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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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June 16, 2008

Brendan Nelson has given Rudd a tremendous thumping and is bound to romp it home in the next federal election. Apparently. Just you watch. This week we'll see much more on petrol prices and he's also got Neal on the run over the reptile thing. His prefered PM rating should be up around 90 by this time next week.

Tim Dunlop has a few sensible things to say about the latest Neilson poll:

Ask people do they want cheaper petrol and we receive the amazing insight that they do.

And naturally they want the government to do something about it. It's the Australian way. I wish the government would do something about how fast the lawn's been growing.

Tim also reckons that Nelson has successfully undermined Turnbull's chances and cemented himself in place as leader. Way to go Brendan, and I hope the Libs are very happy with their choice. Never you mind that the electorate might think otherwise.

Forget about health, education, global warming, infrastructure and everything else. Just keep hammering on about petrol for the next few years and you'll be right.

From Michelle Grattan:

Despite some pick-up in Dr Nelson's performance, almost 37% would prefer Mr Costello as opposition leader, compared with 29% who wanted Mr Turnbull and 19% who nominated Dr Nelson. This coincided with some backbench cam- paigning for Mr Costello to stay in Parliament. He has so far not clarified his intentions, despite earlier indicating he was likely to quit.

Among Coalition voters, Mr Costello was preferred by 47%, with 28% preferring Mr Turnbull and only 17% opting for Dr Nelson. Among intending Labor voters, 31% preferred Mr Turnbull, 30% Mr Costello and 21% Dr Nelson.

Labor's primary vote was down two points to 44%, which was not statistically significant, and the Coalition was steady on 38%.

Mr Rudd's approval had fallen two points to 67%; Dr Nelson's approval was up four points to 38%. Mr Rudd led Dr Nelson as preferred prime minister by 68% to 20%.

A week of belting Kevin Rudd around the head with Ms Neal should fix that. It looks as though we can look forward to another week of question time footage devoted to serious issues of governance.

Shock development

Shanahan didn't even try to spin the Newspoll results. What can this mean?

| Posted by Lyn at 1:18 PM | | Comments (24)


Morgans have 45% feel that they are worse off than they were 12 months ago.
Forgetting everything else how high does this need to go before it actually leads to a change in government?

As Tony Wright in Political leaders squirming a little

Rudd can no more influence the price trajectory of fuel than he can stop the sun rising in the east tomorrow. He could, of course, reduce the domestic price of a litre by a few cents by reducing excise or taking some other form of taxation strategy, but he would be tossing away his Government's economic and environmental credentials, and it would do nothing but place a small crimp in the price trend, which is heavily influenced by the growth of industrial demand in China and India.There may be some short-term political gain in an excise fiddle, but the trade-off would surely be long-term loss of respect and budgetary dunderheadedness.

Sounds good to me.

Every fuel consumer in the world feels worse off now than they did 12 months ago.

For the Rudd Government the important thing is whether that 45% hold the government responsible for their plight, and whether they think the Nelson Liberals could do any better. If 90% felt worse off it would only matter politically to the extent that they blame government. Look at NSW for a case in point.

Rudd has been singularly bad at countering Nelson's excise cut pitch and didn't talk up Fuelwatch anywhere near enough. People really do believe that Rudd could do something about the price of fuel but won't.

I think it needs to be getting up towards the 70% area before it starts to flow to votes.

I wasn't really making comment about the fuel saga more about poll figures.

Newspoll Monday June 16.
Labor primary steady.
Greens primary up.
Coalition primary down.
Overall: Labor 2PP up by 2% compared to the last Newspoll and up 6% plus compared to the election [that's a seat gain of 15 plus].
Meanwhile Rudd is up 3% satisfaction as PM compared to last Newspoll [now 59%] and as preferred PM is up [ now 68] and Nelson is down [13] so that the PPM gap has increased from 49 to 55.

This wasn't in the script.
Reflects tellingly on the MSM.

Les, I think it would have to get to around 70% and those people would have to hold the govt responsible and there would have to be a credible alternative. I'd be willing to bet 70% of NSW holds Iemma responsible for their feeling worse off, and would love to see the back of him. But nobody in their right mind would vote for right wing extremists instead.

Thanks for the update Fred, and I agree with what you say of the MSM. Kevin Rudd must exude some kind of press-confusing chemical. They've been incapable of getting anything right since he appeared on the scene.

A year ago it seemed reasonable to excuse them on the grounds that business as usual doesn't make great copy. Now it's just ridiculous.

Plenty of people argue that this two-horse race, following the polls stuff is nonsense and that the real focus should be the more serious side of things. For mine, the polls and the media's reporting of them ideally tell us a lot about ourselves as a society.

45% of people feeling worse off tells us something important. Combined with the Newspoll results we now know that those feeling worse off don't necessarily blame the government, which suggests to me that they're better informed than some parts of the media would like. In which case, is it safe to conclude that the MSM has lost credibility? And if so, where are people getting their information?

I have a theory that the public are relying on the visual and have tuned out to the sound and facts a bit in regards to information.
They are still very much in the "Give the government a go" stage despite the media trying hard to make things look interesting.

In regards to the latest poll it is clear that having Costello sitting on the back bench being the most preferred party leader is damaging the stability of Nelson or even Turnbull's ability to make in roads into Labor. There is some speculation that he is set to retire in October when his book is released. A book that is sure to have bits of snipe to some inside the Libs. This could in turn be damaging.
I am sure he will get the tap on the shoulder today to either drive the bus or get off at the next stop.

I have a theory that people are sick of the partisan brawling. I've thought for a while that the Rudd side's composure gets them browny points.

