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Morgan Adds Outlier Weight to Newspoll

Morgan has cheekily come in a week early, giving us the first week of what is usually a two week Face to Face poll with the primaries running 51 (down 1) /32.5 (down 2) to Labor, washing out into a two party preferred of 61/39 the same way – a half a point increase to Labor. The Greens are on 9.5 (up 2) while the broad “Others” are sitting on 7 (up 1). This comes from a sample of 1050 giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 3% mark. This poll was taken over the period of October 31 to November 1 – the same period as the now infamous Newspoll that has caused so much hyperventilation by the usual suspects over the last week.

If we plug this Morgan result in with the other ultra-regular polls of Newspoll and Essential Report, we now come up to date as of November 1st.

ALPprimary lnpprimary


Outliers are simply part of life for a pollster – they happen and there’s absolutely nothing they can really do about the odd one popping up. So the first thing to point out is that if the last Newspoll was an outlier – the probability of which has just increased – there is no Newspoll conspiracy here. We actually expect pollsters to give us a WTF moment every now and again.

What catches my eye about these three pollsters is the way the ALP primary vote most likely did actually drop a tad between the 25th of October and the 1st November. Both Essential and Morgan had the Labor primary dropping a point over that period – after having tracked each other virtually identically over the period since late September.  Newspoll showed a drop too, but it looks like it overshot the true underlying movement of the public by 3 or 4 points. The direction of the change was consistent with the other 2 pollsters, only the magnitude of the size of the change differed.

The Coalition primary however is where it get’s interesting, with both Essential and Morgan showing a slight drop (1 point for Essential, 2 points for Morgan) while Newspoll gave them a 7 point increase. Not only did the magnitude of the Newspoll change differ from the Morgan and Essential, but the direction of the change differed as well. One thing the pollsters did all pretty much agree on though was the Greens vote:


So if Newspoll was an outlier, it all came down to a direct substitution between ALP and Coalition supporters on measuring the vote estimates – with the Greens vote effectively staying consistent across all three pollsters. However, the satisfaction ratings and preferred PM figures didnt move in Newspoll as much as a 7 point change in the primary would ordinarily suggest. If it was just sampling error responsible, we’d have expected those non-vote metrics to move more since effectively all that would be happening is a larger proportion of Coalition voters was sampled by chance.

So it’s probably something more complicated – some form of non-sampling error. However we know that Newspoll runs a kick arse sampling frame so it’s not some structural problem, but rather most likely a human issue, or more particularly, a respondent issue. That gets us into navel gazing areas of what makes a significant number of ordinarily Labor voting people keep their preferred PM and satisfaction ratings the same as if they were voting Labor, but tell the pollster instead that they’re actually intending to vote for the Coalition? That seems to be what happened to Newspoll.

The alternative is that Newspoll picked up a change of voter sentiment earlier than the other two polls. If that was the case, we’ll know on Monday with Essential Report.


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  • 1
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    What did you make of Grahame Richardson’s comment on Q and A last night about the Preferred PM rating being one of the most important polling metrics?

  • 2
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Poss: Sorry to be superficial, but this is genuinely exciting. God I would love this to become the beginning of something big enough to give Kevin Rudd a solid swipe in the guts. If he wants to be a Leader he’s going to have to start acting like one.
    I’m not saying come on the Coalition, I just want the Labor Party to get one hell of a fright! Olé, olé!

  • 3
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Alexander – I didn’t catch Q&A last night. I’ll watch it on I-View and get back to you.

  • 4
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting series of polls, but the Newspoll is still one hell of an oddity. Sure there is the whole “1 in 20” polls that statistically lie outside the usually quoted 2 sigma errors (I assume that’s what is used when poll MOEs are reported?) but that 1 in 20 doesn’t have a licence to be whatever the hell it wants, looking at these results together the Newspoll result looks like a 3-4 sigma outlier, which you expect muuuch less often then 1 in 20. Either Newspoll got ridiculously unlucky, once a decade unlucky, or there is something structural about Newspoll respondants compared to the others.

    Or maybe Bob Ellis was right after all?

  • 5
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Strange as it may sound, an outlier result publshed in all its glory is probably a good thing for the polling industry. All the statistical analysis says says that the results achieved are 95% certain to be within the MOE. So when we get a strange/queer/turning point outcome that does not match received wisdom, it is nice to know that the system is working.

