Colourful pollster Gary Morgan was on the blower not long after first light this morning retailing an encounter he had with Herald Sun editor Peter Blunden at the races on Saturday.

Morgan says that he asked Blunden why his paper did not report Friday’s
state-based political polls, showing that primary support for the Bracks Labor Government was up 5.5% to 50%, the highest level since June 2004.

The response from Blunden was to denigrate Roy Morgan Research’s
newspaper readership figures and declare that he wouldn’t run any
Morgan poll as long as they continued to get their readership figures
wrong.

It seems a similar approach was taken across the country, perhaps
reflecting the new joint venture operation that News Ltd and John
Fairfax are establishing to provide alternative newspaper readership
figures to those provided by Roy Morgan. Given all the circulation
rorting that Crikey has revealed this year,
who’d trust industry-generated figures in the current environment?

Just in case you also rely on a Murdoch outlet for your political news,
here are the links to the various Morgan polls on Friday:

NSW: Labor steady at 43.5% primary vote, Coalition down 0.5% to 36.5%
Victoria: ALP up 5.5% to 50%, Opposition down 3% to 32%
Queensland: ALP down 4% to 49%, Coalition up 4% to 35.5% (Liberals – 25%, up 3.5%, Nationals – 10.5%, up
0.5%).
South Australia: Labor down 3% to 50%, Opposition up 1% to 33%
Western Australia: ALP down 1% to 41.5%, Opposition up 0.5% to 38.5%.

However, it is not just News Ltd which is subjecting Morgan to what
appears to be a commercially driven ban that ignores what might be
genuine news. The AFR
today carried a story on page 7 about Victorian Liberal leader Robert
Doyle that quoted Friday’s poll results without saying who conducted
the poll.

At the end of the day, it’s a shame that Australia’s newspaper duopoly
can’t treat news as news without allowing petty commercial or
personality differences to cloud these judgments.

* Disclosure: Roy Morgan did one free poll for Crikey whilst I owned the business