The Newspoll and ACNielsen poll published today tell us the ALP would have bolted in in a federal election held at the weekend. But, as any politician will admit, the science of opinion-gathering has always been open to interpretation.

One interpretation is that, despite Labor’s lead, the Coalition is on the way back. Another has ‘John Howard the leader’ beginning to exert an influence on the poll results. Yet another may be that the bloody election won’t be held until at least October anyway so what’s the point of crunching all these numbers in the first place?

If you are confused, desperate for further analysis or simply nonplussed, read on! Always on the lookout for different and exciting ways to serve our readers, Crikey is offering some alternative sources of political forecasting.

We asked an astrologer, a psychic and a Tarot reader to apply their expertise to a series of questions involving the outcome of the next federal election. If the results are anything to go by, the officials at Newspoll and ACNielsen should be emphasising their margins of error.

Brian Oldfield is 2007 psychic of the year. He consults for Woman’s Day magazine and appears regularly in print media and on radio.

Jeni Bethell has been a professional reader of the Tarot for the past 14 years, and is a founding member of the Tarot Guild of Australia.

Claire Hennekam is a member of the Victorian Association of Astrologers and the Federation of Australian Astrologers.

Below is a summary of their federal election forecasts.

1. What date will Australians go to the polls for the next federal election?

 

Brian Oldfield

Jeni Bethell

Claire Hennekam

Early to mid-October

October is the most likely month — 1st, 2nd and 4th Saturdays all look strong.

Around the time of the APEC Conference (2 – 9 September) — a Saturday on either side of the conference would be quite a bold and intriguing manoeuvre.

 

2. Will John Howard contest the election as Prime Minister?

 

Brian Oldfield

Jeni Bethell

Claire Hennekam

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

3. Who will be Prime Minister of Australia after the next federal election?

 

Brian Oldfield

Jeni Bethell

Claire Hennekam

Kevin Rudd

John Howard (to retire in 2009)

Most likely, John Howard

 

4. How important will the following issues be to the outcome of the next federal election?

  • National security
  • Economic performance
  • Education
  • Health
  • Environment/Climate change
  • Industrial Relations

 

      Brian Oldfield

      Jeni Bethell

      Claire Hennekam

      Environment, Education and Health will be the biggest issues.

      The following order, from greatest to least:

      1. Economic performance

      2. Environment / Climate change

      3. Health

      4. National Security

      5. Industrial Relations

      6. Education

      For the Opposition, environment/climate change shines – literally.

      Health shapes as a matter of significance for many and may be where Rudd and Gillard win some concrete support.

      Industrial relations could end up being the deal-breaker for the Opposition — talking about this one too much could draw unwanted attention to any flaws that they were hoping to keep hidden.

       

      5. If John Howard does contest the next federal election, will he retain the seat of Bennelong?

       

      Brian Oldfield

      Jeni Bethell

      Claire Hennekam

      Yes

      Yes

      Yes, just.

       

      The full analyses from psychic Brian Oldfield, Tarot reader Jeni Bethell, and astrologer Claire Hennekam can be viewed here.

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