The Coalition has lost its 30th consecutive Newspoll, a marker which, only three years ago, was used as a catalyst to oust former prime minister Tony Abbott.
However, the Coalition has narrowed the margin on a two-party preferred basis to now read 48/52 in favour of Labor, giving the party hope heading towards the next election.
The leadership contest between Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten has also tightened, with Mr Turnbull still seen as the preferred Prime Minister by just two points (36/38).
Voters’ assessment of Mr Turnbull hasn’t changed since the last poll, but Bill Shorten may be seeing the effects of his ‘flaky’ franking backflip, with his rating dropping two points.
With rumours that the Coalition party room is circling its embattled leader, and the threat of a Tony Abbott challenge, Mr Turnbull is adamant that he will lead the party on to the next election.
“I don’t think there is anyone, frankly, suggesting I don’t,” Mr Turnbull told The Australian.
“We are in a close, tight political environment. The next election is absolutely there to be won,” he said.
“My job is not there to be distracted by polls, but to focus on our policies and on delivering for the Australian people.”
He also suggested that if opinion polls were anything to go by, Nick Xenophon would be Premier of South Australia and Kristina Keneally would be the member for Bennelong – both outcomes that never eventuated even though polls suggested otherwise.
Tony Abbott has also insisted that he will not challenge Mr Turnbull for PM.
“None of us should live in the past or dwell on things,” Mr Abbott told reporters on Sunday.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten almost backed the PM’s claims that opinion polls mean very little, saying, “I've made it a practice of not commenting on polls when the polls have been good, bad or indifferent.”
Although, it seems he doesn’t believe the PM’s claims that he is not affected by the results published today.
“Mr Turnbull obsesses about polls, as do the National and Liberal parties.”
Read more at The Australian
The PM may be right when he says that political opinion polls don’t matter. The only one that really counts, if you’ll pardon the pun, is the big one – the Federal Election.
So, why then do we even have Newspolls? Do you actually care about the results? Or are they just good fodder for the media to sink its teeth into?
A Newspoll is a national poll taken of around 1600 voters conducted in a three-day window and released at Newspoll’s whim exclusively on The Australian. Once upon a time, these polls were published fortnightly, nowadays their release is more sporadic.
Or just in time for a slow news week, one could speculate.
Maybe these polls are an accurate reflection of public opinion. And, while they could have once been seen as an indicator of how people would actually vote, nowadays, they could easily be construed simply as a mirror to how people are feeling about a politician that week.
Bill Shorten’s result may back that point. After enjoying solid results in the preferred PM stakes over the last year, Bill’s recent backflips over franking policy may have hurt his standing.
Also, MPs seem to back one poll over another depending on how it suits their cause at the time. While the Newspoll would often be ammunition for the Coalition if it were leading, the party more recently seems to back the Fairfax/Ipsops poll, which sees the Coalition and its policies in a more favourable light.
Older Australians make up the largest voting demographic in the country. Little wonder that both major parties are skewing their policies towards them. We did discover from a 2017 Newspoll that you don’t mess with this cohort.
When the super and Age Pension changes were introduced in 2017, the PM’s approval rating plummeted. However, it remains to be seen as to whether older voters will desert the Coalition – we may find that out soon enough, though.
Even the PM says his biggest mistake was quoting 30 consecutive Newspoll losses when he rolled Tony Abbott for the top job in 2015. He says the metric has become a political distraction and matters very little to him. So why should we care?
What the public cares about is seeing a party focused on delivering solid policy that will ensure a fair go for everyone, not a party concerned about popularity contests.
So, we can all back the PM’s sentiment to “focus on our policies and on delivering for the Australian people”. Hopefully we will see that actually happen one day.
Public opinion matters most when it puts in place a leader and a party that will hopefully ensure these ends. We’ll do our part, but can we rely on these parties following through?
The only polls that matter are the ones visited on election day.
When I saw the headlines this morning, my first reaction was ‘who cares’? Will YourLifeChoices members care? But then I thought I’d ask you directly. Do you care about the polls? Do they sway your vote?
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