Newspoll: The Killing Machine

In the following thirty-six hours the next Newspoll will be published. If it is as poor a result for Labor as was last week's Nielsen Poll, the leadership frenzy will reach an even more feverish pitch. Frantic media packs will jostle to assail every politician entering and leaving parliament, thrusting microphones into their faces, and insisting they declare their allegiance to Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd, or at least take a punt on whether a leadership challenge is on, and who is likely to win. The words uttered by the key players will be analyzed endlessly for nuance. Every news bulletin on radio or TV will be embellished with phrases such as 'another bad poll for Labor has renewed/fuelled/rekindled/heightened leadership speculation', with clips of comments from Labor politicians at doorstops, clips of Tony Abbott, with nodding supporters in the background, sagely reminding us how dysfunctional, divided and chaotic the Gillard Government is, and Christopher Pyne emitting his usual venom outside Parliament. It is as predictable as the sun rising in the East.

The press will have a field day. Dennis Shanahan will be emboldened to predict an even greater electoral disaster for Labor, Paul Kelly will be more pontifical than usual in telling us why, and other News Limited journalists will report the findings gleefully, and in every sordid detail. The predictive value of the poll will be assumed, as it has been for two years now, and to give the result some statistical authenticity, the result will be stated to be 'outside the margin of error'.

Should the result be much the same as the last Newspoll, the media response will be less strident. What Labor could expect would be one of Shanahan's favourite phrases: 'flat-lining', or words to the effect that Labor 'has failed to get a bounce out of Gonski', or any other piece of legislation the pundits believe ought to have given it one.

But if the result were to be better for Labor than Nielsen or the last Newspoll, it would need to be vastly better to attract any acknowledgement of an improvement. And to counter any better result, we will be reminded that the Coalition 'still has an election-winning lead', or that ‘it would still win in a landslide', or that 'Labor would still lose (insert number) of seats at an election, should it be held today'.

So whatever happens this coming week with Newspoll, the result will be painted as bad for Labor, and should it be much, much better by any chance, it will be categorized as a 'rouge poll'.

Nothing I have asserted so far will come as a surprise to any reader. I write these words simply to underscore the extraordinary influence polls of voting intention and personal approval have on our political dialogue through all forms of the Fourth Estate. They actually create the dialogue.

This coming week, Newspoll will be used as a killing machine, as it has been for many years.

Of course it was used as a killing machine in the dying days of the Howard Government, although not as powerfully as it is now. And let's acknowledge that it is not the only one. The Nielsen poll too has potency as a killing machine, as we saw last week. It precipitated a furious frenzy in the Canberra Press Gallery that went on for several days, until it became apparent that no leadership challenge was in the offing, whereupon the frenzy abated for a while. Of course there are regular Galaxy polls that seem to emerge at weekends that give good copy to political journalists for the Sunday papers, and now automated ReachTEL polls are gaining prominence and are given publicity in News Limited media. Those aiming at the heart of Labor use them all as killing machines.

But there are other polls, some longstanding. Morgan Polls have been around since 1941. Morgan conducts both face-to-face and telephone polls. The last one did not replicate the results of the Nielsen poll. Under a heading: Female support rises strongly for the Government after Howard Sattler interview with Prime Minister, Morgan wrote: “Today’s Morgan Poll shows the ALP closing the gap on the L-NP with the L-NP (53.5%, down 2.5% in a week) cf. ALP (46.5%, up 2.5%) after Perth radio host Howard Sattler interviewed Prime Minister Julia Gillard last Thursday and questioned the Prime Minister about her partner’s sexuality. Sattler was subsequently sacked on Friday afternoon by Fairfax Radio and the Morgan Poll which was interviewed after this point shows a clear swing back to the Government. A Fairfax-Nielsen poll released overnight showed the L-NP (57%) cf. ALP (43%) on a two-party preferred basis. However, it is important to note the Fairfax-Nielsen poll was conducted between Thursday and Saturday last week (June 13-15, 2013) which means many of the Fairfax-Nielsen interviews were conducted before the full impact of the Howard Sattler interview and subsequent sacking was known."

Did any of you see the Morgan Poll reported in the Fourth Estate? The only place I saw it was in the Fifth Estate, in Independent Australia. Isn't that strange? No it isn't. Fairfax would not want to diminish the potency of its own killing machine by giving credence to a poll that was at variance with its own, especially the last poll that placed Labor in such a poor light. In fact isn't it strange that we almost never see Morgan Polls given any airing in the Fourth Estate.

And there is the weekly Essential Poll that uses a methodology different from other polls, and aggregates two weeks' polling into each week's result. On June 17 it showed the same result as the previous week: 54/46 TPP, with no dip that could be attributed to the previous week's events. Of course next week it might. But where in the Fourth Estate do you see Essential Polls reported? Both Morgan and Essential seem to be personae non gratae within the Fourth Estate. The only time Essential Media Communications gets exposure is when its Director, Peter Lewis, appears on the ABC’s The Drum.

Polls, Newspoll particularly, and to some extent Nielsen Polls and Galaxy Polls, are used as killing machines by those who use them to attack political parties. This is not to imply that the polls are wrong, or unprofessionally conducted, much less rigged. But there seems little doubt that in the hands of journalists they can be, and are used as killing machines aimed at the party on the decline and ipso facto as boosters to the party on the rise. Polls supply the heavy ammunition; journalists fire it at their target. For the contemporary Fourth Estate, this suits their purpose because the polls match the stories they want to write.

What this piece argues is that commercial polls of voting intention dictate the political dialogue by allowing proprietors, editors and journalists to interpret them as they wish, and thereby create the stories they want to disseminate.

But let me address an issue that infuriates journalists. When anyone suggests they are 'making up stories', or that their stories are just ‘a media beat up', they become highly indignant, insist that their stories have real sources, that the information upon which they base their stories is real, neither imagined nor made up, and that they are simply reporting to the public the information they have sourced, which they insist is their sacred duty, as 'the public has the right to know'. So let's be clear, journalists are fed tidbits, journalists do fossick out bits and pieces of information, and journalists do have their 'sources'. That is not in dispute. What is debatable is the quality of the information they solicit or are offered, that is, its validity and its reliability. Sometimes it is of high quality, and enables them to write important articles. There are many examples we can all recall. It is when the information is of doubtful quality or simply wrong that articles derived from it are suspect or disingenuous.

But even when the information is valid and reliable, it is how the journalist evaluates its importance that determines how the story is written. A tiny piece of information, no matter how valid and reliable, does not a major story make, yet that is what the Fourth Estate too often dishes up to us. Corridor whispers, an overheard comment, a story exchanged between journalists at their favourite drinking hole, seem too often to be the basis for a big story, a prediction of major importance. Reflect for a moment on how many times senior journalists have predicted PM Gillard's political demise, how often they have suggested she step down. They still are! The media, becoming desperate as time for a change runs out, is pulling out all the stops to dislodge our PM. This weekend, Andrew Holden, editor of The Age, perhaps miffed that PM Gillard did not fall on her sword after his Nielsen poll last Monday, is now somewhat arrogantly insisting in an editorial that she must stand aside ‘for the sake of the nation’.

