Monday, 1 June 2009

Ask the right question to get the answer you want

A wonderful example this morning of how if an opinion pollster asks the right question he can provide the headline his client wants and quite clearly the Sydney Daily Telegraph did not want another of those boring "Labor still comfortably in the lead" stories. It was after something bigger, brighter and more controversial so toss in a question asking the mob if they think Kevin Rudd is someone who can turn nasty if he doesn't get his own way. Even raising the question will leave the impression that there must be something in it and hey presto we have "evidence" for the catchy headline:
Yes, the polling found that 43 per cent of voters agreed Mr Rudd was someone who can turn nasty if he doesn't get his way, compared with 31 per cent for that nice Mr Malcolm Turnbull. Not that it means much mind you.
Like all of the other major pollsters in the last month the Tele's Galaxy poll still has Kevin Rudd clearly preferred as Prime Minister over Malcolm Turnbull and Labor keeps cruising along with a bigger lead than it had at the last general election.
There's not much joy in those figures for the Liberal and National parties and if you believe they indicate what might happen when the next election is actually held Labor should be a very short priced favourite indeed. Out there in the market, however, that is not the case with the Crikey Australian Federal election indicator, based on the probabilities indicated in prediction markets, pointing to quite a close contest.

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