Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Newspoll Tuesday – Climate Change Edition

Posted by Possum Comitatus on July 29, 2008

As is wont to happen with Newspoll Tuesday and political party room or cabinet meetings, Newspoll once again – in an act of impeccable timing – manages to flick the bird to the party in trouble.

Not merely content with giving the Coalition party room and shadow cabinet meeting a nasty piece of 57/43 Two Party Preferred context to bicker about off the back of primaries running 47/37 the same way (MoE 3%), Newspoll decided to throw in a leadership question, two Costello questions and three climate change questions to boot – the results of which aren’t exactly encouraging for the party but will undoubtedly make for a nice conversation starter come the Coalition meetings today and tomorrow.

But first onto the main game.

Updating our Pollytrack and Loess regression series for the last week, we get.

Since the last update we’ve had a Newspoll addition for the Pollytrack series and a Newspoll and two Morgan face to face polls for the All Polls series. Currently the local regression in the All Polls series shows the ALP leading on primaries 45.2/39.2 with a two party preferred lead of 55.7/44.3 – giving us a difference between Pollytrack and the Loess All Polls series of 0.2% or less for all metrics.

Pollytrack is currently running with a pooled sample size of 3939 for a minimum margin of error of 1.56%.

Next up is a comparison of how the three major pollsters are performing in relation to each other. We’ll do the primary votes of both parties and the TPP of the ALP (since the Coalition TPP is just the mirror image).

You might notice that the Morgan face to face polling has been running a little hotter for the ALP than the phone polls for most of the year, continuing on from last years pattern, while Nielsen has been generally more Coalition friendly than the other pollsters.

Next up comes the qualitative data on leadership and climate change.

On the question of who is best to lead the Liberal Party, Peter Costello must be cheering from his holiday bunker having finally found not just one, but two people he is more popular than.

Costello is way out in front on 41% compared to Turnbull on 24%, Nelson on 18% and that serial candidate Uncommitted rounding out the contest on 17%.

65% of people want Costello to stay in Parliament compared to the 23% that want to see the back of him and 12% uncommitted.

The last Newspoll question is the most insightful though – it asks:

If Peter Costello were to become the leader of the federal Liberal Party, would it make you more likely to vote for the Coalition, less likely to vote for the Coalition or would it make no difference to the way you would vote?

While the headline results have 23% more likely, 15% less likely, 57% no difference and 5% uncommitted (the last being a pretty low number for these things, suggesting that the public has a very firm view of Costello) – the interesting part is the crosstabs on party support.

The Coalition needs ALP voters to shift to the Coalition, yet ALP voters have a breakdown of 15% more likely and 20% less likely. If Costello became leader, he might not lose voteshare, but neither does he look like he would gain much based on these results.

Finally we have three climate change questions with 84% agreeing that Climate Change is occurring and 96% of those that agree believe that climate change is fully or partially caused by human activity.

I guess that’s a big Newspoll “stick that in your pipe and smoke it Nick Minchin”.

On the question of whether Australia should introduce an ETS, 60% say yes regardless of what the rest of the world does, 23% say yes only if other countries do the same, while 11% said No period and 6% were uncommitted.

On the crosstabs, 70% of the 18-34 group says yes regardless of what other countries do, 65% of the 35-49 group says the same while only 50% of the 50+ agree. This is interesting as only 47% of Coalition voters say that Australia should introduce an ETS regardless, which hints at the demographic problems the Coalition is facing and how their vote is getting skewed to older demographics.

And as we’ve talked about before, the Coalition simply cannot win without getting larger numbers of younger voters.

All up, this Newspoll seems to be a slap in the face to Nelson, the Minchin led ETS political positioning and the Coalition generally. Today’s meeting should be a doozy.

Elsewhere: Poll Bludger and Larvatus Prodeo.