How many times have we been told that she will be gone by Christmas - the killing season – or by Easter, or by the time parliament rises, or when the caucus next meets, or when it has its last meeting, or by whatever date the journalist conjures up, and in any year you care to imagine. Yet she is still standing - 'she won't lie down and die'. Maybe she will meet the fate that has been predicted for almost three years now in the three months before election day. But so far predictions have all been wrong. But like stopped clocks that are bound to be right twice a day, journalists continue to hope that eventually they might be right.

Journalists in the Fourth Estate often place too much reliance on unreliable information, on invalid intelligence, on at times deliberately false information fed to them by people with a subterranean political agenda into which they allow themselves to be sucked, and thereby conned. Faulty information would not be so much of a problem to them if they sat on it until it could be checked for its validity and reliability, an exercise good journalists carry out routinely, but instead they take up their megaphones and shout their paltry and sometimes shonky messages for all to hear, and they go on doing this time and again despite them being wrong over and over. And when something really important does actually happen, they often miss it, as they did when they missed Kevin Rudd's removal until almost the last minute, and completely missed Bob Carr's appointment as Foreign Minister.

By the way, we can’t let journalists off ‘scot-free’ on the charge that they don’t make stories up. Reflect on the second half of last week. There were no more polls, and as far as I am aware no comments from Labor that could be mined for flecks of gold, yet Leigh Sales managed to spend most of her Thursday 7.30 interview of Craig Emerson fishing for leadership tidbits; Tony Jones’ Lateline featured an unnecessarily convoluted piece by Tom Iggulden that explored what might happen constitutionally if leadership changed; and on Friday, ABC news picked up on words Kevin Rudd used on Seven’s Sunrise when asked about a potential bid for leadership: ”I don’t believe there are any circumstances in which that would happen”, and wove them into a story that this was a less vehement denial, and therefore significant! Can you believe it? Yes you can. Journalists do make up some stories, and they do ‘beat up’ others. Read what Michelle had to say about the Leigh Sales interview in her blog piece: Dear Leigh Sales. I’m sure many would echo her sentiments.

It is the rush to the megaphone to shout their stories on every medium they can access without proper checking, or simply the rush to shout a story they have made out of nothing, which characterizes far too much political journalism today, and brings it into disrepute. Is it any wonder the public holds journalists in such low regard, and levels at them accusations of poor quality journalism, of 'making stories up', and of 'media beat ups'?

We all know though that there is another reason for the rush to the megaphone. Journalists, fearful about their own jobs, are mindful of the need to please, or at least not seriously upset, their proprietor and editor. They know their political agenda, which for most of the Fourth Estate seems to be the removal of the Gillard Government and the replacement of it with a Coalition government led by Tony Abbott. Every story about leadership destabilization, every story about PM Gillard being replaced, every related adverse event, is grist to the News Limited and Fairfax mills. So megaphone journalism aimed at discrediting PM Gillard and her Government is OK by these media outlets, no matter how unreliable and flimsy it is. It adds inexorably to the poor image of the PM and the Government it has been creating for years.

Let's return to the killing machines, which for News Limited is its heavy weapon, Newspoll, the most lethal killing machine of all.

Try this exercise in your imagination. Reflect on how different political journalism would be if there were no opinion polls. I realize that means exploring a fantasy world that will never become reality, but bear with me.

Ask yourself what journalists would write about leadership without polls results to underpin their stories. It is the results of the polls of voting intention and personal approval, and comparisons of the popularity of potential leaders (Gillard/Rudd and Abbott/Turnbull) that give them the material they require to write about leadership. It is the poll of who would save the most seats for Labor that energises journalist's comments about leadership. When the TPP is going against a party, particularly the one in power, journalists jump on it because, to use the words they use habitually, it 'calls into question' the position of the leader, and ‘renews/fuels/ignites/heightens leadership speculation’. If the leader is less popular than the contender, as has been the case with Julia Gillard versus Kevin Rudd, if the challenger might save more seats, that adds to the speculation. If there were no poll results, there would be no leadership speculation, as indeed is the case between polls, when speculation subsides. But the day the poll comes out, especially if it is Newspoll, which seems to have assumed superior status among the many polls, the media: print, radio and TV is ablaze with strident recitation of the results and the dire implications. It's great copy for journalists, hungry for a scoop.

Without the polls, they would have to undertake real journalism; they would have to seek sources, solicit information from those whose opinion is worthy, check its veracity, double check, analyze what the sources told them, and reach a considered conclusion about the status of the leader in question. That's arduous work; it involves 'working the phones' and 'wearing out boot leather', as their predecessors once did. Poll results obviate this weary toil. Writing up poll results is child's play, and any interpretation can be placed on any result, depending on what story the journalist wants to write. We saw Dennis Shanahan's convolutions in the dying days of the Howard Government, when, no matter how poor the results were for John Howard, Dennis could always find a ray of hope to head his analysis.

There are other polls, carried out privately by pollsters on behalf of political parties and their supporters. These are never reported publically, but are regularly ‘leaked’. The fact that they are not subject to the same methodological scrutiny as commercial polls means that their validity and reliability are not questioned. The fact that those who commission these polls choose to leak them to the media suggests that the leaking is a tactic to advantage one side or disadvantage the other, or both. That alone calls into question their veracity. While some question the validity of commercial polls on the grounds of methodology, for example the use of landlines versus mobile phones, I believe commercial pollsters are proficient and attempt to do their polling professionally, striving for representative samples of sufficient size. On the other hand, private polling, or at least its reporting, is suspect, as is the output from focus groups. I place no store on reports in the Fourth Estate of private polling.

Of course, polls would have lesser influence on political dialogue if Labor members declined to engage in public or private conversation with insistent journalists hungry to extract a morsel they might be able to fashion into a story. Although they know that whatever they say journalists will use it in whatever way they prefer, politicians seem to be unable or unwilling to tell them to get lost. And even if they stay mute, the headline is: ‘X refused to confirm or deny’, or ‘avoided the question’, leaving the news consumer thinking that something suspect is going on.

Some Labor politicians, the Rudd saboteurs, are deliberately obtuse, and repeatedly feed the story of a Rudd revival to eager journalists, all the more so when Kevin Rudd’s popularity comes out much higher with the public than Julia Gillard’s. They are a destructive force that gives journalists the tidbits and rumors, true or otherwise, that they crave, and do so for their own selfish purpose. Some of the others, who pander to the press by responding to questions and then do so incompetently, seem to be plain stupid, unaware of, or careless about the damage they are doing. Fortunately, there are those who give unequivocal messages about leadership such as Wayne Swan, Craig Emerson, Greg Combet, Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek and Peter Garrett, to name just a few. If only the others would emulate them.

So while we can correctly blame the media for the so-called journalism they offer, we need to acknowledge that a few malcontents do feed them bits and pieces from which they construct their stories. What is reprehensible is that most journalists endow such morsels with a credibility they do not deserve, and don’t bother to check their veracity before enthusiastically taking up their megaphones hoping for a scoop.

Stories about poll results have a profound effect over time. While one bad poll result takes its toll, bad result after bad enables journalists to paint a more damaging picture of the party that is lagging – one of a party that is doomed, fated to lose in a landslide, to be reduced to a mere ‘rump’. Add to that the long-standing media narrative that the Gillard Government is ‘the worst government in Australian history’, indeed ‘a bad government getting worse’, that PM Gillard is an incompetent, untrustworthy liar, who makes one mistake after another, that her popularity is sinking inexorably, that she is dragging Labor down to a catastrophic defeat, and you have a vivid picture of a certain loser, who by that account deserves to lose. This image feeds into the next poll and reinforces the negativity. When that poll turns out poorly, the vicious circle continues. Nobody wants to be associated with a loser, so the downward trend is amplified, again and again. This is what so many News Limited journalists want, as do many in Fairfax.