  • 6
    Nipper Quigley
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Possum, according to Bob Ellis…

    “The Newspoll CEO Martin O’Shannessy … said Newspoll did three different samples and always got the same result”

    Can you tell me what Bob (and apparently Martin O) is talking about?

  • 7
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    But Newspoll is a good 6-7% away from the other polls, that’s twice the MOE meaning something close to a 4 sigma error, something expected once every 15 thousand polls or so!

  • 8
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Poss, do the pollsters use a standard set of political Q’s so that they can leverage off each other’s work and allow for a tighter baselining of their sample? I’m thinking this might allow them to get a more accurate measure on their individual commercial questions.

  • 9
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    We actually expect pollsters to give us a WTF moment every now and again.

    Too pat, Possum. A stunning outlier multiplied by a much anticipated slump in the governmet’s stocks at the exact time it was most potent? What are the odds of that?

    I think the result was definitely massaged somewhere along the line. They wanted Rudd to panic and do something that would genuinely reduce his poll ratings, covering up for, laundering the original phoney poll. Making the original cooked-up figures a self-fulfillng prophecy. Maybe Rudd might have sent in the SAS or brought the OV hijackers back to Xmas Island. Something stupid. that’s what thety wanted. They were at him to “spend some political capital”… in their favour, of course.

    The figures are all just too pat. Even the News Ltd journos were embarrassed by them, referring many times to the possibility of this being an outlier, and then going on for the rest of their columns as if it wasn’t.

    It made no sense – a cut in 2PP, but no cut in PPM. The only thing that explains it is a fake set of figures, somewhere, somehow. I know it all sounds terribly “conspiracy theorist”, but then so did Godwin Grech’s little escapade, so did Children Overboard, so did the Dubai “wharfies”, and Iraq’s WMDs, and AWB. In all of these, somwehere along the chain, someone picks up the phone and says, “Just do ias you’re told.” The rest is spin and “commentary”, a fancy dress ball to make the original scam look genuine.

    Just because the above real examples were proven to be conspiracies, doesn’t mean everything is. But it does mean that they’re capable of putting one on, and then mocking any doubters as “paranoid”.

    News “owns” Newspoll. They can call in their proprietary rights anytime they feel like it, and I think they just have.

  • 10
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    As much as I’m amazed at the size of the anomaly, I’d still bet my house (if I owned one) that it’s a statistical fluke not a News(poll) conspiracy. There would be far too many nerdy quants working for Newspoll who would die in a ditch before letting something like that occur. Plus they’d be able to earn their lifetime salary flogging off their exclusive insider take on the conspiracy to Fairfax. No, I’d put this theory in the faked moon landing, 9/11-was-the-CIA, JFK was an alien and Bob Ellis was once sober pile.

  • 11
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    News owns Newspoll. News hates Rudd. Newspoll works for News. Newspoll was so far removed from the others that something’s definitely wrong somewhere.

    It’s just that the coincidence is soooo perfectly timed. I don’t believe in coincidences. They thought they’d get Rudd with htis and bury it in following avalanche.

    It’s actually a more plausible explanation – boasted ownership, well-known hatred, legendary insistence on proprietary control, perfect political timing – than the other one: the country’s supposedly No. 1 poll was out by 7% (9% if you factor in today’s Morgan), showing a huge collapse for the government but no change at all in the two leaders’ approval ratings, when it is the leader who have been making the running on the issue.

    How does a proportion of the public which would amount to about 800,000 voters desert a party they have been supporting for three years, after two weeks beat up inthe press, but still love the Prime Minister they blame for their alleged disgust (or so we are told by journalists writing for the corporation that owns Newspoll)?

    It does not make sense to me unless the fix was in. Too many coincidences.

  • 12
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    But Bushfire Bill, the problem that sticks out like the proverbial with the idea of a Newscorp fix is the size of the turnaround. If you were plotting to massage the numbers in a convincing manner, surely you’d want to make it a plausible movement, perhaps half of that 7% swing in the primary vote, and then maybe also tweak the approval ratings in a nuanced manner. Then at least the Newspoll wouldn’t look SO out of kilter with everyone else and the NC scribes wouldn’t feel the need to caveat their cruddy excuses for analyses with the word ‘outlier’.

    To me it looks more like someone at Newspoll botched-up in Excel (or whatever proprietary software they use), couldn’t find the error, and then PERHAPS were pressured into releasing the figures before someone could do a more forensic check.

