Tomorrow a fresh Newspoll of federal voting intention will be published by The Australian, the paper which now claims to represent the ”Heart of the Nation”. This is just as well, for it seems to have lost the confidence of the head.

The most recent Newspoll result, a poll published on July 10 showing that the Howard Government confronted a 56% to 44% shellacking that would leave it as little more than a rump in opposition, was greeted with the front page strap ”Howard checks Rudd’s march”. It seems obvious on this evidence that The Australian has introduced a novel interpretive paradigm to its poll analysis. We predict more of the same tomorrow, so in order to minimalise confusion, we offer the following guide – setting potential headline against possible poll result – to The Australian’s likely front-page treatment.

”Battlers rally for triumphant PM” would indicate two-party preferred figures of ALP 57% Liberals 43%, a Liberal decline of 1%.

”Rudd caned in union backlash” would indicate two-party preferred figures of ALP 56% Liberals 44%, and a no-change result.

”Howard steadies the ship” is a hold-all standby, and can be employed to cover a range of contingencies and any ALP vote of between 55-98%.

Watch also for political editor Dennis Shanahan to take a leaf from John Laws and issue the following declaration: ”I’m not a journalist, I’m an entertainer”, before launching into a florid justification of the headline position.

We hope that helps.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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