In case you think I’m in a minority in my view that polls are killing machines in the hands of antagonistic journalists, read what Letitia McQuade had to say on Independent Australia in Gillard, polls, porkies and popularity. Read this too in The Conscience Vote: Dear media, write about something else, and Truth Seeker’s Murdoch’s poll machines stuck on spin cycle, and Jeff Sparrow’s piece in The Guardian: What is the Gillard v Rudd civil war all about?.

This piece describes and deplores the malevolent influence that opinion polls of voting intention and popularity have on political discourse in this country. Poll results are ammunition for adversarial journalists to fire at politicians and parties they oppose. They use them ruthlessly to wound and kill their opponents. They use them to reinforce the stories they write, stories too often based on whispers and questionable intelligence; they use them to create a repetitive story of incompetence, of failure, of a fate worse than death at the upcoming election, of a party that must be decisively discarded. Polls are used to manipulate minds in the desired direction; with every negative poll that arrives, the more the voters are persuaded in that direction.

Sadly, amongst all this, policy issues vital to this country’s future, and that of all its citizens, are diluted or simply ignored. How on earth can the voters decide?

In the hands of journalists polls are killing machines, and the most potent of all is News Limited’s Newspoll. And they are killing not just politicians and parties, they are killing the intelligent policy debate every strong democracy needs.


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Ad astra

23/06/2013Folks We have had a comparatively quiet Sunday on leadership speculation. No polls that I’m aware of, and some inconclusive discussion on [i]Insiders[/i]. But we have a media that is waiting breathlessly for the [i]Newspoll[/i] coming out early this week, one that is bound to drive the political dialogue until week’s end when parliament rises, especially if it is bad for Labor. If it is, there will be lots more leadership speculation, some pundits will chance their hand once more at predicting how the week will end, and the more cautious will hedge their bets with a bob each way. Meanwhile Julia Gillard will be getting on with her job and assuring us she is going nowhere; Kevin Rudd will be smiling at every news camera he can find; Rudd saboteurs will be scratching their heads about what next move to make; and journalists will be both sleepless with expectation and restless with apprehension that they might be caught short again and miss a precious scoop. The week will be redolent with drama, speculation, ponderous predictions from the incautious or the overconfident, and a media circus the like of which we seldom see. So tighten your seatbelts, don you crash helmet and fireproof garb, let out your clutch in the [i]Newspoll[/i] grand prix, try to keep in front until the end, and hope the remaining weeks to September will be less frenetic.

David

23/06/2013I trust NewsPoll figures as much as I trust the word of Abbott. Zero comes to mind

Ken

23/06/2013Ad Agree that it is the media that plays up the polls to an extent that is not justified - not sure that I would go so far as to call them "killing machines". The main problem is that the media reacts to each individual poll instead of seeing them as they are - a random sample representing one moment in time. (or as you say, ignore polls that don't fit their preconceived story). Newspoll has not been very good lately. A few polls ago they gave a big boost to Labor. As I said in a previous thread, either the electorate is very volatile (possible) or Newspoll is doing something wrong. Given most other polls aren't jumping about as much as Newspoll, I lean to the latter. Of course, in any random sample, now matter how good, it is possible to end up with a biased sample in a single poll. If the polling is good, those biases should be countered over a number of polls. But it seems to be only the statisticians on the Fifth who take the time to put single polls in their wider context. The information from polls can be very informative. The classic of course being the oft repeated that Australians want more services from Government but don't want higher taxes. In the current climate, although Labor is still unpopular, most of the policies that have been implemented have wide majority support. To my mind that gives hope for September 14 - once people turn their minds to policies there will be a percentage that make the decision that, even if they do not like the PM, they do like what she has done and that may be just enough to get her over the line.

Annie

23/06/2013Enjoyed your article very much. I knew polls were weapons of mass destruction but you've clarified why. Thank you

LittleLoudGuy

23/06/2013Brilliant piece Ad. You have accurately described the polls as a weapon. They are not used to inform, they are used to direct what happens. Journalist's obsession with them is just a lazy way to get a headline.

Gordonwa

23/06/2013Another well-reasoned, thoughtful and articulate article Ad! The speculation reminds me of Doomsday cults examining the entrails and predicting the end of the world. When the world stubbornly refuses to end at the appointed time they make some excuse and entice their disciples with yet another prediction for some future catastrophic date. When all the dust and smoke clears at the end of next week and our Prime Minister is still standing tall we should be entitled to an apology by the MSM/ABC, but, like you, I doubt we will receive one. The MSM/ABC are now players in the political game rather than dispassionate reporters. As such they should declare their political interest and funding and they should be subject to scrutiny by the Australian Electoral Commission, if not the ACCC and ASCIC. But of course, they would then scream about 'Press Freedom'. Australian society is ill-served by the concentration of media ownership, especially News Ltd's 70% control which is dragging all of the media, including the ABC, to the right. The same thing happened in the US when Murdoch launched his Fox News with disastrous consequences for 'objective' reporting. Many surveys have shown that people who get most of their 'news' from Fox are more likely to believe lies.

Pikiranku

23/06/2013Hello Ad and all. We're back from another short (computerless) holiday, but I see that you've all been as active as ever while we were away. It's taken me an entire afternoon to catch up on all the commentary! Another excellent post, Ad. So many of the current concerns come back to the lack of professionalism among our journalists. If they were doing their job efficiently and intelligently, seeking answers to the questions we REALLY want asked, instead of dumbing down the entire political discourse in this country, our democracy would function a whole lot better. As for the polls, once again journos play a major part,giving them a credence they don't necessarily deserve. Too often polls have proven to be totally misleading when election time comes around (Remember how Kennett was a shoe-in before he lost to Bracks? Remember how Mitt Romney had the presidency in the bag? The recent general election in British Columbia is another example where the polls consistently showed a very different result from the final election figures). So why does the MSM embrace these figures here as though they were gospel? It's easy to believe they have an agenda. Particularly when, as you pointed out, they're so selective about the results they choose to publicise and the ones they choose to ignore. Last week, while we were away, there were some poll results running across the bottom of the screen on ABC24. There were 3 items: one announcing that the ALP's primary vote had dropped to 29%, another showing how much more popular Rudd was than Gillard, and the third related to the unpopularity of Abbott (32%) compared with Turnbull (60 something). At least, those were the items running across the screen in the morning. By afternoon the third item had disappeared, though the two which were unfavourable to JG/Labor remained. And those two were still there the following day, but the third item had vanished without trace. Coincidence? Mere chance? I don't think so.

Gravel

23/06/2013Ad Astra You are correct in your writing. It is a miracle that Labor polls as high as it does with all the complete rubbish in the msm, so we do know there are people out there who do care about policies. This will be the first election in a long time where it will be proven which is more important, policies or popularity. As many other have said, our politics is being report and treated like a reality tv show. We have a little over three months to find out how brainwashed the public is.