    My 2 cents. And my regards to Timmy!

  • 13
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    News “owns” Newspoll. They can call in their proprietary rights anytime they feel like it, and I think they just have.

    And yet BB they hardly gave it any coverage – you yourself said the news ltd journos didn’t really believe it.

    I know it all sounds terribly “conspiracy theorist”,

    It does. For it to have been a consipracy that wold mean news.ltd had also engineered ther 59-41 polls before hand to ensure Rudd was abale to suffer a massive drop.

    I’m happy to conceed newpspoll has a 1-2% “bias” to the LNP compared to other polls, but there’s no murky conspiracy here.

    Stats happen.

  • 14
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    If you were plotting to massage the numbers in a convincing manner, surely you’d want to make it a plausible movement, perhaps half of that 7% swing in the primary vote, and then maybe also tweak the approval ratings in a nuanced manner.

    Let’s just, for the moment, assume they did want to put the fix in somehow. For my money it’d have to be a big one, designed to panic Rudd into doing something silly. Following this, public opinion would genuinely turn against him, and then the dodgy poll would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. In this scenario, the bigger the fix, the better. Something truly shocking to spook Rudd good.

    I know it’s all very collegiate among psephies and statties, but let’s not forget News Ltd. owns and controls the polling company. And we know who runs News Ltd. Rupert, in what must be by now his dotage, even weighs in personally with his opinion on Rudd’s G20 “grandstanding”.


    They have been cooking their books for decades with fake bootstrapper campaigns, phoney emails, circle jerk quoting clubs between the Libs, the Republicans and themselves on “fair and balanced” TV networks like Sky and Fox. Now the ABC – under the evil Rudd, their new Moriarty – is planning to provide for free what they think think the public should pay for (pay News, that is). News is losing its grip on the agenda.

    What was a cosy little operation, almost running itself back home in Australia is going to shit in a hundred directions. Rupert even with Rupe even getting his gal Janet onto the ABC Board to ensure a seamless sharing of information and inspiration between The Australian’s opinion writers and the ABC news desk. He’s got the Libs quoting his editorials in their weekly “information” newsletter, week after week. For the ABC, even with all its faults we complain about back home, to provide a reasonably balanced, free service to Asia and the rest of the world is totally anathema to Rupert’s master plan. And remember, he doesn’t like the BBC very much either. It wasn’t supposed to have been this way.

    My theory is the bigger the scandal, the bigger the shock, the better the result. Remember how the Telegraph absolutely, incontrovertibly faked the Grech email, publishing a supposed photocopy of it on the Saturday after Grech’s testimony? It might have worked, except the addressee was reproduced as “Godwin Grant“. If anyone has forgotten this, Rudd hasn’t. He specifically mentioned the phoney “email” graphic in one of his Parliamentary censure motion speeches the following week. But there was nary an apology from the Tele. Instead we got some guff about “usually reliable sources” letting their reporter (well-known hatchet man Steve Lewis) down badly.

    Nothing is too lousy for them to try in their desperation – nothing – collegiate quibbles about honour among statisticians notwithstanding. The point is: if it works then all is forgiven, and most importantly: forgotten. And it has worked before. Open your eyes and cast your mind back to AWB, Iraq, Children Overboard, Grech, the Dubai “Wharfies”, the Poll Wars of 2006-2007, right back to Khemlani – and the scores of other scams and bootstrappers they’ve run in between.

    For a while Rudd wobbled this week, going gangbusters on the airwaves. I think his people knew the poll was questionable (as a lot suspected), as they do their own research presumably, but he saw the need to get out there and stop any rot that might have resulted in a bandwagon effect. This was not the script News had written. Yesterday’s attack on Climate Deniers wasn’t in it, either. Rudd specifically mentioned “Andrew and Janet” – both of them Rupert Ratbags, one on the ABC Board and the other prominently featured on ABC political chat shows, allowed to rant all he likes by Cassidy about how the world is cooling not warming. If the ABC goes into serious competition with him, Rupert’s knackeredin two ways. He’s lost his megaphones in the organization and he won’t get the advertising revenue he expected from Asia. It’s the thin end of the wedge and he’ll fight hard – do anything – to stop it.

    If you’re going to tell a lie, make it a big one.

  • 15
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Sorry about the bold. It should have come off after “Grant”.