Interesting theory on Costello there. But with Rudd at 68 and Costello prefered by less than half of coalition voters, who this week are about 40% of the electorate, Costello would be made to do anything but walk away.

There's a while to go yet before the Libs represent anything like a threat.

As Fred pointed out Labor are miles in front.
If Costello was to come out and say Ok I will lead we would probably see the coalition narrow the gap as some of the old school come back. Not in large numbers to start with but he is a good performer (better than Nelson and Turnbull)and at least then there would be something for them to build on.
But if Costello just sits up the back and allows speculation and is more popular than both Nelson and Turnbull with no intention of leading he is no asset to the party in fact he is actually having a destructive influence on the ability of either of the other 2 forming a base to move towards the next election. The numbers of how he would go against Rudd don't really count at this stage.
What counts is whether his presence and popularity is constructive or destructive to laying that foundation.

Les, who knows what Costello's agenda is. Just out of curiosity, out of Costello, Nelson and Turnbull which one would you rather see running the show? Putting aside those poll figures (they're misleading because of the petrol thing), which one of the three would you personally prefer?

There's also the possibility of them coming up with somebody else altogether, kind of like Labor did with Rudd.

Out of the 3 I would choose Costello, Nelson, Turnbull in that order.

I think they may need a magic wand to come up with somebody else.
Perhaps Ciobo is a future possibility. He has always presented well when I have spoken to him.

Thanks Les. I didn't think you like Turnbull much.

And you like the idea of the whole federal shebang being run by Queenslanders. Interesting.

Turnbull stutters and makes too many mistakes. Apart from that I just don't like the way he looks. I say that from a marketing perspective. Nelson, while he is intelligent and means well he is about as marketable as a footy with a hole in it.
The qld aspect is only coincidental as I am a Mexican here like many. I come from the land of the sandgroper.

Les and Lyn
Why should Rudd decrease petrol prices? They want to change the way people use their cars and get around.

What is wrong is the deceitful nature of his position. He won't come clean and have a public debate about the long terms shifts that will happen wioth peak oil. He pretends that peak oil doesn't exist.

I see that Tony Abbott has put Brendan Nelson on notice by saying he cannot survive many more bad polls.

That should please you. The Right is starting to flex its muscles. Nelson will have to suck up to the Right even more.

the polls are meant to measure what public opinion feels on current issues --eg petrol pricing. What they show is that people are aware of a downturn in the economy because of throttling inflation.

Should we be surprised they feel worse off? I feel worse off too. Food prices are increasing and I have to put more money into the household budget. If I was asked I would say yes I was worse off. Do I blame the government? No.

Its a game that is being played.

it's amazing. Neal, a backbencher, loses her temper in a restaurant about staff conduct and, several days latter, we have a national crisis.

Why didn't Neal and Della Bosca just apologize about their behaviour?

Les, the marketing perspective is hugely important. If Nelson's getting nothing out of the fuel price thing, half the reason is that he can't mention it without getting overly emotional. Bad look.

Kerry O'Brien asked him why he won't come clean on oil the other night and he skated around it. Comments around the place suggest that, like Nan, most people understand the problems and don't blame government. Rudd's dissembling is annoying.

There is some whispering about the place that Della Bosca's support for Iemma's IR policies were in the way of Gillard's plans, so Della Bosca has been left to swing in the wind. It's about Iemma, not Della Bosca or his behaviour.

Neal has made plenty of enemies on her own side, but she can be used to advantage as I suspect we'll see as the Mirrabella demon baby thing plays out. Neal is her own worst enemy, but she opens a window to holding opposition members to account for all sorts of ratbaggery, particularly comments like Mirrabella's about Gillard's childlessness.

The media's manufacturing of this crisis ultimately works in Labor's favour, especially Gillard's, and the more so the longer it goes on.

I believe Neal has a drinking problem. Its the old story I am afraid.
If you can't control what goes into your mouth you can't control what comes out. She will be an independent next election ( if that).
I don't see a reason why Rudd should decrease the petrol excise.

Abbott has his place in the team. He beleives he is a contender. He would welcome the role of Deputy but it would never fully satisfy him. He is no worse than Keating,Hawke or Howard so who knows. I would put him in between Nelson and Costello. This is based on a possible way that he could be presented in the future not on his past.

Lyn, I don't see a problem of Nelson getting emotional over issues as long as he doesn't chuck a Hawkey and start blubbing. People in struggle street would believe it because he seems to be out of his polly comfort zone. I actually think he looks good in his badness when it happens.

yes I see what you mean. There is a sensis report kicking around today on this issue. Yes I agree that you don't blame the government. I don't either.
Yes its a game alright. The game is where the media attribute the blame. Who the leaping numbats (swinging voters) blame. And whether the blame sticks.

Yikes! Did I really say swinging voters already? How far off is that election.

On one hand the election is too far away to matter much, but on the other hand these polls are going to direct what the opposition does with itself. Abbott's warning to Nelson confirms that. So for people interested in having an effective opposition, which we theoretically need, these polls do count for something right now.

After Galaxy's form on the lead up to the federal election and the obvious bias of the Courier Mail I'd take that poll with a grain of salt.

Having said that, in the interests of democracy it's about time the coalition started making inroads somewhere and it might as well be here. We've yet to see whether the Borg can keep his party from tearing itself apart, but best of luck to him. If only to make Labor lift their game.

I think the Borg has the persona of an honest man in the community which is a very dangerous thing to fight. He can be wrong sometimes and he can look a bit of a dick too but the honest man will always get the tick in the pinch. At this point I would back him to be the next premier.