My son Mark, who has a better idea about these things than I do, thinks we’ll have Abbott back again as PM, probably about six months before the next election. That way he can blame everything that’s wrong on Malcolm and concentrate on developing some nice slogans for an election, something he’s really good at.
Turnbull has just chalked up his eighth losing Newspoll in a row. By the middle of next year that could be over 20. Around about that time, with another unconvincing budget from ScoMo and Matthias Cormann, we should be due to lose our triple-A credit rating. If Malcolm continues to displease the conservative right in his party he will be vulnerable from that time on.
Newspoll, which looked at October-December as a block, had a few interesting tales to tell.
There was no new sampling of voters; the latest was on 6 December. This time they’ve done a reanalysis of the polls conducted from October to December, which yields a sample of 8,508 for the period, and an error margin of 1.1%.
The headlines have been about the seven-percentage-point plunge in the primary vote for the Coalition among voters over 50 since the 2 July election:
Support for the government in the largest voting demographic has fallen from 49.9% to 43%, with two-thirds of the lost vote shifting to Labor and one-third to independents and minor parties.
- The analysis also shows the near eight-point lead for the Coalition among men at the election has been halved, with Labor’s support among men rising to 36% against the coalition’s 40%.
The decline in support from the oldies is thought to be associated with the overhaul of superannuation taxes and changes to the pension assets test. I addressed the issue of pensions in Greens sell out on aged pensions. I understand that from January 1, while 170,000 will get a pension when they didn’t before, 100,000 will lose their pensions and 300,000 will have their pensions cut. Letters have been going out to those affected, and from talkback radio there is fear in the land.
Overall for the two months, Newspoll has Labor ahead in TPP terms 52-48. The latest Essential Report has Labor ahead 53-47.
In the states, voting for a federal election, Newspoll has Labor ahead in all mainland states except WA:
Pollbludger has this summary, which I gather takes into account Newspoll and Essential:
That shows One Nation at 7.9%, breathing down the neck of the Greens. Trouble in the senate, I think. Also Labor’s primary vote is almost on a par with the LNP.
Turnbull, while he is still comfortably ahead of Shorten on ‘better PM’, has seen his personal standing plummeting from the stratosphere to below Shorten’s. He is on a net -25, compared to Shorten’s -16:
The slide started in earnest in February which happens to be when Turnbull said Labor’s negative gearing plans would “smash” house prices. As Lenore Taylor said, Turnbull’s claim that Labor will ‘smash’ house prices shows evidence-free politics is back. See also my post Negative gearing: the election scare campaign continues.
Turnbull had promised more civil and more rational debate on policy issues. At that point he lost the plot, and continued with a series of scare campaigns, which I identified in The giant Medicare scare campaign:
- In fact, however, the media has very much focussed on a series of scare campaigns:
- Negative gearing was going to smash house prices and with capital gains tax changes bring the economy to a grinding halt.
- There were black holes everywhere in Labor’s spending plans. Labor was high taxing and high spending by nature in government, which would be economically disastrous.
- Labor was conducting a war on business.
- Labor and Bill Shorten in particular was a party in thrall to corrupt unions.
- Under Labor people smugglers would have a hey day with boats once again flooding our shores.
- And, of course, the prospect Labor forming an alliance with the dreaded Greens.
Turnbull in fact conducted the election on the basis of scare campaigns based on lies.
Certainly Labor’s scare campaign on Medicare was unseemly, and I think in part unethical, although based on a meta-truth – the LNP had continuously eroded support for health, leaning to a user-pays model. However, I had pointed out a month earlier in a post Labor makes health central in its election bid:
- In revving up his election spiel Shorten said spending on health was an investment, not a cost. He says investment in health is basic to economic growth. It would be an important battleground if Turnbull would engage. The pointy end is that Labor is choosing to invest in Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme rather than spending money on company tax relief.
Turnbull just says it’s unfunded, which is a lie, and he knows it.(Emphasis added)
I think it was in Turnbull’s hands to make the last election a reasonable contest of ideas. Part of the message from Brexit and Trump, and indeed from Abbott’s 2013 campaign, is that bad behaviour in terms of post-truth politics is rewarded. However, politicians and politics lose in public esteem and democracy is degraded. However, Turnbull isn’t all that good at the game. Best leave it to someone who can pump out silly slogans with conviction. Well, most of the time:
That’s David Rowe, of course.