How opinion polls poison politics

Imagine this – a political world free of opinion polls seeking voting intentions and leadership preferences. What would journalists write about? Would they, as they once did, revert to writing about genuine political issues, giving their readers the facts and their well-reasoned analysis of them? Would they still be capable? Some would, for example Ross Gittins, who tells it the way it is without fear or favour.

Reflect on what we have read from political journalists these last few weeks. Ask what proportion has been devoted to ‘leadership speculation’. Would it have been possible to write about leadership speculation in the absence of poll data? Is it not poll data that has been the catalyst for the speculation? If there were no data on voting intentions or the popularity of the leaders, what would journalists use to promote the idea that a leader was under threat? They may of course have heard ‘corridor whispers’ from ‘informed sources’ that there was dissatisfaction with the leader and a desire for change, which no doubt would be amplified in their journalist watering holes where groupthink prevails, but with nothing more substantial than that it would be pretty hard to mount a case that there was a serious leadership challenge. It is the so-called ‘hard facts’ derived from opinion polls that fuels contemporary questions such as: ‘How long can Julia Gillard withstand such poor poll numbers?’ or ‘How can Labor recover from such a low primary vote?’ or ‘How can nervous backbenchers in marginal seats support a leader who is so unpopular with the people?’ or ‘As she has failed to increase her popular support since last year, is Julia Gillard’s leadership terminal?’ or ‘As the polls show Kevin Rudd is more popular, is there gathering momentum to revert to his leadership?

It is dead easy for even the most inexperienced and incompetent journalist to conjure up such questions and fire them arrogantly and sometimes rudely at the PM, her ministers and even her backbenchers at doorstops. Without polling data, all they could say was that someone back-grounded them on the dissatisfaction, without revealing the source. There does appear to be some stupid enough in the Labor Party to background journalists, but without hard data that would simply be gossip.

This piece contends that it is polling data that does the damage, not the whispers. I can hear some of you saying that polling data is important and should be sought and used. My reply is “What makes it important two years out from an election?” Does it have useful predictive value so far out? No. Do journalists give poll data the mantle of predictive power? Yes. Does it feed into the journalist’s echo chamber as fodder for a juicy story? Yes. Does it provide intriguing copy for news editors? Yes. Does it create lazy journalism? Yes. Has it resulted in the deskilling of many of our journalists, even the experienced? It seems so.

Is poll data ever useful? Yes. Close to an election, it can give political parties and commentators a guide about how political fortunes are evolving. This can be helpful in pointing to what needs to be done to improve those fortunes. But way out from an election, voting intention and popularity polls are misleading, often poisonous, and usually create mischief.

But we know they won’t go away. They generate too much income for polling organizations and the news outlets they feed, and countless stories for the press, hungry for sensational tidbits. We are stuck with these pernicious objects. A large industry has developed around them. There are the pollsters whose opinions are eagerly sought – Martin O’Shannessy for Newspoll and John Stirton for the ACNielsen Poll. There is a coterie of journalists that ‘specialize’ in poll interpretation – Dennis Shanahan is one example. There are websites devoted to polls: The Poll Bludger and the brilliant analytic site Pollytics, with its focus on aggregated polls and trends rather than individual polls. There are hungry news writers ready to pounce on any commentary they make, which they can quickly convert into a news item that then dominates coverage in papers, radio and TV news, and current affairs programs for the next day or two. Take away regular polls: the weekly, the fortnightly, the monthly, and the ad hoc polls, and a gaping hole is left in the political news. So let’s not kid ourselves that polls way out from an election have any other purpose but an institutional one. They are of no genuine help to governments, and help oppositions only when the polls are adverse to the government. We are being led by the nose by these self-serving organizations, and it’s high time we realized how we are being duped.

The history of political polling
Wikipedia has an interesting account of the history of polling:
"The first known example of an opinion poll was a local straw poll conducted by The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian in 1824, showing Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams by 335 votes to 169 in the contest for the United States Presidency. Since Jackson won the popular vote in the full election, such straw votes gradually became more popular. In 1916, the Literary Digest embarked on a national survey... and correctly predicted Woodrow Wilson's election as president. Then, in 1936, its 2.3 million ‘voters’ constituted a huge sample; however, they were generally more affluent Americans who tended to have Republican sympathies. The Literary Digest was ignorant of this new bias. The week before election day, it reported that Alf Landon was far more popular than Roosevelt. At the same time, George Gallup conducted a far smaller, but more scientifically based survey, in which he polled a demographically representative sample. Gallup correctly predicted Roosevelt's landslide victory. The Literary Digest soon went out of business, while polling started to take off."

A brief history of polling in Australia, in the form of a PowerPoint presentation created during the Rudd era, shows that Sylvia Ashby began polling in 1908, followed by Roy Morgan. At the last election the main polls were by ACNielsen, Galaxy, Morgan and Newspoll. There are a few other minor polls conducted by news organizations. The Essential Poll is a relative newcomer.

The comments in this history are germane: Walter Cronkite is quoted as saying: “Australia: too many reporters, not enough news”. It insists that Australia has “too many reporters writing about opinion polls, too many opinion polls, and that too much attention is paid to opinion polls.”

It acknowledges that polls can affect behaviour via the “bandwagon” or “underdog” effect. It insists that they are “always beaten up by the journalists, can be paralysing, a tool of demagogues, pandering to irrational fears, have hidden agendas and biased questions, and are misrepresented.” But it concedes that “if read correctly, and modestly, polls are very, very useful tools.”

Without going into tedious detail, polls are only as reliable as the quality of the sampling and the size of the sample. Regarding the nature of the sample, some wonder whether the use of landline phones distorts sampling, as it may tend to sample less adequately the younger people who predominantly use mobile phones. Getting a sample that is truly representative of the opinions of the entire Australian electorate is the greatest challenge to pollsters. Because representative sampling in online polls is impossible, they are not only useless, but dangerously misleading.

A sample size of around 1,000 carries a margin of error of around 3%; with smaller samples (some may sample as few as 600), the margin of error rises. To reduce the margin to 1%, around 10,000 would need to be sampled, but this is too expensive for the pollsters. While pollsters acknowledge these sampling drawbacks, usually in fine print, they usually do not feature prominently in any commentary, so that readers tend to regard the figures as ‘gospel’ and attribute more significance to them than the figures warrant. Even minor deviations, within the margin of error, are given credence.

Are then the questions that are often added to those about voting intentions and popularity, worthwhile? In my view, if they are carefully worded, they can give useful information. For example, last Monday’s Essential Poll carried questions about the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Aboriginal conditions and problems, the best party for handling Aboriginal issues; workers’ pay and productivity, IR laws, and trust in institutions. All these furnished useful information. Conversely though, poorly worded questions that lead those questioned to a predetermined position, can be dangerous, used as they sometimes are, with malicious intent to deceive. The problem is that the average person reading the poll is unaware of how manipulative the questions may be, and too often are.

Poll obsession
The obsession of political parties with poll results is a serious problem. They appear to attribute to them the status of holy writ. We have seen the Labor Party seemingly make major reversals of policy based on opinion polls and their opinion-seeking cousins, focus groups. The decision to defer action on an ETS by the Rudd Government seems to have been the initial reason for its loss of popularity and Kevin Rudd’s decline. We saw the delighted faces on Labor politicians after the recent less unfavourable ACNeilsen Poll, and can remember the long faces when the polls were steadily getting worse. We can be sure that the look on Labor faces after the next Newspoll will reflect its numbers.

When pollsters and the media that promulgates their results see the power they are able to exert over politicians, political parties and their policies, they relish their capacity to twist political arms and thereby exercise remote control over policy and the parties that develop them. This is just as Rupert Murdoch and his News Limited Empire would have it. If political parties were less preoccupied with every new poll, if they gave them less credence, the power of the polls, and the poisonous influence they now have, could be contained. The Gillard Government is trying to discount their importance, but the media is determined to counter this move so that the profound influence polls have over the political course of events continues.

The disturbing reality is that the media wants to influence politics, wants to mould public opinion, wants to foster its preferred party and leaders; in short wants to call the political shots, usually to fulfill its commercial agenda. Often this is at the bidding of wealthy vested interests that fund the media through advertising or who sit on media boards. We saw that flagrantly demonstrated during the minerals tax and carbon tax debates. We saw Gina Reinhart insist that Andrew Bolt be given his extreme right wing Bolt Report after she joined the Channel Ten Board. Opinion polls are simply one facilitatory device to aid and abet these agendas, which are sometimes overt, but too often covert.

Past polls feed future polls
One poll feeds into the next. As poll results are so widely publicized, those responding to the next poll are significantly influenced by prior polls. As few want to be the ‘odd man out’, and with groupthink operating powerfully, all except the real thinkers go along with the crowd, herd-like. This is why it is so hard to shift opinion polls; it needs either something radical to happen, or gradual attrition of entrenched attitudes as the facts overwhelm the prejudice. The Coalition knows how well its three word slogans have stuck in people’s minds and how that has influenced their response to opinion polls. So the slogans will persist, and its media supporters will continue to promulgate them and the disingenuous rhetoric it uses to justify them.

Opinion polls have a poisonous effect when misused, when used to pursue political agendas. Are they really necessary? Should they be curtailed?

Following the last piece on Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, let’s attempt to summarize this piece using that method:

The facts – The White Hat
Polls of voting preferences and popularity can be useful, especially as an election approaches.
The further out from an election they are, the poorer the predictive value they have; two years out they are of dubious value, and can have a self-perpetuating poisonous effect on public opinion.
Their value can be in guiding the strategy of political parties, politicians and political outlets.
To be valid and reliable, a representative sample and an adequate sample size are essential.
Many polls are inadequate in this regard and therefore of doubtful value, but this is not always stated.
Polls of political attitudes and values can be valuable provided the questions are carefully worded so as not to lead those being questioned.

The dangers – The Black Hat
Polls that have an unrepresentative and inadequate sample are dangerously misleading.
Polls of voting intention are misleading far out from an election.
Popularity polls can be illegitimately used to drum up discontent and dislodge ‘unwanted’ leaders.
Polls of attitudes and values can be misleading if poorly worded, or if designed to achieve a pre-determined outcome. Wrongly used, they can improperly influence or even form public opinion.
Polls can be used as a manipulative device by vested interests in the media and elsewhere.

The positives – The Yellow Hat
Polls of voting intention and popularity can be valuable close to an election.
Polls of attitudes and values can be valuable as a guide to those developing policy if carefully worded in a neutral way not designed to lead respondents to a predetermined outcome.

How do people feel about polls? - The Red Hat
Political watchers feel passionately about each new opinion poll, awaiting each with keen anticipation or trepidation.
Political operatives feel disappointed and anxious if the polls are adverse, and gleeful if positive for them.
Some political watchers feel angry at the way polls are misused.
Vested interests feel positive about polls when they are serving their interests, and angry when they are not.
Most people are indifferent.

Creative ideas about polls – The Green Hat
Would we not be much better informed if well structured professionally-designed polls of attitudes and values comprised the majority of polls, and those directed to voting intentions and popularity were fewer in number and confined to the last six months before an election?
Could an expanded set of attitudes and values be explored instead of the stereotyped ones so commonly assayed?
Could a more reliable and valid polling method be designed that had respectable and worthwhile predictive value?

So there it is. Let’s have your opinion about opinion polls.

Do you share my concerns and views about them?
Do you regard them as poisonous, as I do?
How would you like to see them conducted?
What suggestions do you have to make them more useful and valid than the present set we have thrust upon us every few days?

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Ad astra reply

10/02/2012DMW Could you please post again your Afternoon Update on this piece so that they are not overlooked.

Marian Rumens

10/02/2012It just drives me crazy when polls are reported with "if an election were held today". That "if" means the whole thing is an hypothetical and has no basis in fact. Also if polling must be done, why can't the results show whether it was a Labor / Liberal /Greens (whatever) electorate where the polling took place. When I worked for the polls it was required that ten neighbouring houses be polled so that if the electorate was Liberal there would be a definite bias towards Liberal. Since polls don't show this, and if they wanted a certain result, pollsters could make sure the electorates polled were of the same persuasion. I'm not saying they do this but they could.

Ad astra reply

10/02/2012Marian Rumens Welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i] family. Do come again. I agree that the phrase: “If an election were held today”, is not just misleading, it is stupid. An election is not being held today, and likely will not be held for almost two years. Everyone knows that the polls narrow as a scheduled election approaches. Even with the healthy lead Labor had before the 2007 election, the lead was much less by election day. So such media statements are simply rabble-rousing sensationalism. The media knows this, but goes on using this strategy because it makes juicy news and sell papers, and radio and TV news. And it’s so easy for lazy journalists to make a story, virtually out of nothing. It is pathetic but I’m afraid we are stuck with it while it is to the media’s advantage.

DMW

10/02/2012[b][i]Mick's Mix[/i][/b] The TGIF Afternoon/Early Evening Update It is with great trepidation I offer this first link given the subject of Ad's Post. Drawing a deep breath and saying quietly to myself [i]In for a penny, in for a pound let's jump into the deep end[/i] You too can be part of it Yes it's: [b]Slipper-y Poll![/b] @Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery where you to can become a statistic and partake in the fun polling questions. http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/slipper-y-poll/ [b]It’s the economy, stupid, with an emphasis on the stupid[[/b] @Kudelka Cartoons Today's cartoon by Kudelka for The Aus http://www.kudelka.com.au/2012/02/its-the-economy-stupid-with-an-emphasis-on-the-stupid/ Now some News & Views [b]We'll follow Labor on surplus: Tony Abbott[/b] Ben Packham @TheAus (Free) [i]TONY Abbott has guaranteed the Coalition will post a surplus in its first year of government if Labor lays the groundwork by returning the budget to the black in 2012-13. After a week of Coalition contortions over the surplus, the Opposition leader said today: “If Labor can deliver a surplus in the next financial year, we will certainly deliver a surplus in our first budget, because the budget position will always be better under the Coalition.” But Mr Abbott immediately suggested he would not have to make good on the pledge, saying it would be a “miracle” if Labor was able to produce a surplus next year.[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/well-follow-labor-on-surplus-tony-abbott/story-fn59niix-1226267489330 [b]Anger at independent MPs on woodchips[/b] David Wroe @TheAge [i]THE independent federal MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor have backed out of what the Greens say was a ''critical'' part of the carbon tax deal, moving to allow the forestry industry to continue burning native woodchips as renewable energy. In a manoeuvre that will infuriate conservationists, the two independents have moved to strike down regulations that were to tighten the definition of renewable energy to exclude electricity created from burning waste woodchips from native forests.[/i] http://www.theage.com.au/environment/anger-at-independent-mps-on-woodchips-20120209-1rxa9.html [b]Judith Sloan Misses Some Key Data[/b] Stephen Koukoulas of MarketEconomics PtyLtd [i]The Australian’s Judith Sloan's article today looks at fiscal policy management in the last few years. But for some reason that is not clear, her article today, http://tiny.cc/fa4a0 stops looking at the hard data on Government spending beyond 2008-09. There are two full years of data available beyond 2008-09 plus the updated forward estimates out to 2014-15 in the MYEFO documents. Sloan quite rightly picks up the massive increase in government spending associated with the textbook implementation of stimulus in the wake of the onset of the Lesser Depression or GFC in 2008-09 but then ignores the unwinding of the stimulus since 2009-10.[/i] http://stephenkoukoulas.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/judith-sloan-misses-some-key-data.html [b]Murdoch named Ten Network chairman[/b] via AAP @SMH [i]Lachlan Murdoch has been appointed chairman of the Ten Network. Mr Murdoch, who joined the commercial broadcaster's board in late 2010 after becoming its largest shareholder, was elected to the role of chairman by the board on Friday.[/i] http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-business/murdoch-named-ten-network-chairman-20120210-1sab9.html [b]Words like the apology not enough to achieve lasting reconciliation, says Kevin Rudd[/b] Ben Packham @TheAustralian (Free) [i]On February 13, 2008, Mr Rudd apologised to all Aboriginal people and the Stolen Generations for their “profound grief, suffering and loss”. The-then prime minister used the word “sorry” three times in his 360-word speech, which was delivered in parliament and reported worldwide. Mr Rudd said changed attitudes and improved government programs were evidence of progress in reconciliation in the last four years.[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/words-like-the-apology-not-enough-to-achieve-lasting-reconciliation-says-kevin-rudd/story-fn9hm1pm-1226267869224 [b]Rudd says gagging is a matter for PM[/b] via AAP @SMH [i]Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has sidestepped questions about reports cabinet has been banned from talking to major newspapers, saying "those are matters for the prime minister". In a bid to stamp out leadership speculation, ministers must now seek permission from the prime minister's office before any meeting or private talks, News Limited reported. Mr Rudd on Friday said he had not read the report about the gagging order.[/i] http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-national/rudd-says-gagging-is-a-matter-for-pm-20120210-1sapt.html [b]Govt is 'co-ordinating' message: PM[/b] via AAP @TheAge [i]Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she wants her Labor team to speak with one voice on the economy and government policy. News Limited has reported Ms Gillard has ordered cabinet members to refrain from talking to the editors of major newspapers in a bid to stamp out leadership speculation.[/i] http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-national/govt-is-coordinating-message-pm-20120210-1s1j7.html [b]Gillard wants to save her job: Abbott[/b] via AAP @TheAge [i]Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says Prime Minister Julia Gillard is more interested in saving her own job than the jobs of ordinary Australians. Mr Abbott said Australian workers were facing difficult times, with the prospect of 600 jobs losses at Alcoa in Victoria and 500 workers losing their jobs at Sydney building company Kell & Rigby. "Unfortunately we have a divided and directionless and dysfunctional government," he told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.[/i] http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-national/gillard-wants-to-save-her-job-abbott-20120210-1sbur.html [b]Practice what you preach? Abbott says ... maybe[/b] Malcolm Farr @News.com.au [i]OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has pledged to fight cuts to the private health insurance rebate but won't promise to overturn the reductions if elected to government. The Opposition Leader today roused local electorate pressure on crossbench MPs to force them to vote against means testing in the House of Representatives.[/i] http://www.news.com.au/national/practice-what-you-preach-abbott-says-maybe/story-e6frfkw9-1226267629381 [b]Bald Archies poke fun at PM, Warne[/b] @ABCNews [i]Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Rupert Murdoch and Shane Warne are popular subjects in this year's satirical art prize, the Bald Archies. The Bald Archies began 19 years ago as a counterpoint to the more salubrious Archibald Prize. Rather than tackling their subjects with reverence, artists who enter the Bald Archies poke fun at their famous subjects.[/i] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-10/bald-archies-poke-fun-at-pm2c-warne/3822842 [b]When the powerful buy into the media, can the media still scrutinise the powerful?[/b] Richard Dennis @TheConversation [i]The mining industry is used to having its voice heard in Australian public debates, so it should come as no surprise that mining billionaires such as Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer would consider buying up a bigger slice of the Australian media. While the estimated $20m spent by the mining industry on television advertisements opposing the introduction of a mining tax was the most visible example of the industry’s determination to influence the public it is, in fact, just the tip of the iceberg.[/i] http://theconversation.edu.au/when-the-powerful-buy-into-the-media-can-the-media-still-scrutinise-the-powerful-5317 [b]How opinion polls poison politics[/b] from The Political Sword OOps where already here but if we weren't I would link to it :) [b]Cheryl Kernot on politics, the media and female leadership[/b] Cheryl Kernot @TheConversation [i]As one of the few women to have run a political party in this country Cheryl Kernot is well aware of the role gender plays in the Australian political landscape. In the wake of Bob Brown’s claim this week that Prime Minister Julia Gillard is being subjected to “relentless sexism”, the former Democrats leader (now Director of Social Business at the Centre for Social Impact) discusses her own experiences, contemporary politics and how the media looks at female politicians.[/i] http://theconversation.edu.au/cheryl-kernot-on-politics-the-media-and-female-leadership-5304 [b]The (bow)ties that bind: Slipper's $2.4b payback[/b] Annabel Crabb @TheDrum [i]Of all the things that could possibly emerge about Parliament's notorious man of intrigue, Peter Slipper, you'd never have picked this one: He's actually a pretty good Speaker. The elevation of this faintly risible Renaissance man to the chamber's most distinguished role seemed last year to encapsulate everything that was wrong with the Gillard Government; it was desperate, faintly grubby and very probably executed with a peg on the nose.[/i] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-10/crabb-peter-slipper-first-week-as-speaker/3823348 This is a selection of the 253 items of potential interest enjoy your Friday evening reading but before I go a bit of something to churn the brain cells in a different direction [b]Six Vintage-Inspired Animations on Critical Thinking[/b] Maria Popova A field guide to the art and science of the solid argument. [i]Australian outfit Bridge 8, who have the admirable mission of devising “creative strategies for science and society,” and animator James Hutson have created six fantastic two-minute animations on various aspects of critical thinking, aimed at kids ages 8 to 10 but also designed to resonate with grown-ups.[/i] http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/02/09/critical-thinking/