34 Responses to “Newspoll Tuesday – Climate Change Edition”

  1. Interesting that Nelson rates better on PPM among women than men. Ute Man mustn’t be convinced!

  2. onimod said

    Thumbs up for Newspoll actually asking a couple of decent questions for once that didn’t sound like they came from the ACA interns.
    Thank goodness there’s some public evidence for calling the LP leadership not only intellectually bankrupt, but also out of touch.
    10 years in power might not have created the generational gap particularly evident on CC, but it certainly did nothing to close it, and unless the LP is going to about face and undertake the job of educating it’s older voters on the younger generations views on CC they’re absolutely stuffed.
    Educating older conservative voters – yes – I know it’s funny.
    Based on this I see any future push on CC from the government centred on reinforcement rather than education. Also, watch the compensation flow to the families rather than denialist pensioners – they’ve been pushed to the edge of relevance politically now.
    It still causes me to go in to a logic loop to see 37% primary support for the opposition – ‘rusted on’ really is ‘rusted on’ I guess.
    What exactly are they supporting? They’re not happy with the leader, his mooted replacement, or even the most currently prominent policy. Boggling, and yet we’re so used to it no one really questions it. A bit of realism and tough love would be great for the LP and the country. Another myth of the Australian character gone walkabout.

  3. Alastair said

    “The Coalition needs ALP voters to shift to the Coalition, yet ALP voters have a breakdown of 15% more likely and 20% less likely.”

    The problem with such analysis is that it doesn’t consider swinging voters or whether they are hard or soft voters. I suspect that a majority of hard Labor voters (one’s that firmly support Labor) would say that they’re less likely to vote Coaltion if Costello becomes leader.

    What we really need is a reading of swinging or soft Labor and soft Liberal voters and what they think about the Liberal leadership.

  4. Possum Comitatus said

    Alastair – how right you are!

    Ideally the pollsters would add 1 single question to their polls: “Who did you vote for at the last election” and most of that could be answered.

  5. Richard Green said

    No, Minchin should put it in his mouth and chew it.

    Less emmissions that way.

    And I’d love to see a straight poll of “who did you vote for at the last election”, since I am willing to bet it’d return a result of 55-45 to the ALP. Hindsight loves to be on the winning side.

  6. Debbie said

    Imagine if this poll came out next week and the LNP followed through fully on their anti-Climate change stance.

    Nelson and co on one train heading north, wistfully watching the electorate train as it disappears over the southern horizon.

  7. Classified said

    Who did you vote for at the last election

    I suspect quite a few would lie, but I guess thats always the way with such things

    As far as I can tell, over the previous 12 years, only 4 people actually ever voted for the coconut😆

  8. Andos said

    That would be an interesting study, Richard Green. I wonder if the pollsters could use something like that to validate their sampling/weighting methods… that’s assuming that no-one lies, of course.

  9. David Richards said

    The news gets better and better…🙂

    If the Federal Libs are to have any chance at all, they will HAVE to get with it and take a huge swing to the left and live up to their name, or be consigned to the same scrapheap as the Qld Libs. Jettisoning all the Howard baggage on climate change, asylum seekers.. and nearly every other issue the dribbling demented one held dear is a necessity, but will they bite the pillow and do it?

  10. Labor Outsider said

    Perhaps a useful supplementary question could be:

    In federal elections prior to 2007 have you ever voted for a political party other than the party you voted for in 2007?

    I have to say that I am flummoxed by the coalition’s approach to climate change policy at the moment. The next few months should have been about scrutinising labor’s policy, not theirs. Emissions trading is sufficiently complicated that they could have chosen a couple of issues – such as the nature of protection for trade exposed industries – or a lower price cap – and run on those – that is improving the ETS. They don’t seem to understand that when Labor’s targets come out, they will imply a very low initial carbon price. That combined with the other goodies that Labor will give away to soften up the electorate mean that the coalition will be left with nowhere to go except to capitulate.

    Dumb politics!!!

  11. Labor Outsider said

    Update

    Nelson seems to have backflipped again – now it is a 2012 start date with a low initial carbon price until major emitters agree to timetables…

    I have to laugh because Labor’s final position is likely also to imply a low starting price if major emitters aren’t in….so the coalition have gone through all that angst merely to end up differing only on the start date!!

  12. Labor Outsider said

    One more point!!!

