RICHARD FARMER writes:

For many months there has been a marked difference between what the opinion polls are telling us about the likely election outcome and the message from the betting markets but this morning the gap has narrowed.

Two opinion polls published in the nation’s newspapers have moved in the direction of the market by showing that the gap between Labor and the Coalition is narrowing. I wrote of the difference between these two predictive guides at the beginning of this month:

And late changes are clearly what a lot of people expect as the betting markets tell a very different story to the opinion polls. Believe the average of the polls showing Labor with around 56 or 57% of the two party preferred vote is what will happen on election day and, using the normal margin of error for polls, Labor would be assessed at well over a 90% probability of winning. The betting markets as measured by the Crikey Election Indicator (based on the Betfair betting exchange) puts the Labor probability at only 67%.

The Crikey Indicator back then suggested that those who risk their money on the likely election outcome thought that the polls were overstating the Labor lead by three or four percentage points and that the actual two party preferred vote on 24 November would be close to Labor 53% and the Coalition 47%. That is what this morning’s Galaxy poll published in the Murdoch tabloids is showing with AC Nielsen in the Fairfax broadsheets having Labor slightly higher at 54%.

As for the market, there has been a slight change since the start of the month. The Crikey Indicator this morning assesses the probability of a Labor win at 63%, which is down from its October high point of 70%.

GUY RUNDLE writes:

A non-uniform swing, as Mr Jackman’s invaluable pendulum demonstrates, could actually help Labor. If the 6-8% figure represents the average of, say, a 3% swing in Queensland and a 9% swing in NSW, then Labor would gain more seats than on a uniform 6% swing.

Paradoxically, News is right to say that Howard is “back in the game” – after the tax giveaway (The Age‘s front-page photo has Howard on Bribie Island – some would say he’s been there all week), and Rudd’s debate climbdown, who could deny it? But the actual figures don’t really show that. 12% said the tax thang tilted them to the Coalition, 9% away. So basically a draw.

The polls came after a day in which the front became, as generals say, fluid, with the PM – the PM! – talking up the social role of trade unions after Joe Hockey had called what is still the largest single social movement ‘irrelevant’, while dumped ALP – now Independent – Corio candidate Gavan O’Connor denounced the ‘hacks’ who had parachuted Renaissance man Richard Marles into the seat.

But at least it was something resembling politics – more than the futile attempt to open up a culture war front on the Chaser’s wonderful death song. Nevertheless, the Tele and Hun were playing the story into day two, denouncing it in editorials … positioned just above the hotlink to the song’s video. Even tho Krudd has denounced the song, banging on about it will presumably bring up atavistic memories of the grand old PC battles of the past.

And if any further disorientation were needed, cultural studies expert Andrew Bolt noted that the TV advertising was “po-mo”…

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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