Patriciawa

23/06/2013 Thank you for another fine article which so clearly hones in on the way the Australian public are being brainwashed by our media today. Thank you too for the link to Michelle's site where she expressed so well the frustrations of so many of us who watched that Leigh Sales 7.30 interrogation of Craig Emerson. I found the comments on her article very interesting and one in particular expressed a thought that occurs often to me recently when I read and watch main stream media news interviews. I think that Rupert Murdoch's seventy per cent control of our print media has not given him the results he wants - ie Julia Gillard and her very effective progressive government out and the NBN Co in particular destroyed. Tony Abbott is needing far more help if he is to occupy the Lodge and replace the NBN with Fraudband. One senses an external controlling hand influencing editorial slant and panel selections determined to bring her down. I am surprised we have not read this sort of comment more often [quote]Anonymous June 21, 2013 at 7:04 PM I suspect Leigh and many of her colleagues are having their incomes supplemented by people who are not their stated employers.[/quote] http://mhsts.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/dear-leigh-sales.html

Gordonwa

23/06/2013In WA we only have one daily paper, The West Australian', which is now linked to Channel 7. I only buy the weekend 'West' because it has the TV guide for the coming week. In a casual skimming of the political news I noticed 2 errors which reflected badly on Labor but should have reflected on the quality of the reporting (or lack thereof). On page 9 in an article titled 'Rudd worth millions to Labor' it states: 'Labor is languishing at 29 percent in primary support, according to the latest opinion polls.' Note the use of the plural 'polls'. The Nielsen poll reported 29 percent, the Morgan and Essential polls were higher but these were not considered for this article. Since when did one poll become polls? Lazy reporting or deliberate bias? The second article on page 18 was entitled: 'Lawrence warns of future class divide'. Former WA Premier Dr Carmen Lawrence was urging Premier Barnett to sign up to Gonski. The paper stated: 'Only NSW and the ACT have signed up for the reforms.' They must have missed the news that South Australia signed up last week! Still, one shouldn't be too hard on the 'West' as there is a 2 hour time difference between here and the Eastern seaboard. When it's 6.00pm in Sydney it's 1955 in Perth. Curiously, before I can post this I have to input the reCaptcha words to stop spams and the words are: liblame community. That must mean something!

Sir Ian Crisp

23/06/2013Thank you Ad for another thought-provoking, controversial essay. I would like to create my very own bit of controversy by pointing the finger of blame for the ALP’s bad poll numbers at a serial pest by the name of Anthony Abbott. Just how he manipulates the polls is a science that is not well understood and I call on the well resourced and well staffed (at last count 378 investigators) TPS’s ‘Abbott Investigation Unit’ (AIU), to conduct a thoroughgoing, no-holds-barred, top level, priority enquiry into this sordid affair. Abbott: you have been warned.

Goodie

23/06/2013Great reading, thankyou so much (again). I think your description is pretty apt. The restless breathless awaiting polls. Meanwhile one of the best prime ministers australia has ever had will be taking care of business.Which she does very well.

Catching up

23/06/2013and Astra, the PM, as for is it now 42 times, will be still standing. The PM by the end of the week, will have cleared most of the deck, to allow her to be able to focus on serious campaigning. Of course thee is still some of Gonski to mop up, and the visit to Indonesia in the first week of July, should give a clear view of where Labor stands on the refugee question. I refuse to believe this PM has been sitting on her backside, doing nothing in this regard. One, it would be wrong for her to do so, Two, it is one she needs to have strong policy in. Because of the big numbers of undecided and the noise from the Rudd undermining coming to an end, it would not surprise me to see those polls turn quickly about. It would surprise me, if they went the way of Abbott. I do not have a crystal ball, and could just as easy, be wrong. One can hope. Makes more sense, that the PM handing over to Rudd. Good article. As we all know, one needs to know the methodology of any poll and the ability to decipher it. One also needs to remind ones self, they only measure what people I suspect, when we have so many, so often, they could be feeding off one another. Expect to see more academic work done, on how polls have been used over the last three or four years. Also, I suspect there is a lot of push and other dubious polling going on.

Ad astra

23/06/2013David I understand your sentiments. Ken I hope you are right and that: [i]“…once people turn their minds to policies there will be a percentage that make the decision that, even if they do not like the PM, they do like what she has done and that may be just enough to get her over the line.”[/i] Annie If you haven’t been here before, welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i] family and thank you for your kind remarks. Do come again. LittleLoudGuy Welcome to you too to [i]The Political Sword[/i] family and thank you too for your kind remarks. Do come again. Gordonwa Thank you for your complimentary remarks. I have made the correction about which you emailed me. I believe you are right: “[i]When all the dust and smoke clears at the end of next week and our Prime Minister is still standing tall we should be entitled to an apology by the MSM/ABC, but, like you, I doubt we will receive one.”[/i] [i]Morgan[/i] and [i]Essential[/i] get virtually no coverage in the MSM. Why? I think we know. Pikiranku Thank you for your kind remarks. What you recount in your last paragraph is interesting, perhaps pointing to ABC bias. Gravel Thank you for your comment. You are right: “[i]We have a little over three months to find out how brainwashed the public is.[/i]” Patriciawa Michelle’s article was vey powerful. Goodie Welcome to you too to [i]The Political Sword[/i] family and thank you for your thoughtful remarks. Do come again. I like your Gravatar. Catching up You are to be commended for keeping up with how many times JG’s political demise has been predicted. Thank you for your remarks.

Catching up

23/06/2013Read the figure somewhere else. Cannot remember. Wherever it was, know they deserve the credit for the work, not me.

Tom of Melboune

23/06/2013If only Ad Astra was in charge of polling, then we’d get serious questions, framed in such a way to provide real answers!! Remember when Ad Astra thought political polling questions on the economy should be framed like this- [i]”The government has used its stimulus to steer the economy away from recession, and has provided us with one of the world’s strongest. The opposition opposed the stimulus. Which party provides you with confidence in running the economy?”[/i] [b]Ad Astra seriously proposed the above!![/b] and he still takes himself seriously when commenting on opinion polls! At the time Ad Astra provided his insight into polling questions, I suggested that he frame similar ones about, foreign policy, asylums seekers, health, education, industry policy. He must have been too busy.

Truth Seeker

23/06/2013Ad, you know how I feel about the polls, and you know how much I enjoy and appreciate your fine articles, so all I need to add is well said, and thanks for referencing and linking my post :-) You are an inspiration to us all (barring a couple of exceptions) and your efforts on providing interesting and thought provoking pieces makes TPS the great site that it is, so thanks :-) Cheers :-) :-)

DoodlePoodle

23/06/2013Polls who needs them - It's like the boy who called wolf!! They have predicted Julia's demise and change of leadership so many times without success that really no-one is taking any notice and even they themselves don't really believe it. The panel on insiders this morning all thought that Julia would still be there come the end of the week. For those who think "[i]We have a little over three months to find out how brainwashed the public is[/i],” be of good cheer there is now less than 12 weeks to go. I like the way that the Government are using QT to get there policies across to those who are watching. The LNP are really wasting all of their time in their ridiculous repetitive questions which the Government are able to turn into yet more opportunity to push their own wagon. We belong to a me, me, me society and I believe that when the voting public compare the policies they will vote ALP.

guddy

23/06/2013Steve Conroy was asked by Paul Kelly about Kevin Rudd being more popular than Julia Gillard. Conroys answer was that Turnbull was more popular than Abbott, Kellys response we will leave the liberal party alone as we are talking about the labour party. Conroy performance was super. I often read in other blogs that if this election is such a forgone conclusion why are the libs and media making so much noise? Their day is coming and I don't think they are looking forward to it. There is a groundswell out there and it's looking better.

