WITH LEADERSHIP SPECULATION the topic of the week in some quarters, Morgan Research has published findings on the preferred leaders of the Liberal and Labor parties; not surprisingly, the headline numbers suggest Malcolm Turnbull is preferred over Tony Abbott by a mile. This is the kind of stupid, distorted data that unless skewered can incite foolish MPs to foolish acts, and its findings should be dismissed as simply more wishful thinking.
First things first: I should just make it clear at the outset that I mean absolutely no offence at all to Gary Morgan; the deeply troubling truth is that I instinctively believe the survey his people have conducted and tabulated is so close to 100% accurate that the difference scarcely warrants quantifying, and the “stupidity” to which I refer emanates from his respondents, not him or his agency.
In fact, it’s entirely predictable, and the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Morgan Research has published findings this afternoon that show former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull overwhelmingly favoured to resume that role, with 44% of its respondents nominating him as opposed to the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, supported by a mere 15%. Treasurer Joe Hockey (16% — a point ahead of Abbott) and Foreign minister Julie Bishop (8%) round out the top results for the names canvassed, although it surprises me that Immigration minister Scott Morrison hasn’t found his way into the mix as yet in any meaningful sense.
Readers know that with the keenest of regret, we have had to revisit the issue of “Malcolm for Leader” this week in light of the extraordinary spat that developed from his encounter with Andrew Bolt, and fuelled by some ill-advised prattle from Clive Palmer. I do apologise to Malcolm for continuing to bang on about this, but I think he realises the political considerations that are intertwined with these matters finding their way into public discourse yet again.
Certainly, those who support Labor and the
Communist Party Greens do.
Among Labor voters surveyed by Morgan, Turnbull is preferred to Abbott as Liberal leader by the thumping margin of 56% to 1%. Among Greens supporters, Turnbull enjoys even more support, preferred by 61% of them to nil for Abbott. It’s not difficult to ascertain why; Turnbull’s social views are what some might call “progressive” and this sits well with voters on the Left.
Turnbull — to put it bluntly — is also not Tony Abbott, and in the grand tradition of the hatreds of the Left, it has demonised the candidate it knows represents the greatest ongoing threat to its electoral prospects. It did exactly the same thing to John Howard for decades, albeit not perhaps with the same degree of vitriol with which it approaches Abbott.
Turnbull has already shown himself as a likely election loser in 15 months of consistently abominable voting intention polling during his stint in the Liberal leadership, and this merely underlines the point that as much as the Left like Malcolm, they wouldn’t vote for him in a pink fit.
For the record, Abbott continues to head Turnbull among intending Liberal voters, 35% to 29%.
Even so, the proverbial “nervous Nellies” — along with some people who simply can’t be told — remain more than capable of whipping up a real leadership putsch on the basis of figures such as this, as opposed to the nonsense that Malcolm’s dinner meeting with Palmer last week unfortunately sparked.
The message is clear: just don’t go there. It won’t work. It will all end in tears.
There are some other interesting findings from the Morgan results, which readers can access in full here.
I only wanted to comment on this briefly this afternoon on account of the link to the discussion earlier in the week, but before I go, there are two noteworthy figures on the Labor side of the table that warrant mention.
One, that among intending Labor voters, the combined numbers for Tanya Plibersek and Anthony Albanese (29%) almost equal support for incumbent “leader” Bill Shorten (32%): I’ve been very explicit about the liability Shorten poses to Labor’s political prospects in the medium term, and these numbers tend to bear that out.
If the ALP is able to coalesce definitively around one of them as an alternative — Plibersek, if it has its collective wits about it — then the depth of Shorten’s support as “leader” (or lack of it) could throw up some interesting permutations in the months ahead if the ALP’s voting numbers collapse.
That’s highly probable: as we’ve discussed, short-term politics based on idiot slogans in response to a tough budget will only carry the ALP until people realise the sky isn’t going to fall in. When that happens Shorten will be revealed as the one-trick pony he is, and the Labor Party will need a new leader quickly if it’s to stand any chance of winning in 2016.
And two…apparently, according to the Morgan findings, 10% of Labor voters want Wayne Swan to take on the leadership of their party.
It just goes to show how stupid some people actually are. It ought to surprise me, but it doesn’t.