Leadership lament. Surely that NSW Premier Nathan Rees could not be such a nark as to do what the Sydney Daily Telegraph predicted this morning and bring on a pre-emptive leadership spill after next week’s state budget. What the heck would the Macquarie Street press pack have to write about then? The leadership challenge story has become the staple diet of NSW political journalism. I am amazed that within the ranks of the Labor Party Caucus there are actually people who think that Frank Sartor would be capable of leading them to victory.

This week’s election fix. They are going to the polls in Iran today and the Crikey Election Indicator is going with them. Our assessment of the probable outcome of the presidential election, based on the action at the Intrade prediction market, is that the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in grave danger of being defeated. The Crikey Indicator has the probability of him winning at just under 33% with one Mir Hussein Moussavi favourite as almost a 64% chance.

How the market has made its judgment is unclear to me because the evidence of the opinion polls is far from clear cut.

I did note a cautionary tale on the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website headed “Checkered Past Of Iranian Opinion Polls Leaves Much In Doubt” which pointed out how the pollsters had a far from distinguished record before previous elections. Be that as it may I am fearless fellow and have taken the Indicator’s guidance as a study of past results from a multitude of countries shows me that the final market normally does not get the favourite short enough — that is it wins on more occasions than the probability suggests that it should.

Reputation crumbles still further. Thank goodness for advertising people and car salesman. But for them I would be a member of the profession regarded as the least ethical and honest in the country. The annual Roy Morgan survey of the professions has at the foot of the table what the pollster calls the ‘familiar suspects’ with Car Salesman (3%, down 1%) being the profession least associated with “ethics” and “honesty” while Advertising people (6%, down 3%) are the lowest they have been since the survey began in 1979. Newspaper Journalists (9%, down 5%), Estate Agents (10%, unchanged) and Insurance brokers (11%, down 4%) are also perceived as the least ethical.

What particularly rankles me is that television journalists actually rate higher at 14% than those of us journalists who can actually write! Nurses are once again top of the trusted list with 89% of those surveyed rating nursing as the most ethical and honest profession in the country.