WITH NEWSPOLL showing a consistent four-point lead to the ALP after preferences — and with Essential Research showing an identical result — it is growing clear that the modest swing to Labor these surveys have shown since the July election is solid; only an imbecile in Malcolm Turnbull’s position would conclude a full term as Prime Minister is guaranteed, whilst the opposition leader is likely to be a casualty of his own “success” at some point.
Just a really quick note from me this morning; my weekly commute to and from Brisbane is now finished for the year (thank you Jesus in your mercy!) and whilst this will mean additional time for posting comment pieces, as I flagged at the weekend, today I just want to make a few points on the latest Newspoll — which, by any measure, isn’t much chop for the Coalition.
And I will, at some stage, address the issue of leadership more comprehensively, for I think Malcolm Turnbull is already a dead man walking, and noxious little Billy Bullshit isn’t all that far behind him.
Yet the latest 52-48 lead to the opposition picked up by Newspoll (again) underlines the gradual downward drift, punctuated by the occasional mild spike — like a gust of wind — that has characterised the Coalition’s polling trend that we have been talking about since the beginning of the year; in one sense I admit the timing of one such “spike” to coincide with election day is useful, but to emerge with literally a one-seat majority and keep sinking is hardly a healthy state of affairs when you have achieved nothing of consequence during your tenure anyway.
And this is the situation Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confronts.
Essential, for its part, has settled at 52-48 for most of the time since the election on 2 July, providing a useful corroboration of the Newspoll results, and whilst that particular survey rated Labor as high as 53-47 a week ago, the consistency of these polls overall is striking.
I’m not going to run through every index in Newspoll’s findings — there isn’t time today, and we might do so next fortnight — but in one sense, with Turnbull’s personal approval rating now below 30%, there’s no need to do so: based on Newspoll’s findings Turnbull is now less popular than he was when thrown out of the Liberal leadership seven years ago, and this eventual reversal of the stellar, messianic numbers he recorded both before and immediately after returning to that role a year ago is exactly what was forecast in this column, and repeatedly held up as a warning to the Liberal Party not to entertain the delusion of “Malcolm the messiah.”
A swing of 2.5% against the government is easily enough to cost the Coalition office at an election, and it wouldn’t need to be uniform to do so; the only quibble is by how much. I’d give Labor 80 seats in the lower house — enough for a 10-seat majority — and considering any serious movement against the government is likely to become more, not less pronounced, the prospect of a change of government on current parameters has to be considered likely even two and a half years from the next election.*
Newspoll — having gotten within a tenth of a percentage point of the actual result before the election — has demonstrated yet again that its findings cannot be readily dismissed as “yet another poll;” whether it can or not, Turnbull — who used a run of 30 consecutive polling deficits in this survey to justify a leadership coup against Tony Abbott — is peculiarly a hostage to it, and can blame nobody for using the inevitable bad numbers he was always certain to eventually record as grounds for a similar move against himself.
I think Turnbull is a dead man walking; the only questions are a) when he gets dumped, and b) whether the change is to Abbott or a third option such as Christian Porter or (the treacherous) Julie Bishop.
The so-called triumph at the weekend of moderate forces allied to Turnbull, in preserving anti-democratic processes within the NSW division of the Liberal Party, is a poor look, as is the thoroughly unnecessary debacle over legalising Adler shotguns that Turnbull recently brought upon himself in an avoidable embarrassment that helped nobody.
But Bill Shorten — viewed by some as a great success — is likely to be a casualty of any persistent ALP polling lead, too.
Shorten did not win the July election, and with barely a rise in the Labor vote worth crowing about was the beneficiary of minor party preference rather than the generator of some seismic shift.
Shorten has succeeded, however, in one thing — the complete trivialisation of retail politics in Australia — and whilst he would probably suggest he has taken serious positions on critical issues such as healthcare and education, the simple fact is that the Shorten “leadership” of the ALP has simply been an exercise in shit-stirring to the complete exclusion of realistically practicable alternatives that might be taken seriously by the wider public.
If Labor continues to record modest leads across the polls, the ALP will dispense with its charlatan of a “leader” as soon as it thinks a return to the Treasury benches is in prospect: it is one thing to cause trouble for the sake of it, on dubious points of integrity, but it is another matter altogether to make a serious charge at an election win by offering little more than $100bn in tax increases and a pack of lies to back them up.
My tip is that the Liberal Party will act first; probably in the first half of next year, and if it does, it will be Shorten’s cue to start counting his days on death row: for just like counting sheep, it will be about the only worthwhile use of his time he has made since the awful day Labor made him its “leader” in the first place.
I’ll be back with something lengthier in the next day or so.
*Owing to constitutional considerations arising from the double dissolution election on 2 July, the next election — if the current Parliament runs full term — must be finalised, including the return of writs, before 30 June 2019; this means the last possible election date is likely to be in early to mid-May 2019, so even an election on term is now just two and a half years away at the very most.