Political Animal

23/06/2013Polls related to media organisations (Galaxy, Nielsen & Newspoll) can no longer be trusted, too much agenda setting behind them

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23/06/2013guddy, Political Animal Welcome to both of you to [i]The Political Sword[/i] family, and thank you for your comments. Do come again. guddy, Paul Kelly is pursuing Julia Gillard's scalp, and wants no scrutiny of Tony Abbott because he knows what's under the surface. Certainly Political Animal the organizations behind those polling organisations have an agenda. I trust though that the pollsters would refuse to be manipulated by them.

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23/06/2013Truth Seeker Thank you for you very complimentary remarks. The day of reckoning is coming for the pollsters. Let's see if they can do better than they did in the recent US Presidential elections. Doodle Poodle Even the so-called pundits can't be certain about what will happen this week, so they are hedging their bets. Time will tell how close the polls are to the reality of the election. I'm calling it a day.

Graeme

23/06/2013The Polls are right , the sooner this phoney P.M. & Useless Government get thrown out of Office the better this Country will be . Sept 14 Can,t come quick enough !!!

DMW

23/06/2013Today's episode of [b]Rear Vision [/b] on Radio National was [b]Political polling in the 21st century: hard science or the emperor’s new clothes?[/b] After hearing some grabs of variations on [i]today's opinion poll [/i] the presenter, Annabelle Quince, opened with these words: [i]Listening to the coverage of Federal politics over the past few days you'd be forgiven for thinking that politicians and journalists had abandoned policy issues altogether. All we ever seem to hear, read or watch is the reporting of opinion polls and it's not just the ABC all media increasingly focus on opinion polls and in particular those polls that rate the popularity of the party leaders or their challengers.[/i] What follows over the next 28 minutes or so is a very interesting potted history of political polling, methodoligies and how polling has changed over the last 40 to 50 years. There are some interesting bits on how various organisations have used, and misused, polling and focus groups. Also, in case you didn't know, how opinion polling was first used to topple a leader by the ALP in the Hayden/Hawke 'overthrow'. It was worth a listen and you can find it here: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/political-opinion-polls/4748882 Disclosure: My father was part of the team that set up the Morgan Poll and I have owned a company that conducted market research but not political polling.

nasking

24/06/2013 ANY LABOR PARLIAMENTARY MEMBERS WHO FALL FOR THE NEWSPOLL CRAP, OR ANY OTHER CORPORATE POLL FOR THAT MATTER, ARE PERMITTING THEMSELVES TO BE DUPED. [b]HOLD STEADY[/b]. THERE IS AN OLD SAYING: [b]FATIGUE MAKES COWARDS OF US ALL[/b] PLENTY OF THE GILLARD HATERS IN THE MSM DRIVEN BY FEAR AND DESPERATION ARE TRYING TO WEAR THE ALP AND ITS SUPPORTERS DOWN... MAKE THEM EXTREMELY FATIGUED...SCARED...COWARDLY...HOPING THEY WILL CONVINCE THE ALPers TO CUT THEIR LEADER'S THROAT...REPLACE HER WITH A MAN MORE COMPLIANT...MORE PALATABLE FOR THE MEDIA AND OTHER CORPORATE BARONS. [b]HOLD STEADY.[/b] SLEEP...IGNORE THE POLLS...AND [b]WAKE REFRESHED EACH NEW DAY[/b]... PREPARED TO [b]WIN[/b]. AGAINST A [b]PREDICTABLE ENEMY.[/b] N'

nasking

24/06/2013 [b]Poll results are ammunition for adversarial journalists to fire at politicians and parties they oppose[/b] INDEED. ANOTHER TOP POST. AD, THEY ALSO USE POLLS TO [b]DIVIDE AND CONQUER.[/b] THEY WILL FIND IT MUCH HARDER TO BRING DOWN [b]A UNITED PARTY UNDER GILLARD[/b]. IN OLDEN DAYS DESPERATE OPPONENTS WOULD TRY TO BUY OFF AND TURN INFLUENTIAL CHARACTERS IN A SUCCESSFUL ARMY... SAID TRAITORS COULD DO ENORMOUS DAMAGE... THE ENEMY INFILTRATORS WOULD ALSO USE FALSE INFORMATION, SPREAD MALICIOUS GOSSIP AMONGST THE RANKS, THE CAMP, TO TRY AND UNDERMINE CONFIDENCE, MORALE AND UNITY...TRY AND UNDERMINE THE LEADERSHIP... AND SOMETIMES THE ENEMY WOULD USE LIES AND PROPAGANDA TO TRY AND TURN THE POPULACE...CONVINCE THEM NOT TO JOIN, SUPPORT NOR TRUST THE SUCCESSFUL ARMY. THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ARMY LEADERS KNEW THIS...KNEW HOW TO MOTIVATE THEIR TROOPS...PUSHBACK AGAINST THE LIES AND GOSSIP...OUT THE TRAITORS...WIN BACK THEIR SUPPORT... DISPOSE OF THE OTHERS... USE SIMILAR TACTICS AS THE ENEMY TO DIVIDE THEM... AND CRUSH THEM... BY USING MORE INNOVATIVE, PASSIONATE, CRAFTIER...SOMETIMES RUTHLESS METHODS... BUT...TREATING THE PEOPLE IN EACH LIBERATED TOWN, COMMUNITY WITH RESPECT...COMPASSION... PROVIDING WHAT THEY NEEDED...IF POSSIBLE... AND WINNING OVER THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS. I AM RELISHING THE FIGHT THIS WEEK...[b]SHARPENING MY CLAWS[/b]. [b]AND MIND.[/b] :D N'

TalkTurkey

24/06/2013Pollsters: The Irresponsible in fabrication of the Incredible!

TalkTurkey

24/06/2013Ed Snowden Ed Snowden Ed Snowden he steal State secrets and run Venezuela! HEY! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C-DShN82mc …