rmh

10/02/2012Interesting that you name Shanahan as a student of the polls. There was plenty of comic relief to be found in his columns in the last year of the Howard government as he plumbed the depths of the Newspoll findings to find a skerrick of good news for the government when everyone else just wrote about the train wreck that was coming.

Ad astra reply

10/02/2012rmh Welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i] family. Do come again. Your are right – Dennis Shanahan was comical in his poll analysis during the latter days of the Howard Government. He would extract the tiniest bit of comfort for Howard out of even the most adverse polls, to the amusement of the blogosphere, who took him to task. He, and his editor, reacted angrily and berated we bloggers, but we did notice that he toned down his remarks subsequently.

Lyn

10/02/2012Hi Ad, Thankyou for your new article "how Opinion Polls Poison Politics" you are a wonderful leader Ad Astra we are very lucky on TPS to have such an even tempered tolerant flexible person. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for providing The Political Sword, your time and efforts are appreciated by me everyday. This paragraph suits me Ad. [i]Take away regular polls: the weekly, the fortnightly, the monthly, and the ad hoc polls, and a gaping hole is left in the political news. So let’s not kid ourselves that polls way out from an election have any other purpose but an institutional one. They are of no genuine help to governments, and help oppositions only when the polls are adverse to the government. We are being led by the nose by these self-serving organizations, and it’s high time we realized how we are being duped. [/i] The MSM wear the black hat all the time in fact it's stuck on their heads:- [i]The dangers – The Black Hat[/i] [i]Polls that have an unrepresentative and inadequate sample are dangerously misleading. Polls of voting intention are misleading far out from an election. Popularity polls can be illegitimately used to drum up discontent and dislodge ‘unwanted’ leaders. Polls of attitudes and values can be misleading if poorly worded, or if designed to achieve a pre-determined outcome. Wrongly used, they can improperly influence or even form public opinion. Polls can be used as a manipulative device by vested interests in the media and elsewhere. [/i] We only need to read Dennis Shanahan to see how the poll results can be twisted and manipulated to suit their own agenda. If the Coalition rise one point in the polls any polls the media go crazy, if Labor gains the results are brushed aside. Questions are designed to cause trouble and make news about leadership speculation, eg. unnecessary "who would you prefer as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard". If I was a Coalition voter and the pollster asked me who would you rather as Prime Minister I would say Kevin Rudd without even thinking, why because I know to change back to Kevin Rudd would cause trouble for the Government. If I was a Coalition voter what would I vote in this poll by our ABC:- Current Poll Is the Government right to want to wind back the means test on the private health insurance rebate? Is the Government right to want to wind back the means test on the private health insurance rebate? Yes No http://www.abc.net.au/news/thedrum/polls/ Antony Green explains one method used:- [i]How Should Reachtel's Ashgrove Polls be Interpreted[/i]Antony [i]Green, ABC[/i] Reachtel is using an automated phone poll methodology not traditionally used in Australia. It allows the company to conduct local polls such as those in Ashgrove at relatively low cost compared to traditional methods. This is providing more polling information on individual contests than we normally see at Australian elections. Were the LNP to win the election but Newman fail to win Ashgrove, it would seriously destablise the new government If its most recent two-party poll is correct then its first preferences are wrong, and if its first preferences are right then its two-party preferred poll is out. http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2012/02/how-should-reachtels-ashgrove-polls-be-interpreted.html Cheers:):):):):):):)

Ad astra reply

10/02/2012Hi Lyn Thank you for your kind comments and the link to the Antony Green site. I don't pretend to understand the Ashgrove situation, but Newman seems to have it within his grasp.

2353

10/02/2012I'm in two minds here AA, I don't know whether the reporting of a poll drives the next poll result or if there is some ability for the actions of a Government or Opposition to influence the thinking of the next poll. Let me explain. [i]Reporting drives the polls[/i] - does the headline reporting of a poll convince enough people when questioned for the next poll to suggest an answer based on what seems to be popular with others? [i]Actions influencing polls[/i] - did things like Rudd's backflip/Abbott's scare campaign on an ETS actually change peoples opinions at the time to make Rudd look un-elctable, and similarly did Gillard's Leadership Challenge turn people off her? I suspect in some ways both have some effect - some people will do anything to be seen to be popular (look at some fashions over the past 20 years) and Rudd was elected in part on the promise to create an ETS. Once Gillard did legislate an ETS, her poll numbers have been rising. In answer to your questions - yes the polls scare me. I'm firmly convinced that as a result of the multiple polls a lot of political decisions are made to suit the opinions of marketing and focus groups. Having participated in focus groups for some non-political advertising years ago I believe that in the majority of cases the opinions of those who are only there for the money (or worse those that want to unduly influence the result) are treated as gospel truth - when in fact a lot of them couldn't give a damn. The reporting of the polls is poisonous in Australia. In the US, poll results are reported with the margin of error on the graphics and repeated in the voiceover (have a look at CBS This Morning, US Today or similar shows for verification). In Australia they are reported as absolute truth - leading people to believe they "should get onto the winner". GIven that polls are profitable I don't really imagine that either some voluntary agreement or legislation to reduce frequency will work. Neither will legislation or agreement to reduce/eliminate focus groups etc. In reality this country needs a truth in news law whereby if poll numbers are reported there has to be an explanation on how the numbers were calculated and what a margin or error is - in an effort to demonstrate that polling is really an inexact science dependant on who is asked the question (landlines vs mobile for example) and the statistical formula used to process the data - in other words telling the mug punter that the numbers are a educated guess at best. I wouldn't bet on it happening any time soon! And on Lyn's link above - I've been asking for a while what happens if the LNP win without Newman. As the election ads have yet to start in earnest on TV in Brisvegas, I would expect the ALP to capitalise on this - while I would imagine those in Ashgrove will be getting a barrage of junk mail urging them to vote for Newman so the grand plan can come together. Don't forgot there is optional preferential voting in State Elections up here so it is possible to stop you vote going from say Katter's mob to the LNP. Another issue here will be the Flood Enquiry - interesting comment on a media story today along the lines of when did the enquiry become a withchunt - something I've been wondering as well. If the question is being asked widely, it may work in the ALP's favour as it is seen in some quarters that the LNP is whipping up the withchunt.

2353

10/02/2012AA - in regard to Ashgrove, Newman (who resigned as a LNP Brisbane Lord Mayor a couple of months after the flood - and coincidently a day after the requirement to hold a by-election for a replacement Lord Mayor - doesn't have a seat in the State Parliament. He has to beat Kate Jones (a young woman who I think has a young family) who resigned from the position of Environment Minister to concentrate on local issues. Jones has a 7ish % margin. The "official" Leader of the Opposition in the Queensland Parliament is Jeff Seeney (a failed Nats leader) who claims he is only warming the bench for Newman. Where it got dirty was that the "faceless men" of the LNP effectively sacked the existing LOTO (the brother of media personality Kate Langbrooke) causing the immediate past leader Lawrence Springborg (who failed at the past 2 State Elections) to resign from the front bench. The President of the LNP (and one of those responsible for it's formation - Bruce McIvor) is reputed to run the party like a fiefdom and Newman also has a reputation for arrogance, leading to rumours from time to time about friction not only about th efiefdom but also various ex Liberal factions fighting with themselves and various ex Nationals factions. In March/April last year soon after Newman announced his intentions, he was home and hosed according to the opinion polls - the margin is becoming a lot tighter. The Brisbane Times (Brisbane's online only Fairfax "paper" was reporting at one stage today that the poll Lyn indirectly linked to above effectively said it was neck and neck. As they say - only in Queensland!

TalkTurkey

10/02/2012As astra Polls are poisonous yes. A few days ago on February 8. 2012 10:42 AM I posted my parody of Frank Hardy's [i]Sydney Town[/i], This time I was going to delete all but the verses in bold, which are directly about polls, but on second thoughts I'm leaving the whole song again, it's worth a second look because it's all about how [i]all[/i] the media frenzy skews and crazes 'the political process' generally, polls being just part of that frenzy, er I mean process. [u][b]*J*U*L*I*A*s Clown [/b][/u] Chorus: [b]The more they try to take us down The better we’ll win when the Poll rolls round! The more they try to take us down The better we’ll win when the Poll rolls round! [/b] They screamed when we were led by Rudd All that Kevin O’Lemon crud, So then our *J*U*L*I*A* took control, And now there’s even more hyperbole! They said she’d stabbed him in the back: (The fact is that he got the sack.) The Liberals are a Ship of Fools: She plays by Labor Party rules! Chorus She lacks a clear majority And Abbortt screamed ME! ME! ME! ME! But now she is our Head of State* Because she can Negotiate! Abbortt swore he’d knock her out: He’s got such pugilistic clout! Instead she’s punched him in the snout! She’s tougher still with every bout! Chorus They scream Juliar is a Witch! They burn with hate, Let’s burn the bitch! But Julia cries No surrender! And just gets on with her agenda. [i]The MSM is full of lies About this Gov’ment they despise They hide the truth, we know the facts: Triple A rating and a Carbon Tax![/i] Chorus [b]The polls all told us we can’t win Can’t climb out of the hole we’re in But now the polls show Labor’s bounce And there’s just one Poll that really counts![/b] The NOpposition’s going down, And Abbortt looks like *J*U*L*I*A*s Clown And we’ll win in 20-13, With *J*U*L*I*A* our Ranga Queen! Chorus and begin again in an endless loop I go back to your first line Ad: [b]Imagine this – a political world free of opinion polls seeking voting intentions and leadership preferences.[/b] I have thought exactly wtte over many years. I'm not about to get very deep right now, other fish to fry, but the media is mischievously complicit in the dumbing down and the stirring up of the populace. The stanza in italics tells the story. The bump we got in that poll at the beginning of last week was probably an outlier, but it has also been a game-changer, giving Labor a free ride all through the week and they rode the wave perfectly and then some. Just shows how the polls distort the process, and how we suckers hang on every poll like piglets on Mum. For just once one worked for us. With the Media concentrated in far fewer and fatter hands, the whole process is quite cynically and deliberately skewed by feeding back bad publicity against the government if it's leftish, (or good news if it's rightist), especially as we near an election of course, through the polls, Ooooh look Labor's down in the polls, that feeds back into the polls some more and then some more spin, while the electorate is being driven to distraction - at least, those who care about the outcomes. Let us just be determined to tell the truth as hard and well as we can, and win the next bloody election, still nearly two years away. THe MSM doesn't look nearly so clever or cocksure this week, have you noticed? - And there was nothing the bloody polls could do about that. [b]"And there’s just one Poll that really counts!"[/b]

janice

11/02/2012The Polls themselves are probably a bit innocuous but become poisonous when they are used as a tool to influence voters to go with one side or the other, according to the agenda of the media and partisan political players. Having said that, I have come to the conclusion that human nature being as it is, there is too much room for those wanting regime change to skew results in their favour. It is simply a matter of the questions asked, the way they are framed and the questions that are not asked at all. I think also it would be relatively easy for pollsters to get the results they want by polling in selected areas/electorates. And, after the results are in, the unfortunate voters are then bombarded with the opinions and interpretations of the media personnel needing to keep up their story submissions without having to use too much brainpower.

Lyn

11/02/2012Good Morning Ad George has written a worthwhile read for everyone this morning I love what he has to say about Wayne Swan, you are right Wayne will do me too. I have always been proud of Wayne Swan for how he handled the financial crises, the Liberals have always crowed he is a weak link, well they have never been able to trap Wayne. Stephen Koukoulas is appearing on ABC 24 at 9.15am. [i]Abbott and Rudd achieve nothing positive by undermining PM , George Megalogenis[/i] Whatever people think of Swan here, [b]he is Euromoney's finance minister of the year for good reason. [/b]His CV has what few treasurers can boast - a soft economic landing. [b]Partisans in Australia will argue over his media skills, [/b]or the respective roles of the Reserve Bank and the Treasury in helping us side-step the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. The rest of the world sees Swan as a legend. A second change of leaders in two years, coupled with the dumping of "the world's greatest treasurer" would strike our friends as, well, weird The constitution wasn't framed on the logic of continuous campaigning and fortnightly Newspolls. Our politicians pretend otherwise. That Abbott, Rudd and much of the media think this way doesn't make it right. Those cheering on Abbott, Rudd or the idea of another election are not doing so in the name of some higher policy ideal. They see the contest as an end in itself. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/abbott-and-rudd-achieve-nothing-positive-by-undermining-pm/story-e6frg7ex-1226268106733 Cheers :):):):):):):)

Ad astra reply

11/02/2012Folks I took last evening off to watch the very entertaining 50 over match between Sri Lanka and Australia, so I’ve just come to your comments. 2353 Thank you for your long appraisal. I’m sure both influences you mention operate in determining the outcome of subsequent polls. There seems little doubt about the so-called ‘bandwagon effect’; many people act in a herd-like manner not wishing to be the odd man out, and so if their mates and the media is saying something about our leaders they will go along with it and cast their opinion in that direction. Equally what politicians actually do, and perhaps more cogently, how those actions are interpreted by the media, has a profound influence on voting intentions. There is also the time element. Far out from an election, some will cast a vote to ‘give the government, or a politician, a kick in the pants’, knowing that their opinion constitutes but a faux vote that can’t really change anything. Thank you too for your assessment of Ashgrove – please keep us posted. TT As always, your verse hits the mark. You are right – the media is not so cocksure about its predictions of electoral disaster for the Government this week. I bet News Limited journos are sweating on the next [i]Newspoll[/i] and hoping desperately it shows a poor result for PM Gillard and her Government, whereupon they will declare the [i]ACNielsen Poll[/i] ‘rouge’. janice As usual, your remarks are spot on where you point to the way the polls are used to manipulate public opinion, sometimes by way of the manner in which questions are framed, often by the way results are interpreted. We shall always remember Dennis Shanahan’s efforts to squeeze the last drop of joy for John Howard out of the deteriorating polls he suffered in the latter part of his reign. Good Morning to you Lyn and thank you for your reference to the Mega article. How true is his statement: [i]”The constitution wasn't framed on the logic of continuous campaigning and fortnightly Newspolls. Our politicians pretend otherwise.” [/i] He should have added: ‘and so do our political journalists’. Stephen Koukoulas is a very sound economist. He writes and speaks well.