  • 16
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Poss, is there any wight behind the idea that Polls themselves can sway public opinion? People watch the news and see headlines of “asylum seeker backlash” and “Labor in trouble” etc etc and think hmmm, the polls have gone down, maybe my support is misplaced? Or when they see the Coalition consistently behind by massive margins they think “the government is doing a good job, maybe I’ll vote for them. My support is well placed”

    I ask this in the case of the next news poll being another outlier, second in a row, or if the results are manipulated in the Coalition’s favor (I know I’m getting into conspiracy territory there, but their methodology does seem somewhat slanted to get them the result they desire). So can the polls be self perpetuating and actually swing public opinion themselves?

  • 17
    Nipper Quigley
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    What if there WAS a question (but not published) on asylum seekers.
    The interview may go something like this…

    Question – “Would you approve of the Labor Government flooding Australia with illegals?”
    Next Question – “Which party gets your first preference?”

    Publish results of Q2 but not Q1.

    Tongue in cheek, of course. But what may the future hold?

  • 18
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I think the old wisdom holds here: in a choice between conspiracy and stuff-up, choose stuff-up every time.

  • 19
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Whomsoever editied out my inadvertent bold in #14 above, thanks.

    To summarize my position on the 52/48 Newspoll: there have been many scams run by News Ltd. outlets written off, even mocked as “conspiracy theories” in the past. Many of these suspicions have actually turned out to be true, not the products of conspiracy theories at all. News runs political agendas all the time, most of them anti-Labor. they are running one at the moment. The commentary on the poll, while admitting it could be an outlier, generally then ignored this possibility and went on as if the poll was 100% accurate. There was a good deal of anticipation in the lead up to the poll in the week before too. Clearly it was – and is – seen as being an important one, with a potentcy lasting possibly over the next fortnight, and certainly over the next few days, until the next poll from Morgan (or whomever). If the Newspoll’s figures were massaged – not necessarily by Newspoll themselves – then it was vital to get a quick, nasty hit, before other polls came out, most likely contradicting it. In my opinion they were hoping Rudd would panic as a result of the poll and do something stupid before Friday, which he did not (although he did appear to wobble a bit early on).

  • 20
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Hell’s Bells! MORE bold. Can the Good Fairy please rescue me from my own typos?

  • 21
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I had a highly amusing email exchange with a ‘journalist’ from the Oz. (The inverted commas are very appropriate).

    When I tried to point out on said ‘journalist’s’ blog that the inferences being made about what this Newspoll meant were utterly fatuous, I did not get my post through, but rather got a curt email response:

    “Come on. Morgan poll ?

    You cannot be serious.”

    It went down hill from there!

    When I pointed out that no one could make any assumptions from ONE poll so way out of whack, the ‘journalist’ attacked me…get this for shouting in CAPITAL LETTERS!

    Instead of answering even one concern about the statistical improbability of this poll, all I got was ad hominem attacks.

    Not the brightest candle in the candelabra, one could easily conclude.

  • 22
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 9:56 am | Permalink


    But you could see Rudd’s full frontal on the ‘denialists’ as a high stakes gambit to shift the media’s attention from a boatfull of Sri Lankan refugees and therefore that Newspoll.

    At least, that’s what I thought.

  • 23
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Geesus Bill, do have a license for that HTML? :-D

    I’ll get back to everyone this afternoon – domesticity is calling.

  • 24
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I find Nipper Quimby’s hypothesis that there were additional question(s) in this survey that have not been disclosed (yet); compelling. They probably posed these questions after the preferred PM question and before the 2PP questions – hence the glaring discrepancy.

    News Ltd simply has to have engaged in some degree of push polling here to milk the circumstances. As the proud owners of Fox News, with newspaper circulation in turmoil – one could very readily expect that this was intentional and sensational.

    Most News Ltd columnists are simply wage slaves writing something to wrap the ads around, to keep a roof over their heads and their booze fridge full, and they are generally better stringers than Fairfax. Really, our newspapers are perfect for covering burning issues such as Britney Spears concerts.

    Why do we expect more from print such as The Oz, than Today Tonight. It’s the same calibre journalism delivered through different platforms.

    Australian political blogs are infinitely more responsible, balanced and credible. How did we survive without them?

  • 25
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 11:54 am | Permalink


    But you could see Rudd’s full frontal on the ‘denialists’ as a high stakes gambit to shift the media’s attention from a boatfull of Sri Lankan refugees and therefore that Newspoll.

    At least, that’s what I thought.

