Two new polls have hit the streets in the past 24 hours, with little of note to report on; Newspoll in The Australian finds the Coalition ahead after preferences on an unchanged 54-46 basis this fortnight, whilst Essential’s 56-44 Coalition lead also remains unchanged from last week.
And even on the primary vote movements, approval and disapproval of the respective leaders and the “preferred PM” measure, the limited variations that are found by these surveys are all well within the margin of sampling error.
And thus — for once — I do not propose to list them all out.
The basic comment I would make is that in the final analysis, the only finding that matters — really matters — is the two-party vote after the distribution of preferences (and how that would apply across 150 electorates to produce an election result).
On that score, it is clear the ALP remains stolidly on target to record a massive defeat, whenever the next election takes place.
It is true that the two-party figures in these two polls are a little tighter than they were a few months ago, and are a little tighter than Nielsen, Galaxy and Morgan — all of whom most recently find annihilation and not defeat is the government’s pending fate.
Yet even on these “tighter” numbers, it’s only the difference between a thumping and a mauling that we quibble over.
Now that Craig Thomson is again temporarily receding from centre stage, and now that the dust has more or less settled, politically, on the budget and its hundreds of millions of bribe dollars, it is clear that the position of the Gillard government really isn’t any better in round terms than it has been in the past 12 months or so.
A discussion with an associate of mine today opened with the fairly obvious position that voters are no longer listening to Gillard, and have switched off; but for all the scandals, the lies and incompetence, and indeed the issues of minority government and the dreadful opinion polls notwithstanding, there is another undercurrent that I believe is being reflected in all of these polls.
Very simply, the broken election promise over the carbon tax isn’t the half of it.
My associate and I were talking — of all things — about WorkChoices; specifically, the role of the unions (as opposed to the ALP) in the campaign leading to the 2007 election, and the subsequent rewards apportioned to the unions by the incoming government in deep gratitude for services rendered.
And I realised something…
WorkChoices is the genesis, at its root, of the demise of the current Labor government.
It’s true the Howard government introduced WorkChoices without an electoral mandate; the campaign waged against it was one that played to the fears — existential fears of food, clothing, shelter and security — of a significant minority of the electorate.
But Howard — as the ALP/union storyline runs — had a secret industrial relations agenda for years; despite his repeated denials, and much evidence to validate them in the first three terms of his government, that agenda materialised into legislated reality on the back of a surprise Senate majority at the 2004 election with the name WorkChoices emblazoned across it.
Howard had committed the sin of omission by not saying so during the 2004 campaign; and his popular, reasonable and competent government transmogrified overnight into the vicious IR demon those lefties had warned about all the way back in the early 1990s.
For those same people now — the same Labor Party which rode the issue to government, backed by the same trade unions — to have produced a carbon tax in spite of solemn promises to the contrary is for them to be guilty of precisely what they crucified Howard for.
It is for this reason the polls refuse to budge in Labor’s favour; and it is for this reason that they will continue to spell disaster for Labor even after a leadership change.
It’s a point the likes of Stephen Smith, Simon Crean, Bill Shorten and that egomaniacal cretin Kevin Rudd would we well advised to heed.
People don’t expect much from their politicians, which is a shame; what should be a noble profession ranks in the gutter in the estimation of many.
But whilst lying politicians tend to be given short shrift by the public, hypocritical liars are another specimen group altogether. And this is my point.
The reason the polls aren’t moving is because this federal government is collectively viewed as a hypocritical liar; it doesn’t matter who said what any more, and it no longer really matters who leads the Labor Party now.
What these polls consistently show is that barring a miracle or a disaster — depending on your political persuasion or perspective — the result of the next election is a foregone conclusion; it’s only the margin that is in doubt.
And these points — not some arbitrary comment on why Gillard is up a point and Abbott down a point, but the voting intentions remain the same — are far more salutory conclusions to draw from months of opinion sampling across Australia, whose message has been consistently clearer for longer than ever before, and in relation to a four year old government that has, already, been in power for perhaps too long.
What do you think?