TalkTurkey

11/02/2012There is an apposite running argument on Poll Bludger today starting around comment 1385 (though there must be previous comments which precipitated it) between always naughty and sometimes bad and sometimes good Frank Calabrese (of [i]A Frank View [/i]blog), and William Bowe the Blogmeister of PB, about the protocols of outing bloggers [i]who would prefer to remain anonymous[/i] even if they have let certain details of themselves slip. Comments 1385/88/90/92/93/96/97/98 and it goes onto the next page by which time Bilbo is giving Frank his final warning.

Lyn

11/02/2012Hi 2353 Your comment about Ashgrove is of interest to me because I have lived in Queensland for the past 16 years. I will be most upset if the LNP get elected , as a matter of fact I am surprised they are even a party the way they have behaved in past years. The Liberals war with the Nationals I am talking about. The situation with Campbell Newman is bizzare in effect it means if the voters elect the LNP they won't know who they are getting. On topic here according to the polls Newman's popularity is slipping as people see more of him. Some are saying if Newman doesn’t win Ashgrove & LNP still win, Jeff Seeney leader of the LNP will be the premier. But Seeney and Newman will not say Seeney will be the Leader. This is why I say Bizzare. If Newman doesn't win Ashgrove the swing against the government will be less than 7% People are finding out about Newman, Brisbane Times and Courier Mail are reporting fairly truthful, some more articles are coming out about Newman’s family business connections. Anna Bligh and Peter Beattie before her have done a lot for Queensland, the State welfare benefits in QLD are far more generous than other States. Tourism is second to none promoted relentlessly by the State Government. A gold mine for business here. Hervey Bay population about 55 thousand exists only because of tourism. Also we have a State of the Arts hospital, all the Doctors charge the schedule fee, the state dental is free and easily accessed by all. Pensioners are provided with what is called Home Assist, where any small maintenance problems are fixed for free. The Blue Nurses provide constant second to none care, the lady across the road has the blue nurses they provide personal care. There is also another service whereby people can be collected taken to the Dr. Another where people can be taken shopping or their requirements purchased for them. Chemists collect and deliver prescriptions. Here is some information that may interest you it sure interests me:- [i]No Plan B: 'We don't get another shot at this. It's all or nothing' , Brisbane Times[/i] The LNP leader yesterday again declined to say who would lead the state if his party won power but he did not clinch the key inner-west electorate from high-profile Labor MP Kate Jones in the March 24 election. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/state-election-2012/no-plan-b-we-dont-get-another-shot-at-this-its-all-or-nothing-20120210-1sn89.html#ixzz1m1LTDYuY [i]Newman loses ground in Ashgrove: poll[/i] The LNP made an unprecedented move in choosing Mr Newman as the [b]party leader while he is not a sitting Member of Parliament. [/b]There could be problems for the LNP if it wins the election but Mr Newman fails to win the Ashgrove seat. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-10/newman-loses-ground-in-ashgrove-poll/3822286 Kate Jones pulls closer to Campbell Newman in Ashgrove, Reach Tell Campbell Newman’s primary vote falls below 50% for the first time in this poll series. Kate Jones picks up 3.4 percentage points in the primary vote since early January. The forced choice question has both candidates neck-and-neck with Campbell Newman ahead slightly with a 1% margin over Kate Jones. http://www.reachtel.com.au/blog/kate-jones-reduces-campbell-newmans-lead-in-ashgrove Cheers:):):):):)

TalkTurkey

11/02/2012Also on PB, gotta post this, per Neophyte @ 1437 Anyone posted this yet (Mike Carlton in todays SMH, as good as always, well almost always) IT WAS a blusterous gusterous dusterous day And Tony Abbott was ready to play. A photo op beckoned, too good to refuse: A chance to be seen yet again on the news. In his Tory blue tie and a neatly pressed suit, With the cameras rolling and ready to shoot He parked his behind on a tiny-tot stool To read to Year Two at a primary school. He did Hairy Maclary and Room on the Broom And a fire-breathing homily forecasting doom: Gillard’s a liar and Swan is a dud And God help us all if they resurrect Rudd. So, children, if you’re hoping to get to Year Three You must tell mum and dad not to vote ALP. The kiddies smiled sweetly, with a wondering stare: Not a clue who he was, nor why he was there. But no stunt is too fatuous, flatulous, trite If it gets Tony’s head on TV every night. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/gillard-must-fight-them-in-her-speeches-20120210-1six0.html#ixzz1m0pYaFyb

DMW

11/02/2012[b][i]Mick's Media Mix[/i][/b] The Penultimate Papers Perusal Post [i][b]From the Newspapers ... ... What the Front Pages are saying... [/i][/b] Today the Front Pages come to you from [i]Front Pages Today[/i] http://goo.gl/enTjx [b]The Weekend Australian[/b] http://goo.gl/8kaR7 Banks defy Swan with lift in rates Business urges tax, IR reform [b]The Sydney Morning Herald[/b] http://goo.gl/1kOHj Writing’s on the wall for blue collar work Video boast – how I shot the Diggers [b]The Daily Telegraph[/b] http://goo.gl/JXc7d Power To Principals Monkey Business [b]The Age[/b] http://goo.gl/j6tKW Home owners pay for the banks’ pain Symbols of despair and a national disgrace [b]The Herald Sun[/b] http://goo.gl/0wNCf Loan Sharks - Greedy baunks slug you another $240 a year [b]The Courier Mail[/b] http://goo.gl/7NTLf Synchronised Swimming (and about time too - [i]Ed[/i]) AMBO ALERT Exclusive: Secret audit exposes paramedic staff crisis [b]The Adelaide Advetiser[/b] http://goo.gl/ApkdY Self Interest Gangland Farewell [b]The NT Times[/b] http://goo.gl/7f7VB A small Croc Pic Lights out for Buffalo [b][i]... and the stories ...[/i][/b] [b]Business urges tax and industrial relations reform[/b] Sid Maher & Adam Creighton @TheAus (Free) [i]BIG business has demanded Julia Gillard dust off key elements of the Henry tax review and pursue industrial relations reform, after her declaration this week that the economy is the centrepiece of the government's priorities this year.[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/business-urges-tax-and-industrial-relations-reform/story-fn59niix-1226268286139 [b]Pastor's new party[/b] Barney Zwartz @TheAge [i]Controversial Christian pastor Danny Nalliah has registered a new political party, Rise Up Australia, whose main platform is to oppose multiculturalism. Mr Nalliah, leader of Catch the Fire Ministries and himself an immigrant from Sri Lanka, said he believed in a multi-ethnic Australia but only one culture with the commonsense values and democracy that made it attractive to immigrants.[/i] http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/pastors-new-party-20120210-1snyu.html [b][i]... and from the Opinion Pages ...[/i][/b] [b]Truth gets lost in Canberra spin[/b] Laurie Oakes @Herald Sun [i]SHADOW treasurer Joe Hockey has been whacked around the head this week for denying he ever admitted a Coalition government would have to slash existing programs by $70 billion to meet its own spending promises. This figure, of course, is the basis of claims by Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan of "a $70 billion Budget black hole" if Tony Abbott's team wins the next election. It has been repeated so often it is widely regarded as fact.[/i] http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/truth-gets-lost-in-canberra-spin/story-fn6bn88w-1226268226904 [b]For a few dollars more[/b] Peter Hartcher @SMH [i]Tony Abbott feels lucky, punk, but actual Coalition policies remain thin on the ground. When Julia Gillard challenged Tony Abbott to engage in a serious debate about the economy, the Opposition Leader revelled in the invitation. He warmed up his parliamentary colleagues for the new sitting year on Tuesday with this: ''They say they want the political battle to be about the economy. Well, if I can plagiarise for a moment, 'Make my day!' '' His colleagues loved it, ...[/i] http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/for-a-few-dollars-more-20120210-1sksf.html [b]Public's right to know falls victim to political infighting[/b] John Cain @NationalTimes [i]THE former head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Terry Moran, recently spoke of a period in 2010 when he did not see the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, for three months. The corollary of Moran's experience has been that the importance and influence of the private/political offices of ministers has risen. They run ministers with a fixation on the daily media jungle. They have grown numerically, and in terms of relative and absolute influence. They have affected radically all aspects of public administration - including the Freedom of Information Act.[/i] http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/publics-right-to-know-falls-victim-to-political-infighting-20120210-1slmy.html [b]While there is room to improve, the tent embassy has a place[/b] Thomas Keneally @NationalTimes [i]IN SAYING that I have conflicting views about the hustling of Julia Gillard to her car through a cordon of Aboriginal demonstrators and police on Australia Day, I am merely reflecting a genuine confusion many of us feel. The protesters later said their anger was directed at the muscular former Catholic seminarian (like me) neo-con (unlike me) Tony Abbott. Yet I have to say Abbott's remarks about the determinedly ramshackle Aboriginal tent embassy in Canberra, founded 40 years ago, did not seem to me racist or wild. I assert this though I am not an admirer of Abbott's. The idea of his winning the prime ministership from Gillard makes me fantasise about political asylum.[/i] http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/while-there-is-room-to-improve-the-tent-embassy-has-a-place-20120210-1slb4.html [b]BT Blog Army launches new community network[/b] Sophia Walter @NationalTimes/BrisbaneTimes [i]A blog army is coming to Brisbane, with some of the city's best bloggers standing to attention. The BT Blog Army has been created as a network of some of southeast Queensland's best blogging talent. The Army has its own index page on brisbanetimes.com.au, and the best articles will be picked up and run on our home page.[/i] http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/bt-blog-army-launches-new-community-network-20120210-1sm2m.html Please excuse the brevity of today's Paper Perusal Post. Information has come to hand that causes me to do some other things. There are a lot more interesting news and opinion pieces around and I will see if I am able to do an afternoon//evening update.

TalkTurkey

11/02/2012I did read Mike Carlton's article following that wonderful pome of his, well done for that Mike, I was going to comment on the power of verse yet again and this today is very classy. Unfortunately the prose, which thoroughly merits the appellation [i]prosaic[/i] at that, immediately became a bagging of *J*U*L*I*A*s ability to relate to Joe'n'Josie Sandwich and how Penny Wong with her high cheekbones could probably cook something a lot tastier judging by the way she sliced and diced Snotty Joe Hockey and that awful blonde harpy on Q&A t'other night (well she does look like Poh a bit, [i]Don't They All[/i] :) if we're going for the skindeep Mike, tell you what though she reminds me more of Jackie Chan!) So, see, if only the ALP had Penny Wong as PM . . . says M.C. Mike, *J*U*L*I*A* doesn't need you to do her makeup, give her voice training, bob her nose and reduce her earlobes and contain her bustle, the way she got where she got was nous and being on top of every issue, not micromanaging, but picking people like Wong and all the rest of her fantastic Cabinet, with the deepest and widest abilities ever seen in this or any other country, (don't argue, look at where Australia stands in economic performance and international respect, all because of our great leadership.) Our Treasurer is Numero Uno, we got first time ever Triple-A Credit Ratings, and our PM can cudgel her European counterparts because her Government, and Rudd's too, tried to warn them and they failed, our economy is the envy of the world because of Labor Governments playing their hands properly, notwithstanding the tremendous unrelenting adverse publicity and apoplectic opposition of every kind from every mainstream quarter including what should be the Truth's last bastion the ABC. Our Government is The Best! In Aesops Fables, which of *J*U*L*I*A* and Abbortt is [i]The Hare and the Tortoise [/i]? [i]The Fox and the Cat?[/i] [i]The Ant and the Cricket?[/i] Which is the Fox and (no) Grapes? (the [i]"Sour Grapes"[/i] story) Which one would be the Wolf, and which would be Practical Pig? Abbortt is a loser on every count isn't he. IMO Mike, you devalued that beaut bit of verse about the execrable Abbortt with your high praise of the fantastic Penny, by default unfavorably contrasting that opinion of her with your rather sly negative poke at my, her, and the Labor Party's Champion, Julia Gillard. The Government's not tortoises though, but not bloody fool mad march hares neither. Steadily, but not slowly, [i]is[/i] winning *J*U*L*I*A*s government's power walk. She has surrounded herself, from the rich talent in the Parliamentary Labor Party's workers and thinkers, with the strongest Ministry I have ever seen. She and no-one else is our Commander. And Penny Wong is one of her very best Field Marshals. The pome was great. More please.

2353

11/02/2012Hi Lyn, I don't know if you remember the 2006 election (the one Beattie was supposed to lose)? There was a feeling that the Liberals could get more seats in the Coalition that the Nationals and a Journalist asked Bruce Flegg (then Liberal Leader and Deputy Oppn Leader) if the Liberals getting more seats came to pass who would be Premier. Effectively the answer was Dunno. It sunk the Coalition campaign and Beattie got back with a good majority. I'm beginning to wonder if the "No Plan B" headlines will do the same thing this time. For the record I would prefer Vandal Newman (not my line unfortunately) and the LNP add another page to their record of absolute failure. Let's face it, the LNP in Queensland is renowned for not thinking things through, look at the Peter Slipper episode. THe reason he is Speaker of the House is because the LNP was claimed to be "bullying" Slipper into resigning from his Sunshine Coast seat.

NormanK

11/02/2012Ad astra Thanks for another great article. It was particularly clever to apply de Bono's Hats to how we look at opinion polls. It could prove to be an interesting exercise if they were applied to other vexed questions of policy as they arise. Thanks for the de Bono article also - it was fascinating. I have a love of numbers because they are, in the main, hard and fixed (with some notable exceptions). If you have four dollars, you can't buy something worth five dollars. If you have six cream buns and eat one you are left with five cream buns. One plus one equals two. Unfortunately, it is this understanding of numbers as basically being hard, fixed, known quantities that leads to the misuse of opinion poll outcomes. If a poll concludes that the TPP on a given weekend is 53-47 in favour of Party A then that's the end of it in the hard world of numbers as a fixed entity and people's perceptions are based on that basic premise. What about if instead of reporting 53-47 as a definitive outcome, a publishing house couched it in the following terms? "An opinion poll conducted over the weekend produced a result where the TPP was somewhere between 56-44 and 50-50 due to a Margin Of Error (MOE) of 3%. If an election were held tomorrow and the upper estimate for Party A proved to be accurate, it would win a very comfortable majority whilst Party B would be severely punished. If the lower end of the predictive range were to be realised we could end up with a hung parliament." What audience would accept that as something on which to base a conversation? How accepting would we be of the endless droning on of commentators about electoral doom and leadership crises? Where else in our lives would we accept a margin of error of 3%? If I went to a timber yard seeking a 2.0 metre length of hardwood to replace a stair tread, would I be satisfied if the individual serving me said: "Certainly sir. Of course, that'll be give or take 60mm." (A six foot length of timber, give or take a couple of inches) If I went to the local butchers and ordered a kilogram of their finest beef, would I be best pleased to learn that their scales have a margin of error of 3% and therefore I am at risk of paying for 30 gms of meat that I don't receive? Would the butcher be prepared to operate under those conditions - possibly giving away product for free? Opinion polls about voting intentions are a bit like asking a fisherman about how they got on that day. If they threw back a mongrel little catfish, their representation of it with their hands is likely to exaggerate how small it was. If they are describing the barra that got away - well, that would depend on whether there were any witnesses who might contradict them but it's bound to have been a beauty. Opinion polls are not tape measures, nor are they finely calibrated scales. They are someone holding their hands apart and saying: "About this big". We trust them and follow them at our peril.

