Monday, 3 March 2014

Proof of the need to laugh about opinion polls a long way out from an election

From page one of The Australian this morning with the headline ”O’Farrell steadies support after summer of discontent”.
Mark Coultan, the paper’s NSW political correspondent explained the poll results thus:
NSW’S opposition Labor Party has failed to dent the popularity of the state’s Coalition government, despite a summer dominated by controversy over alcohol-fuelled violence and the investigation of three Liberal MPs by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
The latest Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, shows the Liberal-Nationals coalition remains in a dominant position, with a two-partypreferred vote of 58 per cent, largely unchanged from the previous poll, in September and October last year.
The one piece of good news for Labor is that Premier Barry O’Farrell’s personal satisfaction rating fell and his dissatisfaction rating rose, reversing all the gains of the previous survey.
Unfortunately for Labor, the satisfaction ratings of its leader John Robertson suffered the same fate, falling one percentage point, while his dissatisfaction rating rose three points over that time.
From page one of the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday under the headline “Poll shock Labor takes the lead - Corruption fallout hits O’Farrell”
Sean Nicholls State Political Editor explained the poll results thus:
Voters have turned on the O’Farrell government and are threatening to throw it out of office after just one term in a dramatic resetting of the political contest in NSW.
If the 15 per cent swing was applied uniformly across the state it would see the Coalition lose up to 25 seats – wiping out gains it made in western Sydney, the central coast and the Hunter three years ago.
The poll of 1000 voters was conducted between February 22-26, shortly after the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced an inquiry involving former resources minister Chris Hartcher and two other government MPs, Chris Spence and Darren Webber.
It also coincides with ructions between the Liberals and Nationals over the push by Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson to take over the seat of Goulburn from Community Services Minister Pru Goward.
So there you have it. The Liberal government two points behind on the two party vote one day and 16 points in front two days later. There’s something there for everyone.
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