After reading Dennis Shanahan’s ‘Gillard gains credibility despite Latham’
in The Australian today, two questions leap to mind. Does he actually read the
polls he’s reporting on, let alone his own paper?

An Ipsos Mackay survey taken after the
release of The Latham Diaries has found 34 per cent of people are less inclined
to vote Labor,” Shanahan writes. “More important, the survey has found 17 per
cent of people who voted Labor last year are less inclined to vote Labor. That
is, almost one in five Labor voters suggest they are less likely to vote the
same way at the next election, either because they are shocked at what Latham
hid from them or because they agree with his criticisms of the ALP, its
factions and personnel.

For an Opposition that suffered one of its
worst defeats in history at the last election, with a primary vote of 37.6 per
cent, the prospect of having an even lower primary vote would preclude Labor
from government for decades.

The survey suggests another blow for
Labor: 33 per cent of Australian Greens voters say they are less inclined to
support Labor. This is crucial for Labor; for years it has relied on a large
flow of Greens preferences to get over the line in tight seats and lift its
two-party-preferred result…

OK. Let’s start there. Where are the
Green’s preferences going to go? The Coalition? Get real.

Den should have a look at page 16 of his
paper from yesterday:

Sol Lebovic will have been sniffing the
political wind for 20 years next month and has a few myths to bust when it
comes to opinion polling.

Top of his list is that polls a long way
out from election day predict election outcomes. ‘A lot of people take opinion
polls as being predictive and they’re just not,’ he says. They capture the mood
of the electorate at any given time. ‘everyone wants to know who’s going to win
the next election and it’s trying to know the unknowable.’

News reports on the polling – try here or here
– have emphasised the damage The Latham Diaries will do to Kim Beazley and the
ALP.

Sure, 34 per cent say they are less
inclined to support Labor – now – but 51 per cent of respondents say The Latham
Diaries
make no difference. And it’s the same with the Bomber. Seventy five per
cent of those surveyed said they thought no differently of him post-Diaries.

Roll on the IR bills and some real issues.

Peter Fray

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