The commentariat need to cool it. The weekend media ignored Rod Cameron’s cool analysis of opinion polls on Friday night’s Lateline.

Here is what he said:

Labor basically never was at 57 or 58 per cent. Labor is now at where it probably has been for a while. I think it has established some sort of base at 53 or 54. There’s been some movement back to the Coalition because of Howard’s tax package, which was unanswered quite properly for several days, but we’ve just reasserted gravity.

I think we’ve now got a situation where Labor is happily ensconced on 53 or 54. Now, the campaign will tell us whether that is a foundation or whether it’s a false floor.

In my view, there’s about 3 per cent up for grabs in the campaign, which makes it anybody’s race.

So what have all these opinion polls been about? Has all the commentary been idle chatter based on false premises? There were titters during the Election Debate when John Howard suggested Malcolm Turnbull was on the money in terms of the environment and George W. Bush wasn’t. John Howard criticizing Bush? Titter titter! He’s done it before.

Here is what he said:

We’re not as harsh on welfare as the Americans are. I would never want us to be. Their gaol populations are testament to the failure of some of those harsh policies.

John Howard said this during his address to the National Press Club on 7 October 2004, just prior to his re-election. Then again, Crikey has reported that Malcolm Turnbull has been using “rude words” regarding John Howard’s refusal to sign Kyoto. Howard says that “you have to get it right”. He’s not alone on that.

I recently interviewed Bjorn Lomborg author of Cool It: The Sceptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming. Lomborg said:

Basically most people think that the Kyoto protocol at least would do a fair bit against climate change, but actually it will do no such thing. If everybody, including the US and Australia, had signed up to it and had actually done what they promised, which of course even Canada and Japan and many other southern European countries for instance are not doing, even if everybody had done so, it would have postponed global warming by seven days at the end of the century.

Cool it indeed! On polls, Kyoto and cliché-mongering.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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