    Yes, of course, but Rudd can walk and chew gum at the same time, can’t he? Until he knew the poll was an outlier for sure, he had to go on the front foot and try to calm the situation down, a situation that was being ramped up by News Ltd. hacks as the “end of the honeymoon”. If Rudd had just sat back and done nothing the poll might have become self-fulfilling. I think it was admirable caution on Rudd’s part and another instance of the News stooges underestimating him.

    Look at the coverage of the week. It is now all concentrated on Rudd’s speech and Murdoch’s response to it. The Newspoll has been forgotten.

    Score that as a tactical victory for Rudd. If they want a war, he’ll give them one.

  • 26
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Possum, it’s my crappy keyboard. Too much coffee split into it over the years. Thanks for your help. A very forgiving blog host, you are.

  • 27
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Jeez, Bill, you are sounding like a rampant freeper, complaining that the US election polls predicting Obama’s victory are a liberal conspiracy to destroy conservative morale.

    The parties have their own internal polling. They know what is going on. Their stuff might be better than newspoll too – longitudinal and all o’ that…

    If newspoll are cooking the books, they will have to keep cooking the books. Expect a whistle-blower fed up with it to out it. It is a nonsense, and you should know this.

    Almost certainly a statistical outlier – we will have a better picture in a few days, and certainty in a few weeks.

    Remember – the trend is your friend. This is seriously off-trend.

  • 28
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Possum a lot of Liberal voters prefer Rudd or don’t like Turnbull.

    So a change in primary wont mean a commensurate change in satisfaction or PPM.

  • 29
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Jeez, Bill, you are sounding like a rampant freeper, complaining that the US election polls predicting Obama’s victory are a liberal conspiracy to destroy conservative morale.

    Peter, I didn’t mention any US election polls, crooked or otherwise. I mentioned one poll as being possibly fudged. In fact that was my whole point: one poll out of hundreds is out of kilter with the rest of them, not “ALL the polls are crook”.

    I agree that the trend is our friend. But the News Ltd. press has specifically ventured that this poll, while being away from the trend, is correct. They have based most of their political articles on this very proposition. They are saying it represents a new trend. In fact you could say they’re suggesting it’s ahead of the new trend.

    Now why would they do that?

    To me, the fact that this poll has been claimed to confirm the precise line that the Murdoch press has been running is no coincidence. That News Ltd owns Newspoll is also no coincidence. When you’re running a scam, a big one, you can only get away with it once. I am suggesting that this was their one-time attempt to cook the books, at least in the polling area. They have cooked the books many times in other areas under their control, and have been doing so for decades. Things have happened in News Ltd papers that only the most paranoid would believe were genuine. The doubters have had “conspiracy theory” written all over them. But in the end they have been true.

    So why not go the next step and rig a poll at a critical time? Tell me no-one’s ever thought of that idea at News, and I’ll get the Opera House delivered to your door, cheap.

  • 30
    barney langford
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    If you’ve got a choice between a cosnpiracy and a stuff-up (outlier) go for the stuff-up every time.

  • 31
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Bill, this event is indistinguishable from it’s statistical likelihood.

    You have to add all sorts of highly improbable events to come up with your theory.

    Name names. Who did this? What was the chain of events? Where did the order come from?

    What do you predict happening next week? If it reverts to trend, where does that leave you?

  • 32
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Name names. Who did this? What was the chain of events? Where did the order come from?

    C’mon Peter. It’s a hypothesis of mine. It fits the facts and the News agenda. So does a statistical blip fit the facts.

    You point out that it’s most likely a blip. I point out that they’ve done nasty things in the past – including forging an electronic signature from Grech’s non-existent email – and they have complete control over Newspoll. Many wild theories about News’ tactics in the past have been written off a crazy, only to turn up true in the end.

    Both theories – yours and mine – fit the facts. I don’t have to name names. In fact I can’t because I don’t know the names. I don’t have to know the names to put the hypothesis up for consideration. It’s an hypothesis, not a criminal prosecution.

    If Newspoll reverts to trend next poll that fits my hypothesis too. I said at the outset you couldn’t pull this kind of scam more than once in a series of polls. The other polls are there to keep Newspoll honest. Too many deviations from Newspoll and it would start being doubted by more than just bloggers. Their clients might like to take their business elsewhere if Newspoll was inaccurate, and provably so.

    Some people say “Pick the stuff-up over the conspiracy every time.” I’m exploring the conspiracy part of the equation,and there have been many out of News Ltd in the past to make me suitably suspicious.