TalkTurkey

11/02/2012Patricia (wasn't it? or who?) nominated Snotty Joe, Abbortt and Poor Old Robb as Curly Moe and (the other one) but unforch I can't download the link that shows which is which of them, and I was never a fan of the original ones so i don't know them by name. They were bloody unwatchable, but they were a whole lot less awful than their present counterparts. Anway the bossy really nasty violent one usually with pork-pie hat Abbort, the fat one is guess who, that only leaves one for Poor old Robb! I see the [i]3 Stooges [/i]has gone viral, [i]feral[/i] maybe, for the 3 Stooges in question. Swannie used it on consecutive days in QT, it has stuck now, all over PB and elsewhere, ha ha ha, this sort of tag helps win elections! And destroy fools. (Trunk-up Elephant Stamp for TT please!) (and Praise Dog!) RECAPTCHA : sword. thdtsd The NOpposition are in full retreat, and Labor in full cry in hot pursuit. Think I'll hafta write a song about that . . . Stay tuned. Well might be a while. [i][b]Venceremos! [/b][/i]

Lyn

11/02/2012Hi 2353 Thankyou so much for your informative reply. Yes I do remember the 2006 with Bruce Flegg , that is exactly why I call the LNP and the Liberals in Queensland bizzare they are. The Peter Slipper episode is a classic example of their the LNP's & The Liberals weird behaviour. I just hope the voters think before they vote for the LNP in Queensland because the State will be Governed by a bunch of ratbags if they get in. They don't like each other either. We all know that Clive Palmer is the real leader anyway see below Clive Palmer believes the LNP will win and the Katter party will be opposition OMG :- [i]Queensland Labor won't win a seat: Palmer. The Australian[/i] "The Labor party won't win one seat. That's what I predict," Mr Palmer, the billionaire bankroller of the Liberal National Party, told reporters today. "I think you will see the Katter party will become the opposition of Queensland and there will be an LNP government." Asked who he would support as premier if the LNP won power but the party's leader, Campbell Newman, failed to win the seat of Ashgrove, Mr Palmer replied: "The LNP will win Ashgrove http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/queensland-labor-wont-win-a-seat-palmer/story-e6frg6nf-1226268440748 This is typical Newman:- [i]Home away from home, Channel 7[/i] Newman: "That's his home so that's what matters, I'm sure, to the electors of the Beaudesert electorate." Reporter: "How long has he lived there?" Newman: "I think it's since 2007 actually from memory. Yeah. Yeah." An hour later Mr Krause confirmed that he had, in fact, lived overseas between 2006 and 2010. Labor has plenty of candidates who, like Campbell Newman, live outside the electorates they are contesting. Sure it isn't a good look but it isn't likely to sound the death knell for your chances. Unless the bloke who wants to be premier is standing beside you and claims you've been living in the seat since 2007. http://au.news.yahoo.com/opinion/post//blog/patrickcondren/post/124/comment/1 Cheers:):):):):):)

Lyn

11/02/2012Hi Ad This article by Crispin Hull is on topic and interesting, I know you will enjoy the article too: [i][b]Bleak outlook for informed polling, Crispin Hull[/b][/i] Did the media – slowly since the invention of printing – contribute to the public’s appetite for the salacious and unusual or did the public’s demand for novelty and conflict drive the media to deliver it? The pollsters and people who read the polls may have the mistaken belief that people are choosing who the respondents THINK would make the better Prime Minister, but [b]they don’t think. They are really answering the question who they FEEL [/b]they prefer to be Prime Minister [b]Most voters simply do not have enough information to make a decision about who would be a better Prime Minister[/b]. So they answer according to feeling: [b]voice; smile; dress and a whole lot of other irrelevant things[/b]. For them, what they see is all there is. That is how we get the result that Rudd would add 15 points to Labor’s primary vote. No doubt an [b]accurate measure of feeling, but preposterous.[/b] http://www.crispinhull.com.au/2012/02/11/what-the-dickens-is-going-on/ Cheers:):):)

TalkTurkey

11/02/2012(Abbortt) has always been an Emperor without any clothes. Some of the kiddies in the media are starting to notice and actually talk about this crazy guy walking around in the buff. At the moment it’s just an undertone, a ripple below the surface. Ummm . . . didn't that ripple start just about . . . [i]here?[/i] . . . Some months ago . . .? :) Then the blogger (I'm sorry, lost my place in PB, too big to go looking now) said, If that breaks into outright ridicule in the media he’ll pop like an overblown balloon. No, the way I heard it [i]some months ago[/i] - just about [i]here[/i] :) - he would do nothing so spectacular, just deflate! Like de flatus dat he am! Dog Allbitey Stamp . . . Trunk-Up Elephant Stamp . . . Nuddie Emperor Stamp . . . Deflated Tony Balloon Stamp . . . Nobody else'll gimme 'em, I'll gimme 'em meself! Puffed up Turkey, I'll look like Idi Amin for self-presented tin medals soon. I was going to say about that pome of Mike Carlton's before I made the mistake of reading the appended article, Patricia, the power of rhyme is underestimatedly incredibly potent, especially if it's pithy. First time I can remember anybody in the MSM writing any decent rhyme though . . . but I don't get around a lot. Sure a delight that one though eh! Abbortt will not be real chuffed I suspect. Rhymes rubs in their theme With their own inbuilt [b][i]meme![/i][/b] Won't Tone be loving this (for the rest of his life mark you! :) ), [/i]"In your guts you know he's nuts!" Perhaps most demeaning to Abbortt, hilarious to me, is the fact that Albo didn't even originate that specially for Abbortt, he attributed it to someone else so Abbortt's a second rate re-run nutter even at that! Nothing will save him now. Curly, [i]Larry[/i] and Moe, isn't it? I think Abbortt's Moe. I'll look again now, see who's which. Which did you think would be which Patricia? I see someone on PB thinks Joe is Curly but I'm not sure that's right, hell, I'm not sure the 3 Stooges would know themselves! Yeah, no, I've found 'em, Joe is definitely lardball Larry and Poor Old Robb is Curly sort of, because yes, Abbort is certainly the nastiest of the lot in Moe.

Patricia WA

11/02/2012Praise Dog indeed TT. Well done! http://www.threestooges.com/ gives you an up to date version - new movie. Same breakdown from the old days is on their official website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three_Stooges which has their original and current logo. So boss man, Abbott? far left with the straight hair is Moe, middle and fat man, Hockey? with no hair is Curly, and far right, lugubrious (Robb?) is Larry? Comments or corrections welcome before I try to imagine up some appropriate verses. Though Mike Carlton today would be hard to beat. What a delight! Pity there's nowhere for comments. I still 'Gave Feedback' though and told them what a treasure he is. Resolutions aside we have visitors next door and time just keeps running away. Dragged off to the movies the other day, which I have forsaken altogether lately. After seeing "Hugo" I wonder why. How wonderful that the film industry is producing this sort of magic!

Patricia WA

11/02/2012Unlike you, TT, I don't take much notice of the Captcha words. But today, on completing my last comment, they struck me particularly. [b]not thefe ejurit[/b] Which I was happy to take as the universe telling me [b][i]"You're not a thief! Idiot!"[/i][/b] Let me explain. I have come to hate buying newspapers in my latter years, but I love doing crosswords, so I when I buy a coffee after our walk I always tip generously so that if I don't finish the crossword I can take that page with me with a hitherto good conscience. I don't begrudge earlier birds who've taken off with it before I arrive so I had always assumed others felt the same. Recently though a good friend I met by chance berated me when I gathered up my puzzle which her arrival had interrupted. She gave me all sorts of reasons for the immorality of my act! I gave it some thought. Anyone interested enough to comment on my ethical dilemma is welcome. PS Here's a further complication to ponder. I used to buy the SMH through my business account when I lived in Sydney a few years back when it was a really good paper! I particularly enjoyed the weekend crosswords, and missed them when I retired to WA. I used to go to the Library to photocopy them from Spectrum on Mondays. Then I found a cafe near the pool where I swim on Wednesdays which takes the SMH among other papers for its clients. The weekend edition is often still there, sometimes unread but always with the Crosswords untouched. So I take that page knowing I have rescued it from the bin. "That's OK, isn't it?" I queried my friend. It seems not!!! What do you think?

Ad astra reply

11/02/2012NormanK Many thanks for your kind remarks and your sound comments about polling. Your comments about the margin of error and how that should be factored into analyses of polls, is germane. If only commentators would be that honest, the public would be less inclined to assign the predictive certainty to single polls as they do. But let’s face it, that level of honesty would defeat their purpose, which is to draw dramatic conclusions from the polls to feed their news rooms, and in some cases to promote a predetermined outcome, which for News Limited is the defeat of the Labor Government. TT Mike Carlton’s verse was amusing and to the ugly point. Your unbounded enthusiasm for, and supreme confidence in the Gillard Government is inspirational. Venceremos indeed! Hi Lyn Your link to the Crispin Hull article is most welcome. That is a fine analysis of how the electorate thinks, and what a splendid coincidence that it appeared at a time we are discussing opinion polls on TPS. He is right – in opinion polls people base their choice of party and leader on feelings more than thoughts, and so far out from an election may do so flippantly knowing that what selection they make in the poll will have no influence, at least no immediate influence on who wins the next election. The link is here for those interested in reading it: http://www.crispinhull.com.au/2012/02/11/what-the-dickens-is-going-on/ Patricia WA The stooge on the right looks like Barnaby Joyce, but he was sacked in favour of Andrew Robb. The Three Stooges appellation fits brilliantly. And do keep rescuing the crosswords from the terminal despair of ‘the bin’. That is so public spirited, and intellectually stimulating to boot.

DMW

11/02/2012Good Afternoon Ad, thank you for your article and using the hats to illustrate different ways of looking at or interpreting the subject. Our understanding of the 'polls' and what they may mean is all relative and mine is relative in the sense that a very close relative was instrumental in introducing and refining the use of the Gallup methods to this country and as a wide eyed and wondrous kid I sat in awe listening to stories about the ins and outs of delving into the opinions of the populace. I am intrigued by Marian's comment @ February 10. 2012 03:55 PM [i]When I worked for the polls it was required that ten neighbouring houses be polled so that if the electorate was Liberal there would be a definite bias towards Liberal. ...[/i] My experience in the conducting, and, being on the receiving end of polls is markedly different the method Marian mentions. There are a number of ways that can be used to assist in the 'randomisation' of respondents. Back in the day when the paper phone book was the only source of numbers one method we used was to have a 'seed number' to select the starting page and the another 'seed number' for the first number to be selected such that one might start on say, page 134 and the 17th entry in column one of that page. The next number selected would be the 18th entry in column two on page 135 and so on. Further randomisation was, and still is, in my very recent experience, used by asking the person answering the phone to speak to the person who's birthday is closest to today. Sometimes we would specify alternately the male or female with the closest birthday depending partly on if more males or females were needed to get the right balance of respondents. Many call into question the validity of the polls and make accusations of bias on the part of pollsters but consider this. Polling companies are commercial organisations that need to be run on a profitable basis. For most if not all political polling is only a small part of their business. Political polling can often be a 'loss leader' in that there is little or no profit in political polls and they are for the company as much a marketing tool as anything else. What organisation would want to be caught out manipulating the numbers to suit a paricular outcome? I suggest that most if not all would not risk their reputations for the sake of 'creating results' to suit the needs of a supposed 'hidden agenda'. I wish I could remeber who said something along the lines of one of the biggest problems for the news reading public is that [i]... there is too little news and too many journalists ...[/i] The truism of this may help explain the fascination with the polls and the speculation on leadership as it helps 'create news'. As for the [i]Who would make the better Prime Minister[/i] type questions (usually asked as preferred PM). How the heck would I or anyone else know the the answer to that quetion let alone give an 'informed opinion' on the question. Most of the people put up have never done the job so we can only guess if they are even remotely capable. We, the mere public, may, at a stretch have a small inkling of whether the current Prime Minister is doing a good or bad job but we cannot no the truth of it as we see but a very small part of what a Prime Minister does. As to whether anyone else could do a better job we would at best be guessing except, maybe, in the case of the previous incumbent who we have at least some experience and small knowledge of how they performed in the role. Polls on voting intentions this far out from an election are useful in part and useless in other ways. As a monitoring device they can serve a purpose, as an answer to all things they are useless. The beauty contest parts again can be a guide to current performance but still do not answer real questions and possibly should be used in the same way that one would use the Saturday Race Guides i.e. as an indicator of which horse to back but not a black and white answer to ultimate result of the contest.

Lyn

11/02/2012Hi Patricia You are priceless, your pomes are priceless, your comments are priceless. You know what the crossword is priceless. Your attitude to saving the crossword from the bin is priceless. As Ad Astra said [i]intellectually stimulating to boot[/i]. Thankyou for sharing such an entertaining piece of happening with us. Cheers:):):):):):):):)

Lyn

11/02/2012Hi Ad Here is Bushfire Bill, this time doing an end of week report on the Journalists: [i]Well, reading through the usually hostile Saturday commentators, I find that the consensus is that the government has “won the week”. [/i]http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2012/02/09/morgan-phone-poll-55-45-to-coalition-2/all-comments/#comment-1153444 Possum is not impressed with Peter Hartcher:- [i]Pollytics Possum Comitatus[/i] Hartcher in the SMH has written some of the silliest shit you will ever read about how a budget works http://bit.ly/xHpjBU For a few dollars more , Peter hartcher, SMH http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/for-a-few-dollars-more-20120210-1sksf.html Cheers :):):):):)

TalkTurkey

11/02/2012Patricia 1. Attack crossword puzzle at Coffee Point. 2. If not yet finished photograph offending page. 3. Leave part-finished puzzle behind to infuriate next person. 4. Download and print at home in nice big print! "You know it makes sense!"

Ad astra reply

11/02/2012DMW Like you, I doubt if reputable polling organizations would deliberately manipulate results – that would be dangerous as well as unethical. Their efforts are questionable around the sample size, and particularly the representativeness of the sample, which to researchers is the most perplexing task. The sample size can be derived mathematically based on what level of accuracy, or more correctly reliability, is required. The smaller the expected effect, the larger the sample size needed to reach statistical significance. On the other hand, satisfactory representativeness requires a selection of a wide variety of respondents that reflect as full a spectrum of values, attitudes and opinions as is possible. An example of the antithesis of representativeness is the vox pop approach or online polls where completely unselected respondents contribute. It is in the framing of the questions that respondents are asked answer that serious errors that distort reality can occur. For example, a common question is: “Which party is best at ‘managing the economy’, or ‘looking after working people’ or ‘health’? It would yield more informative, and I belief more accurate responses if, for example, a question on the economy was framed this way: “The Labor Government is credited with shielding Australia from the worst effects of the global financial crisis by way of its stimulus measures, and its efforts are acknowledged by overseas economists. The Opposition says that the main reason Australia escaped the effects of the global financial crisis was the reforms of previous governments and that the Labor Government had wasted money and run up debts. Which of these two views do you think is most accurate.” And then give two choices: Labor Government and Opposition. Some questions posed are clearly leading questions designed to bring about a predetermined outcome. These are illegitimate, misleading and sometimes disingenuous.

Patricia WA

11/02/2012Brilliant solution, TT, but I have one of those basic 'kiddie' phones, pre-paid, no camera, but with all important phone numbers in case I get lost, or the family are looking for me! Not quite true, but near as, particularly as I get older. Mind you, Tacker can be relied on to bring me home. He's a much better head on the roads than me, often pulls me back to wait and sure enough there's something speeding towards us I didn't see or misjudged its distance! You may have prodded me into getting a more-up-to date phone with camera, though. I remember last year I used to rush back home to pull out my camera. A nuisance carrying it around. I often see things I'd like to remember with a picture, as I did for my Sunflower poem. Gardens this year are stunning after the unusual recent rain. Even street verges are a delight. Lots of sunflowers as always, only this year they have a softness in their smiles. Think I'll have to update this one. I used it in a post for Miglo at CW. http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/2050/ There were lots of useful comments with info about cameras too. As usual time took over and I've done nothing about that. So thanks for reminding me, TT. December, 2010, was after one of our dryest years on record. You can imagine there is a real difference in the texture and sense of the sunflowers this year after the rain. Was it just over a month ago Fremantle for me was all aglow With brave red poppies on the street? Now everywhere I go I meet Sunflowers, big leaved and tall, Bold yellow against sky and wall. From whence they came who can tell? Untended and not watered well, Under the glaring sun they stand, Smiling, proclaiming, ”Ain’t life grand!”

Lyn

11/02/2012Oh! Patrica That is so lovely, I wish I was in that street. Sunflowers they are just beautiful they look like they are smiling too. If sunflowers could talk, I am sure they would say just that:- [i]Smiling, proclaiming, ”Ain’t life grand!”[/i] My grandaughter particular perfect miss 14 told me an Iphone 4 is a must have. Cheers:):):):):)

Patricia WA

11/02/2012That was more than twelve months ago. Fremantle again is all aglow With yellow sunflowers on the street, But with something different, soft and sweet In their smiles. But that's not all; Their leaves are greener, like a gentle shawl. Though untended, they've been watered well. There's been a storm! Oh, how the rain fell! Yet, whatever the weather there they stand, Making the best of this dry brown land. As always, TT, please critique. An experiment in this draft to use the same rhymes as in the first version. Damn, tea-time next door!

DMW

11/02/2012Hi Ad from my addled memory (oops no pun intended) to get to a 'reliable' sampling 1% of the target population needs to be polled which is one of the reasons that in some markets Radio and/or Televisions surveys were conducted over six or so weeks. The framing of questions is a difficult task at the best of times and I have some not so fond memories of a some that I did not do so well even though we were able to rescue the situation. I am not sure when, or if, the types and ways of asking questions 'degenerated' and I suspect in part it has more to do with an effort to be more efficient and cut the time needed for surveying as it has to do with any sort of desire to lead the thinking of respondents. [i]Some questions posed are clearly leading questions designed to bring about a predetermined outcome. These are illegitimate, misleading and sometimes disingenuous.[/i] I have not been following the polls closely enough to know if that is the case recently although I do recall some 'calling out' of those types of questions in 2006 - 07 (again from addled memory) and a change in the ways questions were asked by the offenders. I would fairly sure that the Possum and the Mumbler would be pretty hot on the case if it were getting to far out of hand. But I can't comment with supporting information on that aspect. In the end for me what it comes down to I don't go out of my way to find the results of the far to regular polls and I tend to ignore most articles about them although I do still keep an eye on what Possum has to say and also Mumble as I have a regard for the integrity of both of those commentators. Note I also think William Bowe has integrity but I am not a great follower of his blog for no particular reason except as I said I ain't that interested in the constant reading of those tea leaves.