lyn

24/06/2013Today’s Links Civility and its absence by @awelder For seven years I have given Anthony John Abbott nothing but what he deserves, and this will not let up until his neglected gravestone reeks of stale urine and dead weeds http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/civility-and-its-absence.html Big money versus good government by @ngungun The importance of Australia’s September election is beyond any in the nation’s history. The power of money has strangled good national government before. It can also deny us the full power of the NBN at the very time when we will most need its maximum capabilities. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/big-money-versus-good-government/ Disgusting hubris & hypocrisy from The Age by @LittleLoudGuy They don't like Julia Gillard because she is a strong independent woman who will not be controlled. They know that with each passing day a leadership change is less and less likely. Someone is desperate for it to be this blatant. http://littleloudguy.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/disgusting-hubris-hypocrisy-from-age.html An open letter by @NUSWomens Grow up and stop viewing anything the Government does for women is not directly related to the fact that we have a women as Prime Minister. http://nuswomens.wordpress.com/author/nuswomens/ What the Age should have said by @KayRollison make it their business relentlessly to attack the government, in particular the Prime Minister, and they offer no criticism of the opposition. This paper thinks the media should look at the facts, and looking at the facts, it is easy to conclude that an Abbot-led government would be a disaster. http://theaimn.com/2013/06/23/what-the-age-should-have-said/ An Open Letter to Mike Carlton by @Vic_Rollison the column you published yesterday, on the same topic as The Age’s editorial, was, I’m sorry to say, a shocker. Have you ever heard the phrase: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result? Many of your readers might have forgotten that you wrote on this very same subject – http://victoriarollison.com/2013/06/23/an-open-letter-to-mike-carlton/ Kieran Fitzgerald @kjob85 Twitlonger time for Andrew Holden to stand aside as editor-in-chief of the Age, so that fact-based, information-driven democratic debate can flourish once again. Mr Holden should do so in the interests of The Age, in the interests of Victoria and, most importantly, in the interests of democracy. http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rkur30 Whither dignity in an age of political hate by @LarvatusProdeo We are talking about hate, across a broad gradient of increasingly inappropriate shades, from braindead chit-chat about “rangas” to a high profile radio announcer asking the Prime Minister if her long-term partner is gay http://larvatusprodeo.net/archives/2013/06/whither-dignity-in-an-age-of-political-hate/ For the sake of the nation, the media should do its job by @crazyjane13 The Age apparently wants its readers to see it as a victim, shaking its head sorrowfully. ‘We would give you substantial policy debate. We want to discuss real issues, and get to the heart of things. If only, if only, we could do that. It’s not our fault. It’s all because of Gillard. If she was gone, everything would be better’ http://consciencevote.com.au/2013/06/22/for-the-sake-of-the-nation-the-media-should-do-its-job/ Caught in its own trap by @btckr Because of angry public reaction to The Age editorial, the newspaper had to justify its position today. The Editor-in-Chief, Andrew Holden, appeared in a video interview in the Political section of The Sunday Age, which was reported on by Urban Affairs Reporter Leesha McKenny http://truthinmediaresourcecentre.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/caught-in-its-own-trap/ Independence in the eye of The Age by David Griffiths self-serving deceitful analysis that disregards the role of The Age journalists in focusing on leadership and not reporting the policy achievements of the Federal Labor Government and pursuing a misogynist agenda. No-one forced The Age to focus on leadership http://www.australiasmassmedia.com/2013/06/22/independence-in-the-eye-of-the-age/ Ms Gillard should stand aside, we have Tony Abbott, the thinking woman’s PM by @turnleft2013 Balance, in the media, what does that mean? Both sides (and there are only two sides, Dualism: right/wrong, black/white, left/right, male/female, there are no shades of grey) as the same as each other. http://turnleft2013.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/ms-gillard-should-stand-aside-we-have-tony-abbott-the-thinking-womans-pm/ Petition Murdoch Fairfax, ABC, SBS & all other Australian Media Outlets by @FairMediaAllian The editorial published in The Age on Saturday, June 22 calling on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to step down, has spurred many of us to express our anger and dismay at the way the mainstream media are manipulating the public. http://fairmediaalliance.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/petition-murdoch-fairfax-abc-sbs-and-all-other-australian-media-outlets/ How low can Murdoch go? by @YosefAlbric Murdoch, have you ever heard of policy? Is your news empire capable of reporting anything other than non-news opinion setups that displays nothing http://yosefalbric.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/how-low-can-murdoch-go/ The Ord River: the unlucky horse shoe in the Coalition’s northern development by @Mothincarnate water is a massive problem. One critic told me about pumping water – but that is a commitment. If one is planning to move hundreds of thousands of people to the north, that is a massive, ongoing, commitment to keep the community hydrated. It is terribly hot, regardless if it is dry or monsoonal, http://newanthropocene.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/the-ord-river-the-unlucky-horse-shoe-in-the-coalitions-northern-development/ Renewable energy RUNS ON JOBS, not fossil fuel by @james00000001 Yes, rescinding the carbon tax won’t bring you wealth, or even save money, and it WON’T MAKE AUSTRALIA MORE COMPETITIVE. It will throw away tens of thousands of new energy jobs, and will further damage the already struggling manufacturing industry. http://james00000001.wordpress.com/ 2/3 Australian don’t want carbon price scrapped, or why debate on the carbon price is set to intensify by @WTDeniers the public don’t understand nor want the Direct Action Plan proposed by the LNP.Nor does it seem they willing to give control of the Senate to Abbott. However, the Coalition have locked themselves into silly “blood oath” giving themselves little to move. http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/23-australian-dont-want-carbon-price-scrapped-or- The Faceless Men of the Liberal Party by By Father Kevin Lee@FrancieJones Father Percy was directly appointed by Cardinal George Pell and is a personal friend of Tony Abbott. If Opus Dei and extreme right wing conservatives are setting the agenda for the Liberal Party, then the Australian people need to know who the Liberal Party is made up of before they elect them into government. http://francesjones.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/the-faceless-men-of-the-liberal-party/ Politicians, media and feminists beware: Our youth are paying attention by @LacyMartin @YaThinkN I think ‘professional feminists’ need to take a step back sometimes and look through the eyes of the passionate and naive, as opposed to their highly educated and academic selves. http://nofibs.com.au/2013/06/23/politicians-media-feminists-beware-our-youth-pay-more-atte This NBN Or That NBN? by @mwyres Turnbull often cites the UK FTTN broadband model as “the right way” to do it. As shown in the above graph – (from Ofcom, the UK’s “independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries”) – if we follow that model, everyone has to be within about 500 metres of a node, and that equates to a lot of nodes. http://michaelwyres.com/2013/06/this-nbn-or-that-nbn/ The NBN: worth voting for By @MigloMT fib that this is a $90 billion spend or even a spend at all. This has a rate of return on investment to the taxpayer. It is an investment, not a spend. It is not a luxury item; it is an essential service for the future of this country. If we do not do it, we are going to have congestion on our internet in this country like we have never seen before. http://theaimn.com/2013/06/22/the-nbn-worth-voting-for/ Unions raise doubts over Telstra's copper network; workers using plastic bags to waterproof cables By Jake Sturmer and Johanna McDiarmid The Government's NBN plan will almost completely replace the copper and deliver services over a new optic cable right to the home.The Coalition wants to run fibre-to-street hubs and then use the existing copper wires for the final link. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-23/telstras-copper-network-in-a-state-of-disrepair-say-unions/4774342 Today’s Front Pages Australian Newspaper Front Pages for 24 June 2013 http://www.thepaperboy.com/australia/front-pages.cfm News headlines http://www.hotheadlines.com.au/

Ad astra

24/06/2013LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

Austin 3:16

24/06/2013Oddly enough I don't think most media institutions understand polls particularly well even those that commission them. A lot of the movement within polls is within the margin of error for that poll. As an example much is being made of Labor's primary voting dipping under 30% in today's Newspoll. That Newspoll shows Labor's primary at 29% - with a margin of error at +- 3%. It's a one point difference from the last poll. To make an issue out of a one point difference in a poll that has +-3 points error is ridiculous. The latest Galaxy Poll in Queensland showed both Premier Newman and his government had negative approval ratings. Yet the result also showed strong 2pp numbers for the LNP in Qld. You'd think figures like that would show an unpopular government with an ineffective opposition. Yet how did the Courier Mail report it - "Campbell Newman boosts LNP popularity.... " The article is not one which could be reasonably supported by the poll that generated it.

