They’re the new kids on the block, they were hot, hot, hot in 2004 – but political and polling pros are getting grumpy with Galaxy.
Their most recent public polling, published in the Courier-Mail today, says Kevin Rudd is losing his “home ground advantage”. It finds “federal Labor’s lead over the Coalition in Queensland has been slashed from 10% to just 4% of the two-party-preferred vote”.
You can take a look at Galaxy’s questions and data here. Poll wonks are already pointing out that the 2004 election data is wrong.
There’s also the feeling that, like last week’s much ballyhooed national poll of voting intention, the questions after “If a federal election was held today, which one of the following would you vote for?” could be worded better.
“Like last week’s, the questions after voting intention look a bit dodgy,” one academic poll watcher told Crikey this morning.
“But the voting intention, as long as it’s asked first, looks fine. It’s important that it’s asked first. If it was asked after the rest, then that would be uber-dodgy. But [Galaxy principal David] Briggs said last week’s were asked first.”
Labor’s deputy leader Julia Gillard had the response lines down pat this morning.
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We have always said that the polls would get a lot tighter, we have always predicted that …
We are facing a Prime Minister who is in his 34th year in Parliament, he is about to contest his 14th election, he is spending $200 million of taxpayers’ funds on advertising for party political purposes, to support his government. He is a man who knows every trick in the book. We have always said that this election would be very, very tough and we expected the polls to get closer. Labor has only won government from opposition twice since World War II, we are trying to do it for a third time and we have never underestimated how hard that task is going to be.
Others in her party would beg to differ, but they should know 60/40 two-party preferred votes Labor’s way were ludicrously high.
But it’s not just pollies, pollsters and poll wonks who aren’t sure about today.
“Is [Courier-Mail national political correspondent] Clinton Porteous a complete tool of News Ltd who writes to please his bosses, or does he understands as much about polling as he does about why you shouldn’t hand your big scoop to AAP?” one political reported asked Crikey today.
“Compare the language in his story with the actual result,” they continued.
“And, by the by, the way the entire press gallery also doesn’t have a clue how to read a poll and so simply repeats what Clinton wrote: ‘Labor’s hopes have been busted’.”
A poll watcher said “I think the crime, if there is one, is in the reporting. The Courier-Mail is consistently innumerate, doesn’t’ know how to convert votes to seats against the pendulum.”
There have been some narky remarks on Radio National’s assessment of the poll this morning, too.
So let’s just go back to the Courier-Mail’s yarn.
“After the distribution of preferences, Labor’s two-party preferred vote dived three points to 52% as the Coalition’s jumped to 48%,” it says.
As Malcolm Mackerras spelt out last year, Labor needs a uniform swing of just 3.3% to win.
Meanwhile, this tip has come in from a reader:
About the polls: a friend of mine in Queensland polled by Galaxy said that she was asked the negatively set Labor questions in the poll before being asked “who will you vote for” question.
And in late breaking news…
Crikey understands that Courier Mail journalist Clinton Porteous was given figures for Labor’s 2001 vote, not 2004, underestimating the swing by over three points and completely messing up the pendulum.
Crikey is told other News Limited papers were not given the tables and relied on Courier Mail copy, which has been parroted by other media outlets all morning.
It’s a stuff up – but one a political journo should have spotted and that other political journalists should have realised was wrong.
As one correspondent said to Crikey after the midday news “The ABC has just repeated the CM spin lock stock and barrel. What was that about how we needed to fund the ABC because it was the only independent voice? Turns out they just read the Courier Mail back to you.”