    The Oz keeps running the nuclear line….which is fair enough….but they don’t seem to have tweeked that for nuclear energy to be commercially viable in Australia, carbon would have to be priced at a minimum of $30t, and probably more….

    So what do they want? A low carbon price or a nuclear industry…its tough to have both!!!

  13. Boerwar said

    Labor Outsider @12
    Good point which exposes the real anti-gg agenda. The agenda is to try to pretend that ecohysterics just don’t get it on the nuclear/CO2 nexus, then to use this confusion as a trojan horse for opening up uranium mining and the export market. The anti-gg front peoples know perfectly well that in Australia the commercial returns for a whole-of-life nuclear power plant are a long, long way away from practical investment reality, even if they could get some credit from somewhere, and even before some of the major commercial risks are factored in. They know we are not going to see a nuclear power generating plant in Australia for a long time to come. They just want to flog the stuff to anyone who will buy it o/s.

  14. Token Grammar Nazi said

    You might want to change ‘want’ to ‘wont’ in that first sentence … Mind you, you probably won’t, as is your wont.

  15. JP said

    I just can’t get my head around how a Coalition voter could be more likely to vote Coalition if Costello took over, nor a Labor voter less likely.

    And instead of asking about what people voted in 2007, and leaving us all a lot of number crunching to work out what that means, why not just ask what people’s TPP vote would be if Costello was up against Rudd?

    And Poss: if you’re going back to change the first sentence, you could also change “Minchin lead” to “Minchin-led” in the last sentence.😉

  16. Possum Comitatus said

    Spelling Nannas unite!

    Ta folks.:mrgreen:

    Did anyone catch the Nelson media scrum late this afternoon?

    Most of Nelsons silliness is self inflicted, but watching him try to make that shit sandwich sound as if it tasted like chicken was a real cringe moment. With the Libs inflicting so many of these problems on themselves, surely it must bring into question the political nous of the people surrounding Nelson, like Hendy.

    And what I dont get is just who was rolled at this shadow cabinet meeting since they ended up back at the same position they had early last week?

  17. David Richards said

    It’s certainly been amusing watching the fetid corpse of conservatism decompose before our very eyes.

    Nightwatchman must be developing a taste for shit sangers – he’s had to swallow an awful lot since the election.

    I also had noted the grammatic issues highlighted above, but thought better of coming the heavy linguistic policeman.

  18. Just on the “how did you vote at the last election” question, my recollection was that the longer you leave it, the more people misremember their vote as one for the winning party, if they weren’t highly committed to the choice at the time. The classic instance of this is after Kennedy’s assassination, when I think something like 65 or 70% of a national sample claimed to have voted for him, when, as everyone knows, there was only a cigarette paper’s worth (or a few stuffed ballot boxes in Chicago and Texas) between Nixon and Kennedy. That’s an extreme case, but I’m pretty sure that I remember reading that it’s a phenomenon of usual occurrence.

  19. Possum Comitatus said

    It poses an interesting question Mark. On the one hand I’m not a very big believer in after the fact polling on events, which is why I rarely touch the Australian Election Survey results, but on the other hand, such a question would be really helpful for political analysis even if it was a bit biased toward the incumbent.

    I’ve often wondered how much of that post-event bias is a result of the faulty memory of survey respondents and how much is as a result of respondents agreeing with the majority after the fact. It would be interesting to test two different methodologies on this question with two separate groups – where the first group was simply asked who they voted for at the last election, while the second group would be asked to answer the same question but instead of doing it verbally, were asked to enter their answer via the keypad on the phone (1 for ALP, 2 for Coalition, 3 for Others) and the person asking the questions let the respondent know that they couldn’t see their answer.

    I bet London to a brick on that the answers of the second group would be closer to the actual election results than the first.

  20. Yes, Possum, I agree it would be very helpful. The meaning of “political affiliation” in this context isn’t particularly clear either though – though presumably it’s a crosstab with the voting intention question, you could get something more meaningful if it was tabulated with the intensity of the voting choice. Does Newspoll push people to make a choice? We used to in some ALP polling we did yonks ago – in the sense of asking people who they were leaning to, if they would change easily, etc – for tracking polls.