bob macalba

24/06/2013POLLS AND TROLLS....BOTH USELESS AND FULL OF POOP Graeme.. you must be new here, so to you i say 'thats nice' cheers

direct current

24/06/2013Excellent article, you tell it like it is. I have lost all respect for anything I see, hear or read on Main Scream Media. I no longer believe anything and have stopped listening,to all of them. I do wonder if the media knows the bed they are making for themselves? How long do they think they can carry on as they have been doing and how long do they think it will take for us to reengage with them and believe anything they say?? I watched, with interest, Andrew Holden trying to justify THAT editorial - "responsible newspaper" don't make me laugh!! Nasking, I'm sharpening my claws and mind too. I would like to see the ALP doing the following- 1- At every interview they should inquire when Mr Abbott will agree to a televised debate with the Prime Minister. Or is he too gutless? 2- Push hard on the Ashby affair. Tell the judges that they have until the end of the day to release the judgement and then let the AFP know they had darn well better start investigating. This travesty of treason must be brought to light BEFORE the election! 3- When rabid journalists start asking their inane questions, look them in the eye, politely, tell they are full of shite and leave.

Austin 3:16

24/06/2013Hey Sir Ian, I gotta admit I'm also curious as to how those polls are being manipulated.

TalkTurkey

24/06/2013Gillard responds to Murdoch Palmer Reinhardt and Abbott in the clearest terms pic.twitter.com/2gPrdB4RmQ i am a river to my people. “@annetreasure: Hahahhahahaa it’s glorious RT @courteneyh: @annetreasure http://resources1.news.com.au/images/2012/02/27/1226282/689361-kevin-rudd-screen-grab.jpg …”

TalkTurkey

24/06/2013Don't know why that first link didn't work. This is a repeat, will it work? pic.twitter.com/2gPrdB4RmQ

nasking

24/06/2013 ALSO SOUNDS LIKE TONY ABBOTT, HIS SO CALLED LIBERALS AND THEIR SHOCK JOCK, CHANNEL NINE, SKY NEWS, CORPORATE NEWSPAPER SUPPORTERS... REPEATED SLOGANS...DISTORTED TRUTH: Mein Kampf contains the blueprint of later Nazi propaganda efforts. As to the [b]methods to be employed[/b], he explains: "[b]Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively[/b] and, in so far as it is favourable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet [b]it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side. (...) [/b] The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted.. [b]Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. [/b] [b]These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward. (...) [/b] Every change that is made in the subject of a propagandist message must always emphasize the same conclusion. [b]The leading slogan must of course be illustrated in many ways and from several angles, but in the end one must always return to the assertion of the same formula."[/b] WIKIPEDIA ABBOTT HAS LEARNT FROM THE MURDOCH EMPIRE AND THE JOHN SINGLETON LOT OF SHOCK JOCKS ETC... THEY KNEW HOW EFFECTIVE THIS KIND OF PROPAGANDA COULD BE...ALSO USED BY SO MANY AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENTS BEFORE THEY TOOK OVER... AND SADLY SO MANY DESPERATE POLITICAL PARTIES OVER THE DECADES... BUT ABBOTT IS ONE OF THE MOST COMPULSIVE USERS OF THIS STYLE...ADDICTED... BUT NOT SURPRISING CONSIDERING HE WORKED FOR MURDOCH WHEN YOUNGER... AND JOHN HOWARD OCCASIONALLY USED SIMILAR TACTICS. IT CERTAINLY MAKES YOU QUESTION THE MENTALITY AND MOTIVES OF TONY ABBOTT... AND THE LIKES OF CHRISTOPHER PYNE... AND THE SHOCK JOCKS... AND MURDOCH HIMSELF... ALL OBSESSED WITH PROSECUTING FRAUD ON THE PUBLIC... AND PROSECUTING A WAR ON TERROR...A WAR ON DRUGS...A WAR ON PUBLIC EDUCATION...A WAR ON THOSE NOT CHRISTIAN ENUFF...A WAR ON ASYLUM SEEKERS... A WAR ON OUR PM...JULIA GILLARD. N'

TalkTurkey

24/06/2013Well THIS then! https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BNe6VQuCUAE4Ost.jpg:large

nasking

24/06/2013 TT @ June 24. 2013 10:17 AM TOP PIC OF THE PM...VERY APT. :D N'

nasking

24/06/2013 [b]I would like to see the ALP doing the following- 1- At every interview they should inquire when Mr Abbott will agree to a televised debate with the Prime Minister. Or is he too gutless?[/b] direct current, INDEED. BUT SADLY, THE DEBATE MODERATORS ARE OFT BIASED CHARACTERS LIKE CHRIS UHLMAN... OR MURDOCH'S SKY NEWS TYPES LIKE DAVID SPEERS AND KIERAN GILBERT... FURTHERMORE, CHANNEL NINE ETC USE THE WORM... THIS CAN BE EASILY MANIPULATED... AND THE QUESTIONS USED TO UNDERMINE GILLARD BY FOCUSING ON BOAT PEOPLE AND OTHER ISSUES THAT BENEFIT ABBOTT... FURTHERMORE, EVEN IF GILLARD DOES WELL...CAN WE TRUST THE POST-DEBATE ANALYSIS BY THE USUAL SUSPECTS? HOW'MANY GREAT DEBATE PERFORMANCES IN THE USA HAVE BEEN SPUN TO LOOK AVERAGE...LOOK FEEBLE...BY THE LIKES OF FOX NEWS? CAN THE AUDIENCE VOTE BE TRUSTED. WE HAVE A CORPORATE MEDIA HERE THAT ARE DESPERATE TO DESTROY JULIA GILLARD... SHE HAS FEW ALLIES IN THIS SECTOR. N'

Michael

24/06/2013Some of the shorter responses dive into cloud cuckoo land, but at least the Fairfax Press have had the (choose your own metaphor) to publish here http://www.theage.com.au/national/letters/gillards-inadequacies-only-part-of-the-problem-20130623-2oqpn.html comment that mostly lambasts the ludicrous 'go now Gillard' editorial. I reckon Julia Gillard will cream Tony Abbott in a fairly reported election campaign. And yes, I see the logical fallacy in that sentence. AND the challenge thrown down to the mainstream press.

bob macalba

24/06/2013Its all good folks, now the trolls are calling out for each other, quack quack quack sir ian quack quack quack,..

Tom of Melboune

24/06/2013Yes, it’s dreadful that the opinion polls are reflecting the mood of the electorate, and showing that Gillard is [b[]TOXIC[/b] with the voters. Blame - 1 The media 2 Gina 3 Rupert 4 Abbott …but let’s not contemplate that voters are actually intelligent enough to recognise a lying, incompetent politician when they see one.

