Abbott? when there’s no barge pole, an opinion poll will do!
So, what’s happening with these bloody polls?
The previous two poll cycles showed a massive boost to Abbott after months of trending up for Gillard and the ALP, to almost level pegging TPP.
Now the week before the first of the poll jumps, for Abbott, he made his first major speech for the year, announcing that the LNP would remove the carbon “tax” (which is working, and the threat of removal just adds uncertainty to the business sector), wind back pensions, take away the school kids bonus and take the tax free threshold from $18,200 back down to $6,000.
Most would assume that these announcements would be less popular than a fart in an elevator among pensioners, families and in fact most tax payers… but NO! Rather his personal popularity jumped by (from memory), around 9%.
So the question is WHY!
I have been living in the electorate of Fisher, a safe LNP stronghold, held for many years by Peter Slipper.
Many times I have made the point that, here in Fisher, they would elect Vlad the Impaler if he was endorsed by the LNP, as they are so rusted on.
The reason that I am relating this is because since moving here around 15 years ago, I have been polled twice in national polling and two to three times in QLD polling. Now maybe that’s just coincidence, but I have heard many in safe Labor seats complain that they have never been polled?
So what is there that can affect the outcome of polls?
For starters, we know that these polls are taken on landlines, excluding a large percentage of the younger demographic. Most of the younger generations that we know only use mobiles.
When you consider news papers like The Australian, or in fact any of the tabloid papers that have turned lies, spin and misrepresentation into an art form, it’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to think that they could manipulate the polls, by the questions that they ask and the postcodes that they target. There has been much discussion about the questions asked, so lets look at the other option.
Now for instance, five minutes research on google tells me that the the electorate of Benelong, has phone numbers with the Sydney prefixes 9871 9847 9638 9427, so if you wanted to get a poll that had a strong LNP bias all you would have to do is to provide a list of prefixes that you want them to ring.
For someone like Murdoch, or that other paragon of virtue Rinehart, how hard would it be?
And just this week we see a jump of 6% in the PM’s personal ratings after two weeks of speculation about K Rudd’s comeback, even though he has denied it strenuously. And lets face it, if the preferred ALP leader, as endorsed by the rabid right, is K Rudd, and we can safely assume that they don’t have the best interests of the ALP at heart, then why are we even discussing it?
Now maybe this was simply payback for the PM taking away months of speculation about the election date and the resulting plethora of front pages that they have lost as a result? Or maybe these last couple were rogue polls, and the latest is the inevitable correction? Or maybe there is something more sinister going on, like an attempt at destabilisation of government through manipulation of the people via the MSM, and the polls?
Many right whingers will tell you that the influence of the polls is overrated, and only time will tell how accurate and influential these polls are. But you only have to look at the effect on the news cycle of these polls and the ensuing speculation to realise that, whether media beat up, or genuine speculation, the destabilising effect certainly plays right into the hands of the rabid right.
So the question remains, if you don’t have a barge pole with which to shove Abbott over the line, will an opinion poll do the job?