Jason

11/02/2012Another rant and of course very much off topic but I'm sure Thomas the tank and friends will get over it! Sunday morning TV - February 12 #auspol Your guide to this Sunday morning's political and business interviews 8:30am Sky News 601 - Australian Agenda On Sky News Australian Agenda host Peter Van Onselen and The Australian's Dennis Shanahan, Matthew Franklin, Glenda Korporaal & Adam Creighton. Guests: Minister for Indigenous Employment & Economic Development, Minister for Sport, & Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Senator Mark Arbib and Australian Workers Union National Secretary Paul Howse. 8:38am Ch7 - Weekend Sunrise - The Riley Diary This week on the Riley Diary .... Riles is having another week off. 8:40am Ch9 - Today on Sunday - The Laurie Oakes Interview The weekly Laurie Oakes interview is in hibernation until further notice. 9:00am ABC1 & on ABC News 24 - Insiders Barrie Cassidy interviews the Climate Change and Industry Minister Greg Combet. On the panel: ABC Online’s Annabel Crabb, the Sydney Morning Herald’s David Marr and news.com.au’s Malcolm Farr. And Mike Bowers talks pictures with Fairfax photographer Andrew Meares. 10:00am ABC1 & on ABC News 24 repeated @ 5.30pm - Inside Business ... awaiting confirmation of program lineup ... 10.00am Ch10 - Canberra @ 12 noon - The Bolt Report - Check local program guides for encore performance timings later in the day Liberal Federal Liberal MP for Tangney Dr Dennis Jensen talks to Andrew Bolt. Panelists: Former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and former Labor MP John DellaBosca. Also, industrial relations expert Grace Collier. 10.30am Ch10 - Canberra @ 12:30pm - Meet the Press - Check local program guides for encore performance timings later in the day Paul Bongiorno is joined by panelists; MTR1377's Steve Price and The Australian's Patricia Karvelas. Together they interview Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Independent MP, Tony Windsor. Channel Ten PR have just advised there's no Bolt Report replay this Sunday, Feb 12, at 4:30pm due to network coverage of the Ironman Kellogg's Nutri Grain Series 2012 which airs from 2pm.

Tom of Melbourne

11/02/2012[i]” “The Labor Government is credited with shielding Australia from the worst effects of the global financial crisis by way of its stimulus measures, and its efforts are acknowledged by overseas economists. The Opposition says that the main reason Australia escaped the effects of the global financial crisis was the reforms of previous governments and that the Labor Government had wasted money and run up debts. Which of these two views do you think is most accurate.” And then give two choices: Labor Government and Opposition. ‘[/i] Interesting and very lengthy question(s) …and most respondents would say – “would you mind repeating that question… what do you mean by…?? Repeat this for each question about trade, education, foreign affairs, defense... The question you are critical of, is the same one that has been asked in opinion polls for about the past 3 decades. Only now it’s a problem (apparently), because you believe it reflects on the ALP. Professional pollsters still frame the questions, they always have.

TalkTurkey

12/02/2012 Patricia I can only applaud your choice of words but you are skating dangerously close to the edge of writing [i]Poetry![/i] I read it aloud to Jason on the phone and he survived. And I read it very well I must say, and found it to roll off my tongue perfectly mellifluously. I've only been to Freo once, and only once to Perth I recall the brown Grey Box trees, and the bright red-orange earth, The jade-leafed yellow Billy Buttons, but the colours I'd never seen Were the sparkling velvet Kangaroo Paws, richest red-and-green!

Patricia WA

12/02/2012TT, to quote someone or other, "You've made my day!" It was the echo of the first part in the second by matching the rhymes exactly which I thought might be a bit gimmicky. But since you didn't pick on that I guess it's a pass! By the way, I rather like sunflowers as a metaphor for Aussies at their best - adapting well to drought or rain. Are there ever sunflowers in Queensland? Whatever has happened to George Megs? http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/abbott-and-rudd-achieve-nothing-positive-by-undermining-pm/story-e6frg7ex-1226268106733

Lyn

12/02/2012Hi Ad Patricia and Talk Turkey look at this , The power of Poetry [i]Gina's poetic swipe at critics , Perth Now:[/i] MINING magnate Gina Rinehart has taken to penning poetry to take a swipe at her critics. Australia's wealthiest person took a leaf out of Banjo Paterson's book, writing a poem titled Our Future that trumpets the benefits of the resources industry, criticises taxation and lampoons the government. http://www.perthnow.com.au/business/ginas-poetic-swipe-at-critics/story-e6frg2qc-1226268575661 ("Some envious unthinking people have been conned To think properity is created by waving a magic wand Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much abuse is hurled Against miners, workers and related industries who strive to build the world Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government, before it is too late") [i]As her favourite commentator, Andrew Bolt would say, this material arrives without comment[/i] http://prestoninstitute.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/ginarinehartpoem/ Talk Turkey you said above "The Power of Rhyme" how true, must be if the going to be the richest person in the world is using rhyme to make her richer. Talk Turkey's words: Patricia, the power of rhyme is underestimatedly incredibly potent, especially if it's pithy. First time I can remember anybody in the MSM writing any decent rhyme though Cheers:):):):):):):):):)

TalkTurkey

12/02/2012patricia, I didn't pick on the repetition but I certainly picked up on it, it felt good as I said it and it was to repeat the verse from a year earlier, it is not a gimmick it is a [i]device[/i]. See that's why I said you were getting perilously proximate to penning [i]poetry[/i]. Dog forbid! You do do tongue-in-cheek I hope! As for the Sunflowers I hope you weren't thinking they were native . . ? . . Because though I don't know their origin they ain't from roun' these parts. 'Spose I could go looking but I'd guess the Americas, not Aussie anyway. The seeds fall off trucks and grow along the roadsides but they don't adapt to undisturbed land. They don't spread their seeds (too heavy, no dispersal system) and they are gutsed by all manner of seed-eaters, don't last well in the weather either, so they don't usually go to a second generation. If you see them in the same place next year, it's probably because the same trucks go the same route same time with same load of seeds each year spilling new ones. [Bloody olives do invade, they take over from established native bush the bastards. Their big viable seeds are spread by birds everywhere. They are all over the Adelaide Hills, mark the Gobble of the Turkey, I see a disaster in the making in more ways than one with these horrible feral olives, both bushfire fury and the unstoppable invasion of native scrub.] As for whether there are ever sunflowers in Queensland, I can't see from here, I live in Adelaide yeah. They sure happen a lot here. Giant sunflowers too, have you seen them I bet? I'll post this, think about Mega later, as for Ms Rindlard Lyn I can see she and I would be compatible because we share a love of poetry, I can see us now in our little lovenest tenderly reading each other our latest Odes to Super Riches, oh stfu Turkey, [i]blurrrrk! [/i]

Lyn

12/02/2012Good Morning Ad Just imagine in your wildest dreams what would the MSM say if this was a Labor candidate. Liberal Party's desperation on display:- [i]Libs shed credibility in fight , Lisa Silmalis and Lucas Townsend, The Telegraph[/i] [b]A LIBERAL Party candidate elected to oust Labor MP Craig Thomson in the Seat of Dobell [/b]is under pressure to resign after he was found to be living illegally in a shed A council source claimed Mr Whitaker had been living in the shed for several years. It is understood he has a development application approved by Wyong Shire Council to build a house on the property. It is also understood he has subsequently relocated to a caravan at Toowoon Bay Holiday Park. A LIBERAL Party candidate elected to oust Labor MP Craig Thomson in the Seat of Dobell is under pressure to resign after he was found to be living illegally in a shed. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/libs-shed-credibility-in-fight/story-e6freuy9-1226268660849 Cheers:):):):):):)

Ad astra reply

12/02/2012Hi Lyn The humorous story of the Liberal candidate for Dobell featured on [i]Insiders[/i] this morning, which as you observed still spent a lot of time on leadership speculation. You would have noticed too that much of the speculation emanated from polling outcomes. Although the panellists seemed sure that Kevin Rudd had informed some of the press gallery he would make a challenge when Julia Gillard ‘stumbled’, they still saw the adverse polling as the main reason she was vulnerable. Polling continues to raise its ugly head, even although everyone knows about its drawbacks and its doubtful predictive power two years out from an election. I thought Greg Combet performed well, even in the face of some pitiable questioning by Barrie Cassidy. I’ve got some maintenance work to do this morning; I’ll be back later.

2353

12/02/2012Jason said [i]Channel Ten PR have just advised there's no Bolt Report replay this Sunday, Feb 12, at 4:30pm due to network coverage of the Ironman Kellogg's Nutri Grain Series 2012 which airs from 2pm.[/i] - I never thought I be saying "bring on the Televised Ironman contest :D. It proves there is good in everything!

TalkTurkey

12/02/2012Well Blindsiders was pretty close to all-time trivial low today. It makes me sick to think about. Ruddstoration for about a third of it. Complete tripe. Flogging a stinking dead horse. As if Labor would do that now! What, you fools, and deliver government to Abbortt now, instead of winning in late 2013? It is the most incomprehensibly stupid conjecture I can remember. Though the execrable Cassidy, who gets worse every show, made it clear today : Wtte 'She can ever get rid of the conjecture, the Media won't let that happen!' He said it with an expression and inflection of determined attitude. HE wasn't going to let speculation die for one! The program spent a lot of time on Slipper too. Only the trivial aspects though. Far call matters of substance. They are pathetic. Judging for the number of commenters on Poll Bludger - surely the lowest for a Lopsiders ever! - [i]and by a factor of about twenty! (at a rough guess)[/i] - people have almost completely lost interest in it. Congratulations ABC, you have on the brink of achieving your goal of emasculating your own organisation completely to make way for Australia's becoming Rindlard Palmhair Corporation. Not long now. Go Global Mail Folks. Cassidy even trying to say *J*U*L*I*A* was crying for sympathy over sexism . . . At least Marr and Crabb denied that that was what she was doing, then Marr said sexist treatment doesn't happen to her anyway.

Lyn

12/02/2012Hi Ad Thankyou for measured report on the Insiders this morning, I did mine but it's a bit scrambled: I have to give up watching The Insiders, because I keep butting in and then can’t hear what they are saying. Annabel takes the lead, Barrie Cassidy tries to ruffle Greg Combet and fails. Julia can’t ignore Kevin Rudd, the media won't allow it", Barrie said, is he part of the media just saying Karl Stefanovic slaps Abbott smack, smack, good for Karl, if they get a surplus we will get a surplus, Abbott how stupid . Malcolm Turnbull speaks a lot of common sense.. if you want to lose weight, just eat less! Malcolm in waiting. A MISLEADING REPORT ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE AUSTRALIAN?, now that’s different Cheers:):):):):):)

DMW

12/02/2012[b][i]Mick's Mix[/i][/b] The Sunday Swan Song Edition No, you won't find any out of tune ditties from the treasurer here [i][b]From the Newspapers ... ... What the Front Pages are saying... [/i][/b] Today the Front Pages come to you from [i]Front Pages Today[/i] http://goo.gl/enTjx [b]The Sunday Age[/b] http://goo.gl/ZksS3 She's just an equine freak Backlash Against Big Four [b]The Sunday Telegraph[/b] http://goo.gl/uizVi "I'm gay" Top Ref's Brave Revelation $1 Million Coppers - Huge payouts to offload sick officers [b]The Sun Herald[/b] http://goo.gl/HL4NX The Visitor - As they sleep, the state's most wanted fugitive shares their homes Go on, ditch your bank, says PM [b]The Sunday Mail[/b] http://goo.gl/5tGei Families Living In Fear - Household burglaries out of control [b][i]... and the articles ...[/i][/b] [b]Suicide among children as young as 11 at alarming levels[/b] Russell Skelton @TheAge [i]GIRLS as young as 11 are committing suicide at an unprecedented rate in Northern Territory indigenous communities where family violence is rife. Dr Howard Bath, the territory's outspoken Children's Commissioner, told The Saturday Age this week that girls now account for a previously unheard of 40 per cent of all suicides of children under the age of 17.[/i] http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/suicide-among-children-as-young-as-11-at-alarming-levels-20120210-1smh0.html [b]Qld Labor will lose every seat: Palmer[/b] Petrina Berry, AAP @TheAge [i]Labor will lose all its seats at the Queensland election, mining magnate Clive Palmer is predicting. "The Labor party won't win one seat. That's what I predict," Mr Palmer, the billionaire bankroller of the Liberal National Party (LNP), told reporters on Saturday.[/i] http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-national/qld-labor-will-lose-every-seat-palmer-20120211-1sy0e.html [b]Holy Massive Akubras! Bob Katter's got a big red double-decker Katmobile![/b] AAP @news.com.au [i]BOB Katter's Australian Party will will tour Queensland on a red London double-decker bus dubbed the "Katmobile". Mr Katter and party candidates unveiled the eye-catching Katter's Australian Party (KAP) bus at the fledgling party's first convention in Brisbane[/i] http://www.news.com.au/national/bob-katter-unleashes-the-katmobile-for-australia-partys-queensland-tour/story-e6frfkvr-1226268548308 [b]Katter the poll dancer[/b] Amy Remeikis@SMH [i]WHEN it comes to dancing, Bob Katter, as in politics and life, marches to the beat of his own drum. The colourful leader of the Katter Australian Party - the fun party, he proclaimed - led 57 of his 65 Queensland election candidates in a flash mob outside Parliament House in Brisbane yesterday.[/i] http://www.smh.com.au/national/katter-the-poll-dancer-20120211-1sylr.html#ixzz1m7b37a00 [b]Voters will see benefits flowing from Labor ahead of next election, says Arbib[/b] Ben Packham @The Aus (Free) [i]ASSISTANT Treasurer Mark Arbib has declared Labor still has time to win the next election, saying voters will start to see greater benefits flowing to them under the Gillard government. The Labor Right powerbroker, who played a key role in helping Julia Gillard overthrow Kevin Rudd, said he remained "100 per cent" behind the Prime Minister and believed she would lead the government when it went to the polls. "She is the best person to lead the Labor Party," he said.[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/voters-will-see-benefits-flowing-from-labor-ahead-of-next-election-says-arbib/story-fn59niix-1226268826394 [b][i]... and from the Opinion Makers ...[/i][/b] [b]How fiscal policy does and doesn't work[/b] Ross Gittins @hisblog [i]It's remarkable that the politicians of Europe and America are making things much worse for themselves and their people because they've unlearnt the economic lessons of the past 70 years. Economists spent many years studying what policymakers did wrong in the Great Depression of the 1930s, making it much worse than it needed to be. One well-understood lesson was not to try to get the government budget back into balance too quickly.[/i] http://www.rossgittins.com/2012/02/how-fiscal-policy-does-and-doesnt-work.html [b]Rudd unveils his lucky charm[/b] Michelle Grattan @SMH [i]KEVIN RUDD is master of the professional embrace. Out on the hustings it's a matter of greet 'em, grab 'em, get close for the shot, and then move on quickly. Campaigning in the Queensland election yesterday, in just two hours - which included a yum cha meal - Mr Rudd posed dozens of times for photos in a march through a shopping mall and three Asian restaurants.[/i] http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/rudd-unveils-his-lucky-charm-20120211-1sydq.html#ixzz1m7buwz00 [b][i]... and some Blogs ...[/i][/b] [b]Think tanks: Independent does not mean objective[/b] @Drag0nista's Blog [i]Somewhere along the way, in the debate of public policy issues, we seem to have forgotten that “independent” does not necessarily mean “objective”. Think tanks in particular are the guiltiest in using this sleight of hand. In stressing that they are independent scholarly organisations, think tanks attempt to lay claim to a higher moral ground that comes from academic objectivity.[/i] http://dragonistasblog.com/2012/02/11/think-tanks-independent-does-not-mean-objective/ [b]Meg'a Blog about Saturday's Article: Why an early election is not in the national interest[/b] http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/meganomics/index.php/theaustralian/comments/why_an_early_election_is_not_in_the_national_interest/#commentsmore [b]Our Future in Poetry – Gina Rinehart[/b] Preston Towers @ThePresttonInstitute [i]Today’s blog is dedicated to our newest poet, Gina Rinehart, who has produced a protest poem, Our Future. It was put on a plaque and set in stone. Here is the poem: ...[/i] http://prestoninstitute.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/ginarinehartpoem/ Well Swordsfolk this is the last and final Mick's Mix It has been a pleasure having had you know us [i]So long and thanks for the fish[/i]

Lyn

12/02/2012Hi Talk Turkey [i]Wtte 'She can ever get rid of the conjecture, the Media won't let that happen,[/i] they think they are funny. Comedy gold but you know what is pure comedy gold, you and Gina sitting together writing poetry. You should take up painting Talk Turkey because you sure paint a funny picture. [i]Ms Rindlard Lyn I can see she and I would be compatible because we share a love of poetry, I can see us now in our little lovenest tenderly reading each other our latest Odes to Super Riches,[/i] Cheers:):):):):):):):):):):):)

2353

12/02/2012DMW - I'm sorry to see the passing of Mick's Mix. I hope it also doesn't indicate your withdrawl from this blog

DMW

12/02/2012Hi 2353, thanks for the condolences. As I have been anointed this blog's leading trouble maker I am choosing to no longer create trouble and forthwith will refrain from commenting. It has been a pleasure typing with you and many others here. This will be my last comment here for the foreseeable future and, while some may see that as sad, there are others who will take great joy. [i]So long and thanks for the fish[/i] Oh, and 2353, keep blowing steam and toot tooting :)

NormanK

12/02/2012DMW You will be sorely missed. Thanks for the tussles of the last twelve months or so. Is there a trend emerging here? :(

2353

12/02/2012DMW said [i]"Oh, and 2353, keep blowing steam and toot tooting"[/i]. I will - but the way the ideologues are taking over this blog it may be elsewhere sooner rather than later.

