The first full day of the campaign brings us a Galaxy poll (via the News Ltd tabloids) that was taken on Friday night before the election announcement. The poll had a sample of 800, giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 3.5% mark.
The only change in the voting estimates since the last Galaxy – the one from last weekend – was that the Greens dropped a point with the Others gaining it. Through the campaign, don’t be surprised if Galaxy barely moves at all – it’s sort of Pollster mogadon and has been the poll showing the least variation across recent election campaigns where it has been put in the field.
More interestingly, Galaxy pulled out their “deserves to win” question and the results are a pretty shocking indictment on the public perception of the behaviour of our major parties.
Do you believe the ALP/Coalition deserves to win thefederal election based on its recent performance.
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We’re getting a bit of a “pox on both your houses” view coming out here – but substantially worse for the Coalition than the Labor Party. This brings into play the power of incumbency – where governments get natural electoral benefits by virtue of simply being in government – and how these sorts of low “Deserve to win” results actually increase that power.
Back in the last Qld state election, Galaxy asked this exact question and the results came in pretty much the same for both the ALP and the LNP, with around 40% saying that each party deserves to win, with around 60% saying that each party did not.
Over that last week of that campaign, the undecideds crystalised out to favor Labor on election day and we saw a 1% swing or so run back to the government over the last week. That occurred when both parties were tied on the deserve to win stakes, or rather lack of deserving to win stakes.
Here, the ALP actually has a substantial advantage in terms of being the least worst government option. Oppositions have to take victory – but when only 30% think that you deserve to win, that’s a fairly significant generic boost to the power of government incumbency when the last week of the campaign rolls up and voters are forced to make up their minds.
Galaxy also asked a question on whether voters believed that the treatment of Kevin Rudd will harm Labor’s chances:
Do you agree or disagree that the way Kevin Rudd has been treated by the Labor Party will harm their chance of winning the next federal election?
The results came in as 57% saying Yes and 37% saying No. This is an odd question because it doesn’t appear to be asking people whether the treatment of Rudd has increased or reduced a respondent’s own likelihood of voting for Labor, but rather it asked respondents if they believe Rudd’s treatment will affect how “other people” vote.
So we have to be careful with how we interpret the results of this question, acknowledging that it’s actually more about perceptions of how other people might vote than it is about how the respondents themselves might vote.