Source: Pollytics
Source: Pollytics

Last week’s Newspoll result – a 2PP of 52-48 – sent the media into a flurry of speculation about what caused the Narrowing [TM]. But it was a single, aberrant poll result – at the same time, Essential Research came out at 59-41 (unchanged from the previous week) and last Friday Morgan’s latest came out at 61-39. Taken as a whole, the most plausible conclusion from recent polling is that last week’s Newspoll is an outlier – as Possum noted here and here.

But that hasn’t stopped some in the media – as well as the pollies themselves – from attempting to explain what caused it. We now have a thread of so-called common wisdom that says Rudd has taken a hit in the polls, most likely over his handling of asylum seeker issues – although any other events that have happened in recent weeks (rising interest rates, the climate change and emissions trading debates, etc.) can always be folded in there as well. Now, the results of two new polls – including the next Newspoll – are expected in the next couple of days. Instead of waiting for those sage minds in the media to tell us what the results mean, why don’t we get a head start by making our own predictions?

We’re starting the week with a media narrative that says “the polls” have turned on Rudd and Labor. Mobius Ecko noted that this theme came through on this morning’s Insiders. Andrew Bolt repeated the “polls down” line today. Pollies bought into it throughout the week – Kevin Rudd himself launched a “media blitz” right as the Newspoll result was about to be announced, and the opposition capitalised on it while at the same time finding ways to dismiss the other results.

At the beginning of this week we should see results from Nielsen – which last month reported at 57-43 – as well as another Newspoll. Unless the Newspoll has genuinely picked up a massive shift that all of the other polls didn’t detect, it seems likely that the polls will show the ALP’s 2PP vote somewhere in the mid-fifties (if not higher). Given that the pundits have accepted that last week’s shift was in some way meaningful, they are now in the position of needing to explain this “uptick” for Labor.

But how will they do it? Will it be the success of Rudd’s media onslaught? Will these new polls become the outliers? What might they focus on to explain how a tight race and a backlash against Kevin Rudd has come undone? Offer your predictions – either general or for a specific pundit – in the comments.