TalkTurkey

12/02/2012From Ian on Poll Bludger, I'm posting it all because it says pretty well precisely what I think too. Well done Ian you are one of the best. Posted Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink I, like most here, can be either fascinated/bored/ pissed off with all the leadership speculation. It’s got to the point of high farce, exactly what those hiding in the shadows pulling the strings of Mr Rudds ego have planned I guess. To all the parties I say this….because we know your reps read PB. To Ms Gillard……Prime Minister of Australia. I would imagine that your natural, understandable reaction to all this is to fight and fight harder than they would expect you to. Don’t. They are not worth the effort. They are trying to distract you from the only matter of importance. The governance of this country. Why they do so is a matter for their concsience and should only be of passing interest to any who care for this country. Many people, Prime Minister, wish to bring you down. Many people don’t like you. Those organising all of this have much going for them. They can hide in shadows; comfortable in the knowledge that the light will fall on the expendable. They can snipe from the safety of darkness. They can entrench the lies and innuendo into the news of the day. Ignore them, bat them away as one would an annoying march fly. Yes, they can sting every now and then, but it doesn’t last, and there are no after effects. Perhaps only a quiet, gentle musing as to their usefulness to the human condition. Please understand, Prime Minister, that none of these people/plotters have an understanding of the strength it takes to make hard, occasionally heart wrenching, decisions. Decisions that go directly to the welfare of 23 million citizens. They need to get rid of you because you have the courage to put yourself on the line. To face to the unrelenting, viscious negativity of an overly pretentious press gallery. That you face up to these smarmy spivs and lickspittles on a daily basis is more testament to your honest character than to any intelligence or talent they may wish to possess. They wish to replace you because you are doing things, NBN, MRRT, Carbon Tax just to mention a few. You are wrecking their plans. Government is not supposed to work as well as your Govt. does, espescially in a hung parliament. Which is why you must go……and why it is so essential to the welfare of this country that you don’t. I know it’s not much, but I’ll help you as much as I can. [HEAR HEAR and Me Too! TT] To Mr Rudd….former Prime Minister. Stop what you’re doing mate, and stop it now. You’re never going to Prime Minister of this country again. I really admired you when took over the leadership of the Labor Party. Even moreso when you Prime Minister Howard to flight. He really is a despicable Australian. The worst of us parading around as the best of us. Disgraceful. That you put him to flight is an achievment that legends are made from. Do really want to destroy that? Do you wish to lose not only the votes of supporters such as myself, but also our respect? Everyone has an opinion on your tenure as Prime Minister….here is mine. You stuffed up the chance to be a great PM because you listened not only to your ego but those whose interest was in feeding it. You decided that the Prime Ministership was secondary to the politics. That to be universally loved, admired and respected is giving lovely speeches and appearing to great mates with the towering intellects found on morning television. You appear to have avoided any hard decisions until you had the lay of the political land. It seems to me that the Australian people came a very poor second to Kevin Rudds ego. Please understand that self absorbed egos’ are not capable of making hard decisions. Decisions that have short term personal pain but benefit the country. Strength of character can make such decisions…..untrammelled egos’ cannot and will never be able to. Before you challenge I would ask that you do one honourable act…….release Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Lindsay Tanner, John Faulkner and all the others from cabinet confidentiality regarding the night of your removal. Let the chips fall where they may? Stop it now Mr.Rudd. The only losers are the Australian people. You already know who the winners will be. >[And bloody Amen to that, KR, I have no hard evidence to make me sure you are at the bottom of all this BS, but if you are, [i]what are you?[/i] A working class hero is something to be, a Labor traitor is definitely something [i]not[/i] to be. TT ]

Ad astra reply

12/02/2012DMW Thank you for all the editions of Mick’s Media Mix you have contributed over the end-of-year break. You have provided for us a rich source of informative links while Lyn was taking a break, which have been much appreciated. Having worked with Lyn for some years, I am aware how much time it takes to search for material and then to assemble it for posting. Lyn takes many hours every day. I’m sure you found the same, especially when you posted more than one edition in a day. So I can understand your decision to take a break from MMM, and hope that it will be only a break, and that you will return refreshed with links to news items in the papers and the Front Pages, which were most interesting. The combination of Lyn focussing on political blog sites and you on newspapers was, and still could be a useful symbiosis. If you decide to return with MMM, you will be welcome. I would be disappointed if you no longer visited us here with your comments. You are part of the [i]TPS[/i] family and you would be missed if you left. You perceive you have been ‘anointed chief trouble maker’. I respect your perception, but do not share it. It takes more than one to tango; sadly there have been disagreements between some who blog here that have escalated to an uncomfortable level. I have tried to quieten these skirmishes but that has not always been easy. We all feel passionate about politics, but when that passion boils over into personal comments about other bloggers, not only do people become irritable with each other, but also the focus of the site – Federal politics – is lost. So we ought not to get into ‘angry mode’, or ‘blame mode’ or ‘guilty mode’ or ‘defensive mode’. All I ask is that bloggers focus on the politics and avoid personal references to other bloggers, because that so easily evokes retaliatory remarks and the pot soon boils over. 2353 believes ‘ideologues are taking over the blog’. As the sole owner of [i]TPS[/i], I am not prepared to have the site taken over by anyone, ideologues or otherwise. [i]TPS[/i] is a venue for those who wish to express an opinion on Federal politics, one where disagreements can be had so long as they are courteous and respectful of other bloggers. Every visitor is entitled to come and go as they please. I trust your decision not to comment here will be but a temporary one. Finally, thank you again for your splendid contribution to the life of [i]The Political Sword[/i].

gun

12/02/2012Hi I first read this poem in around 1970, hope you enjoy everyone Sometime when you're feeling important; Sometime when your ego's in bloom Sometime when you take it for granted You're the best qualified in the room, Sometime when you feel that your going Would leave an unfillable hole, Just follow these simple instructions And see how they humble your soul; Take a bucket and fill it with water, Put your hand in it up to the wrist, Pull it out and the hole that's remaining Is a measure of how you will be missed. You can splash all you wish when you enter, You may stir up the water galore, But stop and you'll find that in no time It looks quite the same as before. The moral of this quaint example Is do just the best that you can, Be proud of yourself but remember, There's no indispensable man. by Saxon N. White Kessinger, Copyright 1959

Ad astra reply

12/02/2012TT Thank you for posting Ian’s comments from PB. All I can say is ‘Hear hear’.

Patricia WA

12/02/2012Just arrived and found DMW leaving us, and calling himself our [i]leading troublemaker[/i]! And talking of [i]'idealogues'[/i] winning out. That's lost me, just as feisty, but frazzled FS labelling herself a [i]troublemaker[/i] was a nonsense too. Dear Mick Weir, we may disagree with your one strongly expressed opinion about the Gillard government, but that doesn't mean all of us want to see you gone! Your work on the print media has been much appreciated and you clearly put a great deal of work into your research, sometimes perhaps at the expense of your own priorities. If so, that could have become a real burden for you, particularly if you didn't feel appreciated. I am sorry if you mistakenly feel that's the case. Yes, many of us are whole hearted supporters of this Gillard government and some of us go overboard about the Prime Minister. I am not sure if that makes us fanatics or idealogues. You didn't seem to think so about six months ago. Do you remember this? [i]We bloggers at The Political Sword Have been accused by disgruntled readers Of being a leftie cheer squad. That’s true! Here we are, relaxing! Its leaders!.... .....Here we are all in red. That white A makes clear Ad Astra’s the big boss, pictured right. He calls the tune, tells us when to cheer, And moves on rabble rousers hoping for a fight. [/i] Remember these comments? [i]D [b]Mick Weir,[/b] 17/05/11, geez, what a gorgeous bunch of shielas, cor blimey, in a different life I could cosy up to all of em :) [i]Feral Skeleton,[/i] 17/05/011, Thank You. ‘Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves!’ ........ [/i] Ad Astra is still here, moving on rabble rousers and always courteously acknowledging your efforts and of others who are part of what I think of as the TPS family. Both you and FS were part of that. Still are, in my mind. Lively and interesting familes often get fractious with each other, particularly when overtired or stretched.

Ad astra reply

12/02/2012Folks I invite you to read what Tom of Melbourne had to say at 11.56 pm last night, because there are several important issues about polls his comment uncover. First, he suspects that I think the style of questions in the polls (about issues other than voting intentions and popularity) is a problem ‘because I believe (apparently) it reflects on Labor’. Wrong. In the ‘What party is best to manage the economy’ stakes, Labor has been ahead, but the Coalition usually is, and still is now. More about that later. No, it’s not who is ahead, it’s whether the question is structured to elicit the best quality information. ToM rightly points out that this style of question has been around for three decades, and has been constructed by professional pollsters. But does this make them ‘right’ or the best we can do? I submit that this style of brief question is used because superficially it seems simple, and perhaps more importantly it has been used before and therefore serves as a basis for comparison, something pollsters value highly. If this is the main reason for using such ‘simple’ questions, we may be stuck with them. Let me pose a question to you. If I were to poll the Australian public with the ‘simple’ question: “Which country has the best cricket team – Australia, England, India or Sri Lanka?”, I imagine all except fervent cricket aficionados would vote ‘Australia’ as everyone knows we are a great cricketing nation. Devoted cricket followers though might ask “What do you mean”? Best at what form of the game? They might reflect that we had slipped to fourth place on the ICC world cricketing scale, and are now back at three. They might find it difficult to give an accurate unqualified answer – in the same way that thoughtful people might find the pollster’s simple, or more correctly simplistic, questions difficult to answer accurately. There’s another point here – the effect of stereotypical thinking. In the same way that the average citizen might select Australia as the country with the best cricket team – after all everyone knows that – I believe the average citizen would be likely to select the Coalition as the best party to manage the economy – after all ‘everyone knows that’, despite the sterling recent track record of the Labor party. Stereotypical thinking overrides experience, even very recent experience. This is another reason that I question the validity of this type of question, and suggest that higher quality and more reliable evidence could be derived from more detailed questions, such as I have suggested, questions less subject to the ambiguity general questions foster. In the past, questions along these lines have been used, and in my view have given superior information. I can’t point you to an example, but I seem to remember the [i]Essential Poll[/i] using this type of explicit question. Finally, ToM suggests that the long form of the question would evoke ‘Would you mind repeating the question’. It might, so what does the interviewer do? Repeat the question. Of course that might not suit the polling organization that is paying the interviewer, or perhaps the interviewer who might be paid per interview. As anyone who has carried out social research knows, eliciting useful and reliable information is tedious and costly, and time consuming to solicit and analyse. So it boils down to what pollsters want. Quality information that gives insight into how the electorate is really thinking, or quick and dirty information that doesn’t cost too much, but makes a good story for journalists? I think we know the answer.

Patricia WA

12/02/2012TT, no I didn't think sunflowers were native, not like your lovely kangaroo paws! I've managed to have some of those growing in my garden that match your description. They are magnificent, aren't they! Some years they're more spectacular than others. I've gathered lots of seeds apart from the many that I've just left on the ground which haven't self generated. I understand that seeds need some particular soil and weather conditions. Can you help? Re sunflowers - what I meant was that like most Aussies they are imports, they're great migrants from all over, originally North America and then to Italy and Mediterranean parts, whence here, where they survive well in our even greater extremes of climate. But if they really don't thrive in the wet, like Queensland, there goes my theory.

TalkTurkey

12/02/2012Patricia A decade or so ago some botanists in Adelaide cracked the code of what makes many types of Australian native seeds germinate, it had always been known that bushfires did, (but to start a bushfire to make seeds grow is a major escalation from the discovery of roast pork in China, do yous know that story? Anyway they found that it wasn't the heat of the fire so much cracking the seeds, as was thought, it has to do with the [i]smoke[/i]! So they actually sell smoke water for that purpose! [i]But there was something anomalous about Kangaroo Paws in particualr - it didn't work for them [/i]- I do remember only vaguely, but it has something to do with [i]cyanide[/i] I seem to think. Anyway they've cracked it now, result there's splendid different-coloured cultivars of KP's all around Adelaide now, hardy, not messy, spectacular, they grow wherever the Councils want 'em it seems. But I'll look up what it was that was special that the kangaroo-paws needed, I reckon I heard it on the ABC Science Show but I'm interested now. Tell you later.

Miglo

12/02/2012Ad Astra, I think that opinion polls poison us all.

TalkTurkey

13/02/2012[Hardly on thread Ad, sorry . . . but my memory was OK this time too.] Patricia Wednesday, 22 June 2011 In work that could aid regeneration of bushfire-affected landscapes, it has been found that the germination of seeds of the red and green kangaroo paw - Western Australia's floral emblem - are greatly stimulated by the poison cyanide. ARC Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Gavin Flematti and colleagues of The University of Western Australia's School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences, along with collaborators from Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Murdoch University, have discovered that cyanide plays a crucial role in promoting the germination of dormant seeds in soil following a bushfire. In work published today in Nature Communications, Dr Flematti and colleagues report for the first time an ecological role for cyanide in seed germination. "We found when plants burn, they produce a substance that, after rain, hydrolyses to release cyanide. We realised that cyanide is an important cue in landscape regeneration after fires, in a diverse range of fire-responsive plant species from different continents," Dr Flematti said. "Cyanide is well known for its toxicity towards many organisms, and it's known that many plants use it as a defence against herbivores but, until now, we hadn't understood its role in plant growth and ecosystem regeneration. "Many terrestrial ecosystems are subject to cycles of fire and regeneration, suggesting that this role of cyanide must have helped to shape the evolution of land plants, landscapes and whole ecosystems." Dr Flematti, along with Professor Emilio Ghisalberti, had also discovered the role of [b]karrikins[/b], a class of compounds in bushfire smoke that also promote germination. [i]However, the kangaroo paw is a species that does not respond to karrikins[/i]. "We now find that many plant species respond to both karrikins and cyanide, while some respond to only one, such as the kangaroo paw," Dr Flematti said.

Patricia WA

13/02/2012Kangaroo paws tomorrow. Tonight have been burning the midnight oil! For illustrated version with notes go to http://polliepomes.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/chance-is-a-fine-thing-opportunity-is-better/ But as I promised here is TPS's early edition! [b] Chance Is A Fine Thing. Opportunity Is Better.[/b] Another time, another place, Or if they’d been a different race, Their youngest child might not survive. Well, here she is alive, Living in prosperity. This girl-child’s father and her mother Had no constraint to smother Her, or have to run and hide While waiting for a ride To hope, across an open sea. Their little one, weak in her chest, Was able still to pass the test For passage to Australia. No risk there of failure - An ideal migrant family! That child is grown and powerful now. I’m sure she stops to ponder how It happened, and what would have become Of her if, not a ten pound Pom, She’d been instead a refugee. Not surprising then or sinister She’s become a Prime Minister Determined not to leave to chance Her life’s clear mission; to advance Australians to fair and equal opportunity.

Jaeger

13/02/2012Another good article, AA. Another dose of poison (dutifully parroted by Their ABC, including JJJ): http://www.skynews.com.au/businessnews/article.aspx?id=717715&vId= I assume this is backlash for wanting to means test the private health insurance rebate; no one in their right mind would choose magic puddings, $70B black holes and no policies over proven economic credentials.

2353

13/02/2012So how do we get the media to report the Margin of Error as well as the questions so that any intended or unintended bias can be disclosed - regardless of the the intent of the poll company?

lyn

13/02/2012 [b]TODAY’S LINKS[/b] [i]Chance Is A FineThing, But Opportunity Is Better, Patriciawa, Polliepomes[/i] Opinion polls aside, it hardly seems humane to allow an exploitative and cruel trade to flourish which causes the deaths of so many desperate people. I think our Prime Minister http://polliepomes.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/chance-is-a-finething-but-opportunity-is-better/ [i]Our Future in Poetry – Gina Rinehart, Preston Towers, The Preston Institute[/i] Today’s blog is dedicated to our newest poet, Gina Rinehart, who has produced a protest poem, Our Future. It was put on a plaque and set in stone. Here is the poem http://prestoninstitute.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/ginarinehartpoem/ [i]Parliamentary Pomp In The Land Down Under, Mike Seccombe, Global Mail[/i] The original British black rod was so named because its staff was made of strong black ebony. When Australia got its own federal government 111 years ago, it copied the tradition. http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/parliamentary-pomp-in-the-land-down-under/46/ [i]Julie Bishop; Channelling the Prime Minister, The Curmudgeons Magazine[/i] the Prime Minister didn’t get to where she is by being just a Blonde having fun. She is a Power Ranga, a striking redhead who is not ashamed to use her talent and her ability http://archiearchive.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/julie-bishop-channelling-the-prime-minister/ [i]Mr JENKINS (Scullin) (10:22): I will not delay the House greatly on this motion, Australian Governent[/i] The member for Lyne gets blamed for lots of things that happen here. I was not going to enter this debate, but he made a very worthwhile comment about something that is not contained http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;db=CHAMBER;id=chamber%2Fhansardr% [i]Declining Expectations and Greed, Wayne Brookes, Curiosity and Challenge[/i] The sense of entitlement in Australia is almost beyond control, penalties for instance are being demanded for absolutely everything from overtime to working in the sun, rain, smelly http://wrb330.wordpress.com/ [i]Fundamentalist Liberalism; or, the Revenge of Centrism, Dylan Caporn, The Body Politic – Australia[/i] The obsession the Left now has with pragmatism (think: focus groups, mass-media polling…) has to be given up. Perhaps a good place to start would be with another round of ‘history wars’. http://bodypoliticaus.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/fundamentalist-liberalism-or-the-revenge-of-centrism/ [i]Nostalgianomics and the ongoing rewriting of economic history, Bernard Keane, Crikey[/i] Hockey went further, not merely failing to mention the events of 2008-09 at all — the government’s stimulus programs were instead “the greatest waste of taxpayers’ money http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/02/10/nostalgianomics-and-the-ongoing-rewriting-of-economic-history/ [i]What Welfare- Providing a Bed for Private Health Insurance, Preston Towers, The Preston Institute[/i] As a result of the Howard Government’s largesse, we are still paying many billions of dollars each year for various forms of middle class welfare like the private health insurance rebate. http://prestoninstitute.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/privatehealthinsurance/ [i]The Insiders – your News limited ABC is back, Utherssay[/i] Based on so little evidence, and challenged by common sense, every column and minute spent on Rudd’s “inevitable” challenge is a wonderful ploy to contribute to “Labor not able to get its message across”. It is also helpful in taking away legitimate scrutiny from the opposition. http://utherssay.com/2012/02/11/40-the-insiders-%E2%80%93-your-news-limited-abc-is-back/ [i]The Last Days Of Tony Abbott, Bob Ellis[/i] These are fluid times. But the one certain thing is that Abbott cannot now win, and the Liberal Party habit of sacking as leader a one-time loser will again reassert itself http://www.ellistabletalk.com/2012/02/10/the-last-days-of-tony-abbott/ [i]Blast from the past: Julia more than just a paragraph, time Australia to stop hiding behind old-fashioned men, Miglo, Café Whispers[/i] I was looking at some of our old blogs from 2010 and I came across this one from Nasking which is just as topical today as it was at the time it was originally written http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/blast-from-the-past-julia-more-than-just-a-paragraph-time-australia-to-stop-hiding-behind-old-fashioned-men/ [i]A Message To Everyone Who Talks About Fiscal Policy and the Budget, Stephen Koukoulas[/i]. I'm getting sick and tired of seeing people write about fiscal policy, tax, government spending and the Budget without any appreciation of the facts http://stephenkoukoulas.blogspot.com.au/ [i]But you told me interest rates were going lower !….”, Nicholas Arrand [/i] There are numerous arguments to be made in both directions regarding monetary policy. But the upshot in my mind, and the answer to my mate’s exclamation, is that local interest http://nicholasarrand.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/but-you-told-me-interest-rates-were-going-lower/ [i]Ross Gittins | Why health cover needs no subsidies, CPD Org[/i]. There are few remaining points of ideological difference between the two major parties. When it comes to the funding of healthcare, particularly private health insurance, http://cpd.org.au/2012/02/ross-gittins-why-health-cover-needs-no-subsidies/ [i]How to detect a closet NLP supporter – even without a secret handshake. , The Magpie’s Nest[/i] Gunna Newman came over all sooky and blubby when declining to debate Premier Blight unless she promised not to say nasty things about him and his family finances. SMACK and double SMACK. http://www.townsvillemagpie.com.au/ [i]Katter’s power plan still on table, This Other Life[/i] THE Gillard government is keeping open the prospect of a $335 million grant for Queensland independent Bob Katter’s CopperString power project, even though it has failed http://www.thisotherlife.net/html/771.html [i]Australian Clive Palmer looks to make billions from Papua New Guinea gas, Papua New Guinea Mine Watch[/i] Describing PNG as “the promised land”, Palmer said: “If we find gas, we develop it and make billions of dollars out of it. First we are looking at reserves, then the cost of extracting, http://ramumine.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/australian-clive-palmer-looks-to-make-billions-from-papua-new-guinea-gas/?blogsub=confirming#blog_subscription-3 [i]Rinehart vs the media: “disappointed and surprised” mining magnate had her climate change denial edited, Watching The Deniers[/i] I think we can say with little doubt they found their “Angel funder” with Rinehart. However it concerns me greatly that cranks like Monckton and Nova – and Bolt – are having such a profound influence on Australia’s media. http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/rinehart-vs-the-media/ [i]Gina Rinehart’s threat to the proud independence of Australia’s Fairfax newspapers, Antinuclear[/i] In 2007 she placed fullpage ads in The Age and SMH against then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s proposed mining tax. That campaign ended with the removal of Rudd andthe collapse of the tax. http://antinuclear.net/2012/02/11/gina-rineharts-threat-to-the-proud-independence-of-australias-fairfax-newspapers/ [b]Video:-[/b] [i]Video of Meet The Press Channel 10 and The Bolt Report[/i] Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and independent Tony Windsor appeared on Meet The Press. Liberal Dennis Jensen appeared on The Bolt Report, Grace Collier discussed industrial relations, whilst John Della Bosca and Alexander Downer discussed the political week http://australianpolitics.com/2012/02/12/sunday-talk-shows.html [i]This week on the Insiders, Barrie Cassidy[/i] The first parliamentary week started with Julia Gillard saying she wanted a year-long debate on the economy and Tony Abbott replying, 'make my day'. But once they got into the bear pit, those lofty ambitions quickly disappeared. http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/content/2012/s3428663.htm [i]The Comeback Kid?, $ Corners Monday at 8.30pm[/i] Next on Four Corners, "The Comeback Kid?" The inside story of the Federal Government in crisis; how the Labor Party went from the heights of popularity to the depths of political despair. http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2012/02/10/3427070.htm [i]Channel 7: Gillard refuses to comment on media ban, Julia Gillard Julia Gillard, media ban, Prime Minister[/i] http://australianpoliticstv.org/2012/02/11/channel-7-gillard-refuses-to-comment-on-media-ban/ [i]ABC- Where are the Liberals in Port Adelaide and Ramsay[/i]- http://australianpoliticstv.org/ [i]Queensland Votes: New poll declares Kate Jones closing the gap in Ashgrove[/i] Campbell Newman, election, Kate Jones, opinion polls, Queensland, Queensland Votes http://australianpoliticstv.org/2012/02/11/queensland-votes-new-poll-declares-kate-jones-closing-the-gap-in-ashgrove/ [i]ABC: Government blamed for bank rates rises, Abbott[/i] http://australianpoliticstv.org/2012/02/11/abc-government-blamed-for-bank-rates-rises/ [i]Our Future by Gina Rinehart , You Tube[/i] Poetry by Gina Rinehart about Our Future http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-K3jjlufzg&feature=youtu.be

Ad astra reply

13/02/2012LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/LYNS-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

TalkTurkey

13/02/2012[b][u]"Our Future" [/u][/b] (a Po. . . er, ugh, [i]aarrrgh[/i] [i][b][u]Blurrrrrrrrrrrrrkkk[/u][/b][/i]) Ahhh that's better sorry folks now where was I, [u]"Our Future"[/u] by Gyna Rindlard The globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife And billions now are pleading to enjoy a better life Their hope lies with resources buried deep within the earth And the enterprise and capital which give each project worth Is our future threatened with massive debts run up by political hacks Who dig themselves out by unleashing rampant tax The end result is sending Australian investment, growth and jobs offshore This type of direction is harmful to our core Some envious unthinking people have been conned To think properity [sic? :)] is created by waving a magic wand Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much abuse is hurled Against miners, workers and related industries who strive to build the world Develop North Australia, embrace multiculturalism and welcome short term foreign workers to our shores To benefit from the export of our minerals and ores The world’s poor need our resources: do not leave them to their fate Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government, before it is too late. [b][i]And in riposte, from the Red Pill blog, this:[/i][/b] (Thank you Ranga Gravatar person :) ) This poem is in response to the poem shared by Gina Rinehart. She had it engraved on a plaque fixed to a 30-tonne iron ore boulder. It’s really, quite- horrible. However it did inspire me to respond in a way I wouldn’t have anticipated so it’s not all bad. My response to “Gina’s poetic swipe at critics”: *clears throat* The globe isn’t groaning because of debt, poverty and strife She’s groaning because of those who think Her destruction improves life Billions are certainly suffering, but it’s often corporate greed And propagandists like you, Gina who are conning those in need The idea that capital and enterprise are somehow the solution Is an insult to the thousands of years of indigenous evolution And now we’re so in love with “growth” we’ve started to worship it By convincing each other we can only survive by making and selling shit Pardon the pun but it’s rich, saying prosperity is the plan When you’re worried sharing wealth with Aussies will ruin your little scam Stop bleating and whining about contributing to Oz via the mining tax And did you suggest you’ll conquer racism making money off migrant backs?? Our future can only be threatened by huge and massive debts When our societies all function on corporate casinos placing bets So please, Gina Rinehart, put away your [b]poetic sword[/b] Because your ill-conceived ranting is offensive and ugh, grossly flawed… [u][b]NOW WATCH THIS[/b][/u]! :) From [i]HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy[/i] http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=vogon%20poetry&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CFUQtwIwBA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DIxPeIiU2kx4&ei=LDk4T42hHJCjiQedoZmMAg&usg=AFQjCNGziWMxpoNNc8BR9KxF6CDzsuwoTQ “Vogon poetry is of course, the third worst in the universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their poet master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem [b]"Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning"[/b] :) four of his audience died of internal haemorrhaging and the president of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos was reported to have been "disappointed" by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his 12-book epic entitled "My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles" when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save humanity, leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain. The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paul Neil Milne Johnstone of Redbridge, in the destruction of the planet Earth. Vogon poetry is mild by comparison.” ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

TalkTurkey

13/02/2012Here's anothery from Hitch Hikers Guide, listen carefully. If only we all had one eh! http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=the%20babel%20fish&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CGMQtwIwBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Df1ctoT7ezTE&ei=x0E4T5ONFMuiiAeYsr2QAg&usg=AFQjCNERB3UA4XBM0E1SazUIDM6oURcjXQ

Ad astra reply

13/02/2012Folks This morning’s release of part of [i]Newspoll[/i] about the preferred economic manager of the economy, illustrates the yawning gap between reality and perception. It illustrates that stereotypical thinking overrides facts and figures. How can those polled rate Tony Abbott and his team as better managers of the economy after last week’s shambolic performance of his team where they successively held widely different views of whether they would have a surplus in their first budget, and what the size of their budget cuts would need to be to achieve that? How can they rate Tony Abbott higher than Julia Gillard on his economic policies when he has none, yet Labor has countless runs on the board from the GFC onwards? The only explanation I can offer is that, despite the facts, stereotypical thinking has led to the ‘conventional wisdom’ that the Coalition always manages the economy better, perhaps in the same way that Labor is usually considered the best party to look after working people. In my view the only value of the poll is that it alerts us all to the perceptions of those polled, even although those perceptions do not match reality. It is a frightening example of the power of persuasion, and how spin can triumph over facts and figures. Abbott has painted Labor as hopeless economic managers addicted to waste, debt and taxes, and many of the people have swallowed it. The old Goebbels dictum of ‘tell a lie often enough and the people will eventually believe it’ is proved again. Perceptions are important; it will be a major challenge for Labor to align perceptions more closely to reality. It would be interesting to know what question [i]Newspoll[/i] asked. Was it the same old question from previous polls? Does anyone know? Also, why is this finding dribbled out ahead of the main poll? Does it suggest a poor result for Labor is coming up, or is the bad news being pushed out first to take the edge of a good result for Labor? We’ll soon know, but whatever it is we can be sure that the media will make a feast of it despite its very dubious predictive value this far out from an election.

TalkTurkey

13/02/2012[u]The Last Days Of Tony Abbott[/u] Posted by Bob Ellis on February 10, 2012 Leave a comment (90) Go to [b]comments[/b] >I'll post mine here Bob, interspersed with yours. Because your article is a Curate's Omelette, and some parts are quite vomitogenirrational. Habit is a powerful thing. It has for nearly all of us the force of principle, for some of us the force of religion. Because of it, the Press Gallery >Not you though! continues to behave as if Tony Abbott will form a government soon, or, at the worst, by November 30th next year. >Good . . . As I've always predicted he wouldn't . . . But Abbott cannot now win, >Yes but I always said so! New revelation to you? or survive till Budget Night as the Coalition’s leader. >BS say I. Way off. My Eye of Time gives him until the Ides of September. You are just guessing and I'll bet you fourpence he's not gone by when you reckon. Embers by November, cold ashes by end o' December. Said so months ago. Just watch. When he said he ‘couldn’t guarantee’ surpluses in his first term he ensured this. And the Press Gallery, as always, is furlongs behind what is actually happening. >Whereas you (not being one of [i]them[/i] of course) are right out there with Black Caviar? As they were when I said Abbott by two votes, one disputed, and they said Hockey by twenty. >[i]Was that the last time one of your predictions was right?![/i] [i][b]Cor'![/b][/i] Because on Budget Night Wayne Swan will announce a surplus. >And we heard it first from You! This will show that Hockey and Abbott either cannot add, or cannot get through the Upper House a series of numbers that make any human sense. >We knew that long ago too. Election time. Remember? Swan’s numbers will be voted down in the Senate, of course, and no surplus will be posted, >(please explain?) but he will have shown he can do numbers Abbott flinches from. >Yes, and he has been showing that for years, you just worked that out? The world's best treasurer in charge of the world's best economy? The rest of the world's noticed, thought you might have before now. At the time of writing Labor according to Nielsen would score 47 percent two-party preferred; a meaningless figure since nine parties now sit in the House, and the nine-party preferred figure has never been posted or even, I think, imagined. >Ohhh . . . Kayyy . . . [b]But it is fair to say that if Gillard were gone and Labor under a different chieftain that figure would rise to 50.[/b] >What poppycock. We would have an election within weeks, and with a disunited team. Wilkie Oakeshott and Windsor would see to it, quite properly too, they cut deals with *J*U*L*I*A* no-one else. She will see out her term and win convincingly. Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Queenslanders, pregnant women, possessive husbands, teachers, unionists, homosexuals and pro-refugee Green-leaners would come back to Labor under any other leader and this amassing of new Labor votes Tony Abbott could not, I think, turn round. >Sounds like the main one who would turn around is the one writing this disappointing drivel Bob old feller. This leaves Abbott losing anyway. >Abbortt will lose anyway. I have never for an instant thought otherwise. So you are suddenly a Seer too? Not if you think Abbortt'll be gone by May you're not. He won't be, barring doing a Holt, and [i]I don't want him gone by then [/i]neither. A clear year for his successor to be destroyed is enough, don't want to give any one too much time, I want the NOpposition still half-headless as late as Christmas. September will be the time of Abbortt's garrotting. But if another Prime Minister said forcibly that the Abbott-Hockey-Robb team cannot add, and said why, the Labor-leaning vote would go up to 52, and landslide back in. And these are the current probabilities. Labor cannot now lose if Abbott is the alternative. >Using the cloud-penetrating over-the horizon Bobelliscope . . . but hang on, didn't you say he wouldn't survive May? If Turnbull were, it would be a contest. If Costello were brought back he might secure them government. >Yeah what about Menzies then? [From what follows I can only assume a rush of acid-spiked cab sav! ] This is not too hard to imagine. Robb might stand down for him, pleading depression. Kevin Andrews could be booted out, and promised Washington. Or Nelson, or Greiner, or Peter Collins, or Hewson, could replace Bronwyn Bishop in Mackellar and be made by acclamation Opposition Leader. He might face Beazley, brought back from Washington, as the sitting Prime Minister. Or Bob Carr, or Peter Beattie, or Geoff Gallop, or John Faulkner, slotted into Garrett’s, Melham’s, or Rob McLelland’s vacated Sydney seat, and have a fight on his hands. These are fluid times. Yeah, I think you been into the Xennapod Mixture again Bob! But the one certain thing is that Abbott cannot now win, >As we prepredicted, yes, and the Liberal Party habit of sacking as leader a one-time loser will again reassert itself (it has the force of religion), and he will be gone by May Day. >No he won't. Fourpence is riding on this. If he's gone before [b]August 1[/b] you can expect a little package, oh that is if I can find your postal address. Discuss. >Well I have dismissed more than discussed, but that's because of the high poppycock content. You been around so long bob, how come you're still writing stuff like this? My Eye of Time isn't magic, it's just pretty observant and logical in extrapolation. Ad astra uses exactly the same type, with a steadier focus though and less glitches. But I wish the peloton of journalists,(of whom of course you and Barrie Cassidy are not, Oh no not [i]you[/i], Dog forbid, a part), would try opening their own Eye of Time, It's Time all right. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The reason I'm having a bit go at Bob Ellis is, he is one of several aging political pundits (Bob Carr, Richo, Mungo, others) who are so-o-o-o bloody wise now, and mostly really [i]unhelpful[/i] as they tell us where they would have done it better, the way I actually could outplay Ling at Aussie Rules if they'd just let me out there . . . and umpire a hell of a lot better at the same time! Bob ellis always reminds me of Alexander Pope's [i]Essay on Criticism[/i]it goes . . . [i]Coffee, which makes the politician wise, And sees through all things with his half-closed eyes.[/i] Check any photo of Bob Ellis and I think you'll find 'half-closed' is an underestimation. 'Barely-open' perhaps. And not coffee eh Bob, the good ol' Cab Sav eh! We stick with *J*U*L*I*A* Bob! Get it? Sure? Good.

