Assessing the state of electoral play. Our Chunky Bits participants fared quite creditably in their prediction of what the Essential Research poll would show post-budget. We were just slightly more optimistic about the Labor vote — an average prediction of 45.7% compared with the real thing at 45%.
And we were in line with two of the other three polls published this week.
So where do results like that leave the parties with four months to go until voting day? Well Labor probably have to pick up five percentage points if it is to stagger over the line again, and that will not be an easy task.
My colleague Bernard Keane has a learned piece today on the influence of polling on outcomes and deals with things like margins of error. But the theoretical reliability of final polls — say, an error of 3 percentage points – does not help us this far out because so many unpredictable things can happen. What figure to apply to take these variables into account is difficult to determine because we are dealing with a limited historical record but call it four with Labor currently five points behind and the chances of a Coalition victory are around the 90% mark.
That, incidentally, is about where the Crikey Election Indicator based on betting market prices is this morning.
Time for a change. The Prime Minister and school children pictures are starting to lose their charm for the media. Yesterday’s Forrest Primary visit hardly featured at all other than on Julia Gillard’s own Twitter feed.
And as for the first bloke visiting the V8s in the United States I admit to not knowing what they pictorial impact is. My guess is that in the western suburbs they might quite like the idea of a rev head prime ministerial partner in the Lodge.
How does toothpaste make orange juice taste bad? In the interests of you, dear reader, I tried it this morning — cleaned my teeth before drinking my orange juice. And I can report that it tasted quite foul. Thanks to the American Chemical Society’s award-winning Bytesize Science video series I now can bore you all with why.
The video explains how a detergent called sodium lauryl sulfate, put into toothpaste to produce the foamy suds that gives it mouthfeel, nobbles thousands of the mouth’s taste receptors resulting in a rather bitter experience. Here endeth the science lesson for the day.
News and views noted along the way.
- Alive and ticking. — “Loiseau is back to crafting, by hand, wristwatches that retail for $2.1 million apiece. Buyers are eager to snatch them up: There’s a long waiting list for his 1f4— named after a favorite opening gambit in chess—since he and the three workmen who constitute his horological studio finish only two specimens per year.”
- How to make $30 billion and pay no corporate income tax, the Apple way
- Global capital and the nation state — “As global capital becomes ever more powerful, giant corporations are holding governments and citizens up for ransom — eliciting subsidies and tax breaks from countries concerned about their nation’s “competitiveness” — while sheltering their profits in the lowest-tax jurisdictions they can find. Major advanced countries — and their citizens — need a comprehensive tax agreement that won’t allow global corporations to get away with this.”
- What to do when you get fired — “A post-layoff strategy for the future-minded journalist.”
- Brilliant Morgan Stanley strategist retires and reminds everyone he only had a job because investors are dumb
- Insult and punishment: Russian MPs mull softer penalty for religious offenses — “The State Duma suggests softening the highly-debated draft law on protecting believers’ feelings and reduce the punishment for religious offences from initially proposed up to five years of imprisonment to three. The ‘anti-blasphemy’ bill was submitted to the Russian parliament’s lower house in September, in the wake of infamous case against the punk band Pussy Riot.”
- Why speaking to journalists ‘off the record’ doesn’t guarantee anonymity
- Men can’t be expected to turn a blind eye to beauty — “Why is it that male colleagues can call a woman brilliant, but never good-looking?”