    I wonder who’s being naive here? Do you really think the journalists at The Australian just happen to come out with seemingly co-ordinated attacks on Rudd? That they don’t chat up and down the corridors to get the line they’re going to take on any issue just right? That Murdoch just happens to own the most right-wing press organization in the entire world? That bootstrapping campaigns don’t exist? That somewhere, sometime, someone doesn’t say, “Let’s do it”?

    I worked at Channel Nine News in Sydney in the 1980s. I saw them all sit around a table and decide to “get” Lindy Chamberlain, to run her guilt as a theme, while pretending to be impartial. I picked up the phone and heard Packer’s voice telling me to get one of the editors. I saw the editor almost snap to attention as he took orders to skew a story (one memorable one on Bill Hayden, when he was Leader of the Opposition). That story was changed to say the complete opposite of what it had been saying five minutes before. It really happens, Peter. It ain’t co-incidence, or stuff-up all the time.

  • 33
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    It’s a weak hypothesis. Considerably weaker than the simplest one – it’s an outlier.

    I am still confused how it would happen. Chris Mitchell calls Martin O’Shannessy and says “Hey, let’s stick it to Kruddy – dodgy up your results”, and Martin says “Ok – sure”.

    Is that what you think happened?

  • 34
    David Richards
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    While I too think it not beyond Citizen Rupert to do a Hearst .. he has form for this (his support of Iraq Invasion is eerily like Hearst’s Spanish-American War efforts), I don’t think even he is this stupid.

    Anything that emanates from News Ltd is suspect, it’s just how and to what degree that is the unknown.

    Maybe this was a case of them trying to slightly massage the figures by one or two percent, but stuffing it up and overdoing it.

    The anticipation of a bad poll, and the chorus of deranged drivel once it come out is suspicious.

    I am agnostic on this… and only the next few polls will reveal the truth.

    What is really interesting is that the switch was apparently made without Mal Adroit saying what HE’D do to stop the boats coming. Once this sinks in, whatever knee-jerk reaction may have caused a slump regardless of its dimension will self-correct as it is realised the Libs have no solution.

  • 35
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Is that what you think happened?

    No further comment on this one Peter (sighs of relief all around). We’ll see what happens.

  • 36
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Having worked for News : it is not about the directive. It’s the culture, the group think, the reinforcing nature of a news cycle where ideas that get printed one day by one player and quoted the next by another as a source. It’s the drive for circulation and readership above fact checking. The internet has made News even more introspected.

    As for quality – Uncle Rupert loves to wax lyrical about it
    but he just doesn’t give a rats : it’s merely a cost of production. Look who he keeps on his payroll. When did the mainstream run an expose on what these fat cats opionionates get payed (gossip about newsreaders is as far is it goes). So the columnists at News just phone it in.

    Does anyone think Rupert instructed his editors to support the Iraq invasion by George W? No need. They all did. Some 400+ News editors unanimously thought is was a cracker of an idea to stop the WMD that Saddam was itching to unleash.

    Look at the way the Oz played Newspoll and timed releases around Gretch. They were incredibly anti-Rudd and pro-Turnbull. Rudd even called them on it. News are hurting because they crave credibility but haven’t earnt it.

    Newspapers could have hung on longer if they had evolved; however News has lead the charge back to the old days. The only thing they’ve got for the next year is the UK election. It’s a shame.

  • 37
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Poss, a spell check would be handy.

  • 38
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    …Having worked for News : it is not about the directive. It’s the culture

    I don’t believe that entirely. I wasn’t supposed to see what I saw in the newsroom at Nine, being a junior tape editor. I was just delivering a note from another office and was standing around waiting to catch an eye when they all decided to get Lindy Chamberlain and had a laugh about it right in front of me. I did witness the call from Packer to one of my colleagues about dirtying up a story on Hayden though.

    This idea that things just… happen… is wrong, or partially wrong. Sometimes, of course, the groupthink rules. But at other times the boss man gives a direct order to apply the hatchet. Subtlety is not an option. That’s why editors have doors on their offices.

    On Grech: the story on the Saturday (the day after Grech’s testimony to Abetz) was run in the Telegraph as a big spread. It included a facsimile of that email. It was addressed to “Godwin Grant”. So it couldn’t have been genuine, as there was no “Godwin Grant” involved in the matter. There was a GODWIN Grