Are voters really turning against the Abbott government? The polls say yes, but there might be something bigger at play here.
There seems to be a potential disconnect between the political media and the punters brewing if the last couple of weeks are anything to go by. While Prime Minister Tony Abbott was being applauded widely as having had the best period of his prime ministership so far following the North Asia visit and trade deals, the punters were giving the government a big slap in the latest polling, despite a pretty awful couple of weeks for Labor.
Are we actually paying close attention and are not too thrilled about the very partisan nature of the trade wins in Japan? Or are people so disengaged from politics that there will be wild swings in polls for some time to come as they answer more based on how their day went than what they might actually think about federal politics? With swinging voters making up most of the electorate these days, it’s awfully hard to tell.
Is the government’s poor polling more to do with the continuing tough budget talk from Treasurer Joe Hockey, who spent most of this week talking about a potential retirement age of 70? Some of the press gallery again thought this may not be too politically crazy a move, with baby boomers safe from any such changes and speculation that those who actually will be affected aren’t paying much attention. Another tough week for Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, as he got caught up in the ICAC investigation into Australian Water Holdings, copped a bad opinion poll of his own and continued to fight the judiciary, but his jump in the list had as much to do with Cyclone Ita as his various legal spats. It was a bad week for NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, also starring in ICAC coverage, specifically an argument about a bottle of Grange.
Crikey Political Index: April 10-16
It seems talkback callers were definitely paying attention to Joe Hockey’s retirement age speculation, even if it won’t affect most of them.
Talkback top five
And the generally younger folk on social media sprang into action as well, many not thrilled at all about not just the retirement age discussion, but also floated budget cuts to the ABC, while potential WA Senator Joe Bullock continued to cop more than a few brickbats.
Social media top five
Now that he’s no longer a politician, we can cheat a bit and put former foreign minister Bob Carr in the comparison. Some might say he was always more PT Barnum than Thomas Jefferson, the stentorian voice hiding the shallowness underneath.