I have studied goodness knows how many opinion polls over the years I have been involved in running election campaigns but I have never come across anything remotely like a seven percentage point change in support for a political party in the course of a fortnight. Something very strange has gone on and I simply cannot take this morning’s Newspoll result seriously. It will take another couple like it — and with all the other pollsters pointing in the same direction — for me to change my mind.
I will stick for guidance from the Crikey Federal Election Indicator, which this morning has Labor still an 80% chance to win the next election.
The only speculation I can make, which goes halfway to explaining things, is that those people surveyed were in a mood to give Kevin Rudd a kind of “by-election shock” where, knowing that their vote is not actually going to count for anything, they let him know that they don’t like what he has been saying about boat people. And those people who don’t like his words are in two distinctly separate categories. There are those with a dislike of the whole notion of coloured refugees and think Labor should be sinking boats rather than rescuing them and then bleeding hearts who think that his get-tough rhetoric and actions are totally inappropriate for a Labor Prime Minister.