Catching up

24/06/2013The latest poll tells us, that nothing much has changed. It suggests to me, that people are not listening to politics, or more so, to the media. Listening to ABC talk back. People are sick of both polls and leadership talk. They are just not interested. What they are revealing, is that many believe the MRRT should be more, and that they want NBN to stay. Both centre points of Abbott's attacks. Opinions as to who s the better managers in all political areas, at the end of the day, are subjective views. Mentioning things like NBN, CEF, Gonski and NDIS, are more objective. It is a matter of how they affect each person. Do parents really want to lose that schools kid allowance, paid twice a year. There are many other little benefits, that mean a great deal to family budget, that Abbott says will go. Another at the end of the day, will be how many really believe that Abbott can turn back those boats. If not, will we want to see things made harder for these people. The truth is that there are push factors, that are rapidly growing, with the unrest in the middle east. No sign of any abatement is seen. This week, we will see if there is any truth that the government is divided within itself, or that a small number of malcontents, are stirring up hate and revenge, in their inability to support this PM. It will be interesting to see, if Mr. Rudd even has the 30 odd votes needed to cause a spill. Mr. Rudd does have the right to challenge, if that is his wish. I do not agree, he has the right to seek revenge. I suspect not. Not even sure if Rudd cares either way. He is achieving what he set out to do, three years ago. I have learnt one thing in life, those who seek revenge, do not prosper, in the long run. If the party replaces the PM with Rudd, or anyone else for that matter, they do not deserve to win.

Ad astra

24/06/2013Folks The [i]Newspoll[/i] has come, a day earlier than is often the case, and it shows that nothing much has changed since the last one three weeks ago. This is how [i]Poll Bludger[/i] reported the result: “[i]An eagerly awaited Newspoll has both parties down on the primary vote and little change to two-party preferred. Headline grabber: Labor primary vote below 30%. “The Australian’s Troy Bramston tweets that Newspoll has the Coalition leading 57-43, down from 58-42 last time. However, the poll has Labor’s primary vote below 30% for the first time this year, down one to 29%, with the Coalition also down a point to 48% and the Greens steady on 9%. Tony Abbott’s lead as preferred prime minister has reached a new peak of 45-33, up from 43-35 at the last poll three weeks ago, but personal ratings are little changed: Julia Gillard is steady at 28% approval and 62% disapproval, while Abbott is down one to 36% and steady at 53%.”[/i] Therefore the facts are: [b]BOTH Labor and the Coalition have dropped one point in their primary vote to 29% and 48% respectively. The TPP has improved for Labor from 58-42 last time, to 57-43 this time. Julia Gillard’s approval is steady at 28% approval and 62% disapproval. Tony Abbott’s approval is down one to 36% and disapproval steady at 53%. Tony Abbott is preferred PM at 45-33, an improvement on the last figure of 43-35. All changes are within the poll’s margin of error - plus or minus 3 percent.[/b] Although the news bulletins tell us that the results are within the poll’s margin of error, which tells us that variations within that range are statistically meaningless, ABC news leads off with: [i]“Today’s Newspoll emphasizes its dire position with Labor’s primary vote down to 29%, the lowest this year,…”.[/i]” [b]This illustrates the point I made in this piece that “[i]…whatever happens this coming week with Newspoll, the result will be painted as bad for Labor…”[/i][/b] Acknowledging that statistically all these changes mean nothing at all, a journalist, wanting to ignore that statistical reality and give Labor a boost, could have written headlines such as: [i]‘Labor narrows the Coalition’s lead’, or ‘Tony Abbott’s approval drops’, or ‘Julia Gillard holds her approval despite internal party discord’, or ‘Tony Abbott only marginally improves position as preferred prime minister’.[/i] [b]Yet the media headlines are all negative for Labor.[/b] While it would be silly to paint any sort of rosy picture for Labor from these results, my point is simply that by cherry picking from the results it is possible to write an article that ‘proves’ that the changes from the last [i]Newspoll[/i] to this one are favourable to the Coalition, or conversely are favourable to Labor. Which illustrates vividly my assertion: “[i]Writing up poll results is child's play, and any interpretation can be placed on any result, depending on what story the journalist wants to write.”[/i] That is exactly what has happened today. Journalists are running true to form; placing a bet on what they will write would be a winner every time. The statistical facts are that although the overall results are unfavourable to Labor, nothing has changed from three weeks ago. Journalists might legitimately make a story that Labor’s position has not improved, or use the Shanahan phrase that it is ‘flat-lining’, but it has no entitlement to make anything at all out of the [b]changes[/b] from three weeks ago. Yet, this is what they do. Is this because they are ignorant of basic statistical concepts, or is it because the want to write stories adverse to Labor? Likely it is both.

Tom of Melboune

24/06/2013Ad Astra laments – [i] “…whatever happens this coming week with Newspoll, the result will be painted as bad for Labor…”[/i] Bizarre, the best that can be said is that the ALP is in for annihilation, obliteration, a flogging. Gillard is deeply unpopular and leads a hopelessly divided party. She won the leadership by claiming the government had “lost its way” But Ad Astra thinks there are some positives in all this!!? Ad Astra is better at penning loaded poll questions than political commentary.

Ad astra

24/06/2013direct current Welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i] family. Thank you for your kind remarks and for your thoughtful comment. Do come again. I agree with your suggestions for the ALP. nasking Thank you for your complimentary remarks and the several thoughtful contributions you have made to this piece. [b]I AM RELISHING THE FIGHT THIS WEEK...SHARPENING MY CLAWS.
 AND MIND.[/b] Great, stirring, encouraging! DMW Thank you for your reference to polling, so relevant to this piece. As soon as I am back on full ADSL (I’m on dial-up at present), I’ll listen to the ABC item. bob macalba It looks like ToM has got a mate in Graeme. Austin 3:16 I agree with the points you make at 8.22 AM. Michael That was a more sensible editorial, perhaps in response to the many strident letters of protest at the editorial in [i]The Saturday Age[/i], all worth reading. I’m surprised they published them. Thank you for the link. TT What a delightful photo of a fiesty Julia! Abbott deserves ‘the bird’ from her every day. She gives it orally, but the gesture is just what this nasty man needs. Catching up I agree with what you wrote at 11.45 AM.

lyn

24/06/2013 Good Morning Ad, Thankyou for another magnificent article, you are amazing, [quote]Newspoll: The Killing Machine [/quote] You said “[quote]Dennis Shanahan will be emboldened to predict an even greater electoral disaster for Labor, Paul Kelly will be more pontifical than usual in telling us why, and other News Limited journalists will report the findings gleefully, and in every sordid detail” . [/quote] You were absolutely correct Ad, they did exactly as you predicted, and what was it? frantic frenzy all over 1 percentage point. I presented extra links this morning working 4 hours instead of three, I am sure you have found some interesting. Dennis Shannahan and Paul Kelly:- [quote]Tony Abbott widens gap as preferred PM over Julia Gillard in latest Newspoll [/quote]If the issue is just about the polls, and what they say about Labor's chances of winning the election and Tony Abbott becoming Prime Minister with a large majority, then the political logic suggests there should be no hesitation in removing Gillard as Prime Minister at the same stage of the electoral cycle. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/tony-abbott-widens-gap-as-preferred-pm-over-julia-gillard-in-latest-newspoll/story-fn59niix-1226668507117 [quote]When the going gets tough for the government, the government blames the media [/quote]http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/cut-paste/when-the-going-gets-tough-for-the-government-the-government-blames-the-media/story-fn72xczz-1226668470260

nasking

24/06/2013 SOME PEOPLE WORRY ABOUT ASYLUM SEEKERS TAKING THE