We all know that John Fairfax and News Ltd are getting together to try and build their own research house in a futile attempt to put Gary Morgan’s independent Roy Morgan Research operation out of business. Why advertisers would ignore independent readership figures and instead rely on “statistics” from a couple of duopolists known for rorting their circulation figures is hard to comprehend.

But the churlishness of the duopolists was on full display today when Morgan released the first major political poll since the furore over The Latham Diaries.

We’ve been saying from the start that Crikey is the only media outlet able to properly cover this explosive book, but never did we think our exclusives would extend to a dramatic Morgan poll which is now 24 hours old.

While Labor’s support was rising amid all the Telstra controversy, the Morgan Poll, taken last weekend, shows it has collapsed in a week as follows:

ALP primary vote down 7% To 34.5%
LNP primary vote up 4.5% To 44%
2PP L-NP vote At 52.5%

That’s a dramatic 11.5% turnaround in the respective primary votes of the major parties – and surely that’s news. But there wasn’t a peep anywhere, perhaps because it doesn’t suit the political commentariat who are mostly saying The Latham Diaries won’t have much impact. Let’s see what Newspoll shows next Tuesday.

Crikey mentioned the dramatic Morgan Poll during Richard Glover’s “journo’s panel” with Ross Gittins and Jennifer Byrne yesterday afternoon on 702 ABC Sydney to demonstrate the point about the impact Latham is already having. After hearing my prediction that TheLatham Diaries would have a profound effect on Labor that would cruel Kim Beazley’s prospects of becoming PM, Gittins declared this was garbage and Latham’s “500 pages of gossip” would last two weeks.

Interestingly, Jennifer Byrne, who is married to Andrew Denton, said she’d also read the whole book and was on my side, predicting the impact would be still being felt in five years time – another Packerite who disagrees with cranky Laurie Oakes.

But it remains to be seen if the stunned and bruised media establishment is capable of tracking this impact. Incredibly, The Age carried this opinion piece by former Labor senator John Black today, which quoted Murdoch’s now dated Newspoll showing Labor in front. Talk about being behind the pace.

Gary Morgan was quoted as follows in his release that The Age had at 2pm yesterday: “The Coalition have benefited greatly from the publicity surrounding the release of the Latham Diaries, with a 4.5% increase in primary support to 44%. For the Labor Party, the timing of the release of Mark Latham’s Diaries could not have been worse. The criticisms of the Labor Party and Opposition Leader Kim Beazley have reversed the political advantage the ALP gained from the Government’s failure to disclose what it knew about the Telstra profit warning.”

Check out the full release here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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