Catey

13/02/2012Ad astra In a rush this morning, but briefly, the last time Newspoll asked who are the better economic managers was in November 2011 rather than back in 2010. However, the headings were Coalition and Labor rather than the leaders as in the current poll. The result back in November was 47/28 in favour of the Coalition. If the ABC, in particular, was doing its job it would be questioning the significance of the differential between the poll late last year and the current poll, rather than just going back to a poll in 2010. Commentary today has been biased rubbish, led by The Australian and carbon-copied by lazier and lazier ABC journalists. As you say all will be revealed tomorrow as to the purpose of this confection.

Jaeger

13/02/2012On the bright side, early dribbles of Newspoll results are often a smoke screen to distract from bad news in the rest of the poll and/or LNP stuff ups the previous week.

lyn

13/02/2012hi Ad problems this morning. A spy has taken over, my email is down. Internet explorer is infected. Maybe back tomorrow, My computer is in the hands of a IT technician. This is from my little laptop Todays Front Pages:- http://www.frontpagestoday.co.uk/index.cfm?PaperCountry=Australia cheers :):):):)

johnL

13/02/2012 William Bowe in an article headed “Morgan phone poll: 55-45 to Coalition” (http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger) on February 9, 2012, adds force to your argument in “How opinion polls poison politics”. Bowe notes that Morgan’s phone polling has a “clearly superior track record to Morgan’s Labor-biased face-to-face polls”. However, judging by the frequency of these two polling methods, Morgan obviously regards face-to-face polling as the more important. Since the Federal election in August 2010 until February 7/8, 2012 Morgan has conducted 15 phone polls and 47 face-to-face polls. In the 15 phone polls, the ALP primary vote ranges from a low of 27.5 to a high of 36 (twice), with an aggregate of 493 and an average of 32.87. There are two under 30, eight between 30-35 (the one at 35 is included in this category) and five between 35 and 36. In the 15 closest (in time) face-to-face polls to these phone polls, the ALP primary vote ranges from a low of 32.5 (twice) to a high of 40.5 (twice), with an aggregate of 552.5 and an average of 36.83. There is only one time (May 3-4, 2011 for the phone poll and May 7-8 for the face-to-face poll) when they agree on the ALP primary vote being 34. For the other 14 times, the phone poll is between 0.5 and 7.5 below the ALP primary vote of the face-to-face poll. In fact, there are three times when it is 7.0 below and once at 7.5 (interestingly in the phone poll of February 7-8 2012 at 31 compared to the face poll ALP primary of February 4-5 at 38.5. For the Coalition, the primary vote of phone polls ranges from 40 to 52.5, with two 50 or more, eight between 45.5 and 49.5 and five between 40-45 (one at 45 included in this category). The aggregate for the Coalition is 689, with an average of 45.93. With face-to-face polls conducted closest to the 15 phone polls, the Coalition primary vote ranges from 39.5 (the first after the 2010 election) to 49.5, with one under 40, seven between 40-45 and seven between 45.5-49.5, with an aggregate of 671 and an average of 44.73. The Coalition primary vote does not have the wild fluctuations noted with the ALP between the phone and face-to-face polls. There are 10 times when the Coalition’s phone poll primary vote exceeds its face-to-face primary vote and five times when its face-to-face primary vote exceeds the phone poll. The 10 times when the phone poll exceeds the face-to-face poll for the Coalition range from 0.5 to 5.5 while the five times the face-to-face poll for the range from 0.5 to 2.0. While these figures back William Bowe’s contention of the face-to-face polls being Labor-biased, they also raise the issue of why Morgan does not explain an obvious anomaly in results from phone polls and face-to-face polls taken less than a week apart. The Morgan staff must have noted the fluctuations in primary votes between the 15 phone polls and the 15 face-to-face polls conducted closest to them. Some of the issues that Morgan needs to address include: How can two polls taken by different methods within a week have variations of up to 7.5 per cent in the percentage primary vote of one political party? Is the electorate really so volatile that a face-to-face poll showing an ALP primary vote of 33 on July 9-10 201 would drop 6 points to 27.5 in a phone poll on July 13-14, then rise 7 points to 34.5 for July 16-17 and and July 23-24, representing a total swing of 13 percentage points within 15 days? For the guidance of those interested, which of the two poll methods should the public accept as the more reliable? Until these issues are explained, Morgan should not be surprised if both its polling methods are treated with scepticism.

nasking

13/02/2012[quote]Blast from the past: Julia more than just a paragraph, time Australia to stop hiding behind old-fashioned men, Miglo, Café Whispers [/quote] Lyn, that fella was a half-decent blogger, a bit effusive but forgiveable considering his desire to keep the fear & war-mongering, Christian crusading, ever-BSing OLD GUARD Liberals out of power and their ONE NATION UNDER GOD wacko leader Abbott... and by the sounds of that post that blogger from another time was a bigtime supporter of Gillard, regardless of the fact she'd just helped knife one of his fave pollies... but that's not surprising when you consider he was mighty supportive of both Rudd/Gillard on Road to Surfdom blog during the 07 election...he obviously knew a winning team when he saw one... and he was more than willing to give the first ever female PM in Australia a go considering the abilities she'd demonstrated in & out of parliament... and in politics there's little time to cry over spilt PMs when the prime objective is to win government in order to provide THE MANY w/ a FAIR-GO... but I've heard on the bearvine that this blogger nasking ain't as enthusiastic about the Gillard leadership these days... too many stumbles, a widespread public perception she's as hollow and devious and vindictive and incompetent and as full of crap as the nutbag weathervane Tony Abbott... in fact, sometimes they come across like an enraged separated couple fighting over the custody of the country as tho it were their kids...it's a bitter, acrimonious debate...quite traumatising and irritating to watch...and bloody distracting... this country needs ACTION...not so many rancorous words. Yes, I'll give the Gillard government a thumbs up for last weeks' effort... amazing what a kick up the bum can achieve... but there are too many people out there bein' screwed over by the RICH FCKERS' BANKS... trying to find the mega-bucks required to stop the ongoing, excruciating pain that comes w/ the rotting carcasses once known as THEIR TEETH... and those desperately trying to scrape together moolah to payoff feral electricity bills... and deals being done by governments of all persuasions w/ corporate mongrels to save their archaic, destructive, greedy shareholder butts... whilst small businesses struggle to get off the ground... and gay couples hoping for one ounce of dignity & respect by way of marriage...a bond of love to help overcome the thousands of years of persecution & discrimination & homophobic rants that occasionally ended in torture and death... there are way too many things that NEED TO BE DONE NOW... for the country to be caught up in yet another personality battle...a couple of leaders using the slings of arrows of bitterness for their own ambitious purposes...for their own cathartic reasons. They might be a GREAT SHOW for the oft morally bankrupt, unprincipled media (think the UK)... but it does NOTHING to help put this country on the right road... at a time when precious roads are being blown up like pensions, the minimum wage, essential public sector jobs across the world as part of a wily conspiracy by finance & other corporate-based greedsters to fck w/ the achievements of the unions and the people/workers' protectors that took hundreds of years of blood, sweat and toil (think Greece, the UK & some American states)... time is running out... the mining tax is a dud... the media inquiry going nowhere in Australia... the Rineharts & Murdochs & Packers & banking CEOs of the world laughing at US. One more slipup Julia... and it's TIME FOR A CHANGE. We don't have the time to worry about the FEMINIST outrage of it all. It's time for an INDIVIDUAL w/ strength & purpose & who knows how to ACT. To kickarse. To show these corporate CONS they CAN'T HAVE IT ALL. N'

Miglo

13/02/2012Hi Nas, I thought that post of yours was very prophetic and deserved another run. It is as relevant today as it was when you first posted it. Great stuff.

Patricia WA

13/02/2012Hello, Nasking! Just finished a comment about you at your repeat appearance at http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/blast-from-the-past-julia-more-than-just-a-paragraph-time-australia-to-stop-hiding-behind-old-fashioned-men/#comment-58620CW. I hope you get a Ping! from me. I made a point of repeating the post address. Is that what it takes? As I commented there I was intrigued that we both chose slightly different angles of the PM smiling that same lovely smile from back then for our posts. And she's still able to smile. Isn't it amazing how she has managed to keep her sense of humor and not let all these truly poisonous commentaries and polls get her down.

Patricia WA

13/02/2012PS, Nasking, just dragged myself back here to read your today's comment about JG properly. The media keep saying that both leaders are going in for back-biting and rancour. That's not true. The PM, the bear pit of QT notwithstanding, is always constructive and courteous even when responding to the LOTO's latest lying statements. Problem is she and her ministers don't get fair coverage on their real achievements, especially their success with their legislation passing to bring in major reform. That's their job, after all. What they were elected to do. And all we get in the media is ALP leadership speculation week after week. This week how could journos not report on Parliament's first week back focus on the economy and all the stuff ups from the Three Stooges? Sadly, though some of it appeared, most commentary on that is on the web, not in print or broadcast media. So I haven't seen real evidence of stuff-ups from Julia Gillard or her team. Give me some examples other than poisonous poll commentary from News Ltd and other MSM.

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13/02/2012Catey Many thanks for the information about the questions about better economic manager. I hope [i]Newspoll[/i] will reveal what question it actually asked, and the wording of the questions on this subject previously asked, with which the current one is being compared. jaeger I hope you are right that the rest of the poll might be better for Labor. But with such an adverse vote on best economic manager, the reverse might be true, as they is overlap between elements of a poll. We’ll soon know. Nasking Welcome back – I hope you are feeling better now. Hi Lyn Thanks for the Front Pages. If there are no Lyn’s Links tomorrow, we’ll know why. I hope your computer problem is soon fixed.

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13/02/2012JohnL Welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i] family, and many thanks for your comprehensive analysis of the Morgan polls. Folks This is a good time to introduce JohnL as our new author of original material for [i]The Political Sword[/i]. He has posted previously as a Guest Poster on [i]Larvatus Prodeo[/i]. He has written an excellent appraisal of the Government's Home Insulation Plan that exposes Tony Abbott's and Greg Hunt's crass war against the HIP, which they liked to style 'The Pink Batts Debacle'. He puts paid to their disingenuousness and deception, their inconsistencies, and their deliberate attempts to mislead. His two-part piece is very well documented and referenced. The reader can verify JohnL's assertions from the facts and the links he provides. The first part is titled: [i]'Absurdities abound as Abbott wages a crass war'[/i], and the second: [i]'Abbott's amazing amnesia on the insulation inquiry'[/i]. I'm sure you will enjoy reading the actual facts that stand in such contrast to the fabrications we heard from Abbott and Hunt. I will post Part 1 later today. We welcome JohnL to authorship for The Political Sword, and hope he will return with other original pieces.

Gravel

13/02/2012Ad Astra I have just read your last two very interesting posts. What a pleasure to finally get online and read them. Totally exhausted here, but settling in slowly. Hope every one is well, and glad to see Lyn back with all her lovely links, will get to read some of them in future. As for the polls, I used to get anxious about them, but now I just don't care. While Julia and Labor are continuing on with their reforms and getting things done, I for one am grateful, and let what happens in the future be taken care of then.

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13/02/2012Folks I have just posted JohnL's first contribution as an author on [i]The Political Sword: Absurdities abound as Abbott wages a crass war[/i]. Enjoy. http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2012/02/13/Absurdities-abound-as-Abbott-wages-a-crass-war.aspx

2353

13/02/2012Welcome back Gravel - good to see the old postage stamp back! I doubt that the quantity of polls will ever reduce until the Marketing People realise that Focus Groups and Surveys on the preferred underwear colour for our political leaders are in reality pointless (along with how to vote cards and door knocking). It's also quite cheap to do a political poll as more often that not they are run in conjunction with "paid" polling (What brand of car wash do you use? Do you use it because it's blue? and similar crap). The thing that gets me is that the poll statistics are presented as absolutes. Its a similar concept to the "Q100" Flood Level in Queensland - which triggers some building and development issues. Until the beginning of 2011, it was widely assumed that Q100 means that there will be a flood to that level (based in part on the height of the 1974 flood) once in every 100 years. "Build on a flood plain - no worries, the next big flood is due in 2074" said the property sprukers. The reality is that a lot of Queenslanders are now learning that statistically, a Q100 flood REALLY means there is a 1% chance in any particular year of a similar sized flood to 1974 occurring. There is a [b]BIG[/b] difference. It's the same with market research - as you can't survey the entire population, there will be a probability error in the results which needs to be reported as prominently as the figures themselves. It's false advertising and blatantly dishonest.

Patricia WA

13/02/2012AA, I've just seen John's post - but you haven't closed this one. Does this mean we'll run two threads? That makes sense to me, since I still have some following up to do on today's links and comments here. Talk Turkey, I loved your response to Gina. Do you subscribe to Crikey? If not and you have read only rights can I post it over there as a comment on this very amusing critique? http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/02/13/geoff-lemon-gina-your-poetic-licence-is-revoked/#comment-182304. Reading some of the responses there I thought it was Limerick time again. There was a rich miner named Gina Failed as a would-be ballerina So she turned to the Muse Sent verses to News Who offered her work as a cleaner.

nasking

13/02/2012Thnx Ad, I have my good days, and bad days. Long way to go yet. Miglo & Patricia, I am not comfortable supporting a Pm & leader of a so called [i]workers' party[/i] who announces in parliamentary [i]question time[/i] that she WELCOMES a deal in Greece... a deal that sees [quote]15,000 public-sector job cuts, a liberalisation of labour laws a lowering the minimum wage by 20% from 751 euros a month to 600 euros[/quote] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17007761 Shame on Gillard for being so pragmatically blasé...lives will be ruined...conditions fought so hard for thrown to the corporate fascist wolves to chew on. Yes, Greeks need to pay more tax...and as Tanya Plibersek pointed out more eloquently today...it's also about overspending on middle class welfare (reason I approve the private health cover rebate changes)... but it's also about investment banks & other financial organisations rorting...the tight-arsed rich & corporate shareholders not paying their way...expecting only gains (even during the Olympics)...and it's about hard working teachers, nurses and other workers...including the struggling poor who live miniscule paycheck by paycheck, barely earning a living wage...and forced to grovel tertiary students...having to take the brunt of the austerity measures impact because politicians are far to use to wining and dining w/ corporate elite. They'll royally fck over the Greeks...as they have done a number of American states...and Ireland...and Iceland...and Spain...and the UK...and now Italy... all test cases... part of a domino effect... and before you know it Aussies' Super will be ransacked... OZsterity measures will be used to place more and more burden on the workers' and their families...the disadvantaged kicked in gagged corner... and the Rineharts & Palmers & Packers & Murdochs & big finance & mining & pharma & property development & armaments & security & fast food shareholders will continue laughing at our expense... as China continues to pump out the cheap affordable goods...helping to undermine our wages & conditions & job security... and eventually only THE FEW will be able to afford that big tv again... so cradle it in your arms now people... for it may be the last you can afford... ask the Greeks... how the Chinese miracle has worked for them...ask the EU... the regular folk... as the tsunami of sh*t buries them... during the GREATEST CON ON EARTH. BTW, Bill Shorten sounded like an apologist for ANZ on SKY NEWS today. But hey! Bill's lookin' out for the workers. YEA RIGHT N'

TalkTurkey

13/02/2012Patricia, 1. I think the posts will probably all go over to the new thread, these are a bit hangoverish I think, anyway I haven't seen it yet, exciting eh, a new threadwriter, can't wait to see! 2. No I don't Crikey, 3. Most of that post was the work of others but it's all public domain as far as I'm concerned anyway, fire away. And you can post this too if you like! Our hyper-rich Gina the miner Is also a hyper-keen diner And those who know her (As in [i]affaires de coeur[/i]) Say Gina has acute angina!

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13/02/2012Gravel Welcome back. I hope the move was successful. I agree about the polls. Ignore them. Patricia WA I'll leave this thread open until tomorrow. Then comment can go over to the new thread. Lyn will post her links on the new thread.

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13/02/2012Folks In my view the Four Corners program tonight was somewhat of a fizzer. Nothing much new! Julia Gillard is mastering the art of putting pushy interviewers in their place. No doubt the media will try to make something of it and carry on 'the speculation' as did Tony Jones tonight, but frankly I suspect the people are getting bored with it all. Boredom is lethal even to juicy stories.

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14/02/2012Folks Today's [i]Newspoll[/i] turns out to be a fizzer too. TPP within margin of error, and PPM of little significance statistically. Forget it. The media hype such an insignificant poll has generated reinforces the theme of this piece, that opinion polls are poisonous. They simply distract, as does leadership speculation, from the main game.
What does two plus 1 equal?