (per the polling) that Labor already had it ‘in the bag’. As it was, things might have been a lot closer if Queensland hadn’t fallen so heavily. Another thing pollsters had noticed was that swings were patchy. That, too, was played out in the vote.

    My own theory was that Labor was safe as long as their primary was 45+. As it was, they didn’t get that, but I suspect they did in Queensland and SA.

    Incumbency is a huge advantage. As others mentioned on postals, I received a personally addressed envelope marked ‘Important Electoral Information’ in bold and with a Commonwealth Coat of Arms. I opened it on the assumption that it might be something to do with my enrolment. It was just a letter from my local MP, David Hawker, plus a Libs postal vote ballot application. I don’t know what if any affect it had on uninformed voters. It struck me as misleading at best.

  124. bryce said

    DR 122 – Agree
    Howard’s win with 49% in 1998 was in large part due to the Mackerras Sophomore Effect. First defence members are much harder to dislodge as larger swings are needed to reclaim the seat. This will apply to Labor in 2010.
    The four minority wins since the war have all gone to the Govt of the day. Christopher, this won’t happen from Opposition. Enough said.
    Pearson is just indulging in partisan wishful thinking (if I close my eyes and hope hard enough, it will really happen).

  125. Enemy Combatant said

    Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?
    Furthur thoughts on “Fear”; its social exploitataion for political gain; its contribution to the psephological phenomenon of Narrowism:)

    “Fear is reemerging as an active ingredient of political life in Western democracies. Fear of terrorism, of course; but also, and perhaps more insidiously, fear of the uncontrollable speed of change, fear of the loss of employment, fear of losing ground to others in an increasingly unequal distribution of resources, fear of losing control of the circumstances and routines of one’s daily life. And, perhaps above all, fear that it is not just we who can no longer shape our lives but that those in authority have lost control as well, to forces beyond their reach.”

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20853

  126. David Richards said

    Was that Mr. Reich’s third book?

  127. SJP said

    I learned in social psychology that peoples attitudes are only moderate predictors of behaviour:too many variables can interfere between the attitude and the subsequent behaviour to make them consistent. ie. “soft voters” who wanted to get rid of Howard just got plain scared by the scare campaign that their “good life” would be affected. The majority of people act out of self-interest-no too ways about it.

  128. Blair said

    Coming on late on this after being away for the last week.

    I found the lack of a swing in the more affluent city seats interesting too. It showed up quite nicely in my seat, Jagajaga – the wealthy southern end of the electorate, having swung to Labor by 6% between 1998 and 2004 while the north end went 6% the other way, only swung 1-2% this time compared with 5-7% elsewhere. (It’s a nice seat to make these comparisons on, because it is diverse and you don’t have to factor in things like who the candidates are and how hard both sides are trying in the local campaign).

    I think the reason why many of us thought the big swing might have been on in the Kooyongs and North Sydneys of this world was the Newspoll quarterly data showing the largest swings in safe Coalition seats. With hindsight, what this was probably picking up, at least to some extent, was the big swing in a lot of regional seats, especially in Queensland. Leichhardt and Dawson were the ones which got the attention because they changed hands as a result, but you don’t see single-digit margins in places like Groom and Barker (or a margin with a ‘1’ instead of a ‘2’ in front of it in Maranoa) too often either.

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