    I’ve got a feeling actually that my recollection of this problem actually comes from some methodological discussion from an old AES.

  21. Possum Comitatus said

    Mark,

    Newspoll does the gentle push on voting intention, asks people who they would vote for and if uncommitted, asks them which party they are leaning towards. Usually between 4% and 6% of the sample are removed from the voting intention counts because they remain uncommitted or simply refuse to answer.

    I have sympathy for party pollsters when trying to get a handle on partisan intensity or vote certainty, as an awful lot of people see themselves as swinging voters but in reality just aren’t. In extraordinary circumstances these folks would change their vote – but circumstances are rarely extraordinary and trying to weed those out from the real soft and swinging voters is quite an art.

    And as you know, it’s expensive to do this stuff properly. Just after the election I was approached by a group looking to start up the perfect political poll – a carefully selected sample of 1000 people used for a longitudinal political and public affairs poll undertaken once a month. To nail it down properly in a way that would provide high levels of certainty would have cost about $1.5 million a year to run. About 3 times more than they were willing to pump into it.

    It’s a pity – she would have been formidable and have changed the way political analysis is done in Australia.

    We’ll probably have to wait to Yougov moves into Australia to get anything approaching it – but even then, without a major media supporter to publish and spruik the results it becomes commercially questionable from the start.

  22. Yep, it’s a pity!

  23. Just Me said

    Some of the stuff I deal with involves subjective retrospective recall in medical patients, often of events that occurred decades previously, and it is a well known nightmare trying to get reliable answers.

    People are not being dishonest or evasive and are genuinely trying to remember accurately, but it is just the way human memory works, it is reconstructive and imbued with all sorts of post factum influences (emotional, intentional, interpretative, rationalisations, not wanting to go against the crowd, etc) and is most certainly is not a simple factual recall.

    The problem is so great, that generally speaking, in medical science retrospective studies are not considered strong evidence of factual history, prospective studies are given far greater weight.

    The study you suggest in #19 could be very interesting, Possum.

  24. Mike Cusack said

    I vaguely recall, but can find no trace using basic research tools, that something similar was attempted back in the early/mid 70’s, where respondents were asked to nominate which party they had voted for at the 1972 election. The question was randomly varied by asking if respondents had voted for McMahon or Whitlam. An improbable result ensued when most respondents declared they had not voted for the named leader, ie that few wanted to admit that they voted for leaders who had subsequently become damaged goods (or in McMahons case remained damaged goods).

  25. David Richards said

    Nightwatchman on 7:30 report – all at sea trying to justify the Lib policy… he was chewing the shit sanger vigorously… but it is the viewer who found it hard to swallow.

  26. cyclosarin said

    Poss surely the 15% ALP less likely is irrelevent? I think your comment that he wont pick up votes is incorrect.

    If 15% of ALP voters are less likely to vote LNP, that is irrelevant to the result, as nothing will change.

    What you need to look at is the break down by party of who is going to change.

    If switching to Costello results in 15% of ALP voters being likely to change to LNP, and 5% of LNP voters are likely to change to ALP, then switching to costello netts them a 10% gain.

    The less likely number is irrelevant, because that only states that voters will stick with their current choice, thats not what we are interested in knowing.

    I think you’ve concentrated on the wrong numbers.

  27. Deathridesahorse said

    Possum Comitatus Says:
    July 29, 2008 at 12:04 pm
    Alastair – how right you are!

    Ideally the pollsters would add 1 single question to their polls: “Who did you vote for at the last election” and most of that could be answered.
    <<

    A most elegant solution: truly!

    Let’s spam the idea and see if it takes off, shall we!?!

  28. Deathridesahorse said

    Possum Comitatus Says:
    July 29, 2008 at 8:47 pm
    Spelling Nannas unite!

    Ta folks.

    Did anyone catch the Nelson media scrum late this afternoon?

    Most of Nelsons silliness is self inflicted, but watching him try to make that shit sandwich sound as if it tasted like chicken was a real cringe moment. With the Libs inflicting so many of these problems on themselves, surely it must bring into question the political nous of the people surrounding Nelson, like Hendy.

    And what I dont get is just who was rolled at this shadow cabinet meeting since they ended up back at the same position they had early last week?
    <<

    Jack the Insider said it was Minchin who got rolled and, apparently, is losing influence : but not having followed the story(I usually spend my time fighting in the comments section) I’m not quite sure if that adds up at all.

    Possibly, tho, given Jack seems to give a bit to both sides!

  29. Labor Outsider said

    It is pretty clear who got rolled – it was Nelson (and the people he is taking advice from) – he wanted to alter the policy and realised he didn’t have the numbers to do it….The press conference was akin to watching a death roll….

  30. Ad astra said

    Deathridesahorse, I didn’t catch the media scrum after yesterday’s LNP Party meeting, but I did see Brendan Nelson’s gibberish on the 7.30 Report. It was a wonder to behold. Kerry O’Brien became almost speechless with exasperation trying to pin him down. Then Greg Hunt, who always looks like a boy on a man’s errand, appeared on Lateline. Looking like an eager-to-please schoolboy, he had his new lines well-rehearsed and was determined to get them out. All that did was to exasperate Leigh Sales who felt the need to preface the repeat of an unanswered question with “Greg Hunt, Greg Hunt, Greg Hunt…”, Undeterred, he pressed on with that irrepressible smile he hopes will conceal his muddled presentation.

    For sheer entertainment, such performances are almost as good as Clarke and Dawe; for information transfer to the general public, they’re inept and counterproductive. If the Coalition had deliberately set out to create confusion about its climate change policy it could not have done a more proficient job. The further it goes the worse it gets. By now I expect it’s only the political tragics who are paying attention. The main players would be wise to give it a break for a week or two, let the confusion subside and start again, preferably with just one unchanging message from all who speak on the subject. Perhaps they should take a leaf out of Malcolm Turnbull’s book; because he’s consistently uncomfortable talking on climate change, he avoids the debate whenever he can and thereby minimizes the opportunity to put his foot in it.

  31. Spam Inbox said

    If the Coalition had deliberately set out to create confusion about its climate change policy it could not have done a more proficient job

    Could that possibly be it?

  32. George said

    Come on guys, Labor are done for…. according to the Oz Nelson is on the rise:

    “Mr Rudd’s perception as being in touch with voters took a heavy hit, falling 13 points to 73per cent, while Dr Nelson’s rose five points to 44 per cent.”

    Reality anyone?

  33. Kina said

    Given public opinion you would think the LNP would have enough sense to adopt an acceptable or even more innovative position, knowing that if they ever won an election they could then manipulate it to suit their scepticism and hide the fact with obtuse words (Im sure the press would help them). Howard was good at saying he was doing some such think when what he was doing had the opposite effect.

    Their problem is they hate to see Rudd receive kudos for having a policy, the alternative for them is to be on the wrong side of public opinion.

  34. Mark said

    Ad AStra:-
    >Then Greg Hunt, who always looks like a boy on a man’s errand, appeared on Lateline. Looking like an eager-to-please schoolboy, he had his new lines well-rehearsed and was determined to get them out. All that did was to exasperate Leigh Sales who felt the need to preface the repeat of an unanswered question with “Greg Hunt, Greg Hunt, Greg Hunt…”, Undeterred, he pressed on with that irrepressible smile he hopes will conceal his muddled presentation. >

    I’m amazed at the way in which certain media commentators continually talk up Hunt as being one of the Coalition’s heavy-hitters. When he was named as Environment spokesman, said commentators brayed that he would wipe the floor with Peter Garrett, who (purely on the basis of a couple of well-publicised election campaign gaffs) they perceived as being a poor Parliamentary performer. Since then, Hunt seems to have barely laid a glove on Garrett in the House, and his public performances appear equally weak. Granted, he has to sell a total dog’s-breakfast of policy, and he does appear a nice enough bloke – but is this really one of the Liberals’ shining new lights?

    Perhaps he could form half of a leadership Dream Team with Cossie? : )

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