Sometimes, when your luck has run out, you just can’t take a trick.
Today’s Newspoll, with a healthy sample of 1706 (as opposed to those piddly little 800 jobbies that keep throwing up peculiar results) provides more evidence of impending annihilation. The ALP primary vote is up 3 to 51, while the Coalition is down 1 to 38 for an overall TPP of 58/42 to the ALP.
It reads like business as usual since March with most polls showing solid consistency around that 55-57 window. The two key concerns for the Coalition would have to be the consistency of the ALP primary vote, and their inability to move the thing an inch below 46. If we remember back to the last ACNielsen poll which was taken after the Coalition tax package launch but before the ALP reply, that poll showed the ALP primary increasing a point to 48. Today it’s up 3 to 51. For all intents and purposes, nothing much has changed.
If we look at the monthly Newspoll average of the primary vote of both parties since the last election, a couple of interesting things stand out.
Firstly, the slow decline in the Coalition primary since the last election sets the scene. Even when Rudd came along, the change in the Coalition primary vote took a bit of a plunge but then recovered back to its longer term, gentle downward trend.
The ALP on the other hand was struggling to improve its primary vote until Rudd gained the leadership, after which it soared from its longer term level of 40 up to 48 where it remains to this day.
You might notice the funny behaviour between March and May of this year – the classic polling overshoot behaviour otherwise known as the honeymoon period. Rudd indeed had a honeymoon, but not of the kind that most commentators navel gazed about.
The Rudd leadership created a structural change in the ALP vote level, and the honeymoon premium only consisted of a few points of primary vote and not the nine points that some journos were assuming it would be.
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Since the last election, the Coalition have been slowly bleeding votes, first to the minor parties and then to the ALP. Nothing has really changed that longer term momentum.
Another concern for the Coalition must be that small but noticeable continuing rise in the ALP primary since May. The Coalition must be praying on that movement being noise, for if it’s real it could well indicate that those voters that deserted Rudd after the honeymoon are slowly coming back into his fold, which, at this stage, would make the ALP vote a lot harder than the human Geiger counters of the ALP soft vote in the media keep waxing lyrical about.
This gets us onto the longer term two party preferred view, for which we need to look at another spiffy little graph showing the monthly two-party preferred average of Newspoll since the last election:
Regardless of the amount of tax dollars the Coalition throws back at the public; from the Budget to the Murray water plan, from road funding to tax cuts – nothing seems to have any lasting effect on the longer term pattern of Newspoll. Coalition policy hasn’t made a dent, largesse with the public purse hasn’t made a dent, policy back flips on everything from Workchoices and Reconciliation hasn’t made a dent – and now that the ALP 2PP is strongly supported by a high and consistent primary vote under Rudd rather than being reliant on high minor party preference flows, the prospects of that changing look remote.
The trend is mightier than the pork.