I ‘twittered’ this morning that a Newspoll performed specifically for The Australian, and not published on the Newspoll site, can hardly be taken with anything other than a grain of salt.
Well, it seems that Newspoll were just a little slack in doing the right thing, as by 10:00am the poll results which were all over the news, were actually uploaded to their site.
On viewing the data, I would have to agree with Kim Beazely when he stated that what we see is simply a return to the time honoured status quo for Australian politics. Whether any store can be placed on Abbott’s rhetoric on issues such as virginity or “Great Big New Taxes” – which hereinafter shall be referred to as GBNT, because it’s too bloody long – is up to the individual observer to say. For mine, as for Beazely, the poll simply reflects conservatism resonating to the sounds of Abbotts rhetorical fear and loathing approach to issues of importance to the great unwashed. We’ve yet to see how Abbott intends to fund his direct approach to climate change, and even Blind Freddy will tell you that planting trees and encouraging farmers into bio-char costs money. Where will that money come from? Can I insert a ‘GBNT’ in here?
Statistically, the poll reflects an end to the Rudd government’s honeymoonwith the electorate – one of the longest in political history – in what is an election year. Clearly, even the most enamored of Labor voters, if they’re logical, rational thinkers, will step back and review the government they elected two years ago. Some things the government has done well, others not so much and others – like the proposed internet censorship bill – they ought never to have considered from the outset. On the big issues such as economy, health, education and climate change, I’d rate them overall as a B-. Two years is not a long time and when the GFC is taken into account for the spanner it most assurredly was and still is, what has been achieved is not bad. Essentially the nation has kept it’s head above recession through astute and timely government stimulus, the education ‘revolution’ was sprayed over education policy and immigration as a divisive issue has been all but extinguished. Health is an outstanding issue and one which the government has yet to adequate signal it’s intentions on. It’s looking more and more as if Health will be an election issue this time, just as it was last time. Not a good look.
Climate change remains outstanding and not at all for want of attention. Abbott’s approach is opposition for the sake of opposition and fanning the fears of the general populace with his GBNT claims. Claims which remain unsubstantiated, but he’s a politician, after all. I’ll be interested to have a read of coalition policy on climate change, in fact, on a whole range of issues on which to date, Abbott has remained stubbornly silent.
What is evident from the Newspoll results is the electorate’s wary approach to Abbott as a potential PM. While the incumbent almost always holds the upper hand on those statistics, it’s clear that even conservative respondents have no real desire to see our Tony in the big chair. Not yet, anyway.