Editors of newspapers like to kid themselves that they are in touch with their readers – that they know who they are and what they are interested in reading. Some editors and proprietors even have delusions about influencing the readers and there are politicians aplenty who live in fear that it actually happens.

A story on the website of The Australian today tells quite a different story. For years now readers have been fed a daily diet of praise for the Coalition Government yet the online poll asking visitors who they intend to vote for has given Labor an even more comfortable majority than that indicated by the opinion polls.

The Australian/CoreData’s poll of voting intentions for the November 24 election,” writes online editor Sid Marris, “has Labor at its strongest position in the modern era with a primary vote of 53.9 per cent. … The voluntary, unweighted poll of 11,739 readers started on Monday morning after John Howard called the election, with most of the responses since the Coalition’s tax policy was released. It suggests a record low 31 per cent would vote for the Coalition.”

Now these “click here” polls are notoriously unreliable but the result does suggest that the readers of the Oz are not all true believers in the wisdom of Dennis Shanahan who was at it again this morning putting the best possible gloss for the Coalition from recent polling by Newspoll. Polling conducted before the PM called the election, by the by.

Analysis of today’s most read lists on the news web sites surveyed as part of the Crikey Election Reality Check suggest that The Australian is not the only paper which features stories that are quite different from what really interests their readers.

Based on the top five most read stories (with five points given for the top of the list down to one point for the fifth) on the websites this is how the interests rate:

Points

Story

50

Stories about Cousins the footballer

15

The Left Brain v Right Brain Test

7

Megan fury over interview

6

Driver thrown from BMW

6

PM’s stock rises on IR, economy

5

Rudd pledges to unlock Govt land

5

Healthy rolls rule as pizza slips down greasy pole

5

ALP tackles southeast gridlock

4

Baby’s body found in rubbish bin

4

Parents sue over rape teacher

4

70% say image ups ecstasy use

4

Boy critical after school fall

4

Nicole in hiding

3

Pratt buttoned up and beaten

3

S-x with robots ‘not far away’

3

US generals keen to claim victory

3

Nine’s backflip on sacked model

3

A four-storey lizard – pick the bones out of that

3

24 Hours in Melbourne

2

No, I wasn’t drunk on air

2

Experts to probe complaints against trauma surgeon

2

Body in car park

2

Firebombed after deadly head-on

2

Urge to vomit ends in death

1

Hugh Hefner considers crack at…

1

India official says we’re racist

1

Freeways congested into Perth

Peter Fray

72 hours only. 50% off a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

Our two-for-one offer with The Atlantic was so popular we decided to bring it back.

But only for 72 hours.

Use the promo code ATLANTIC2020 and you’ll get 50% off a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year of digital access to The Atlantic (usually $70). That’s BOTH for just $129.

Hurry. Ends midnight this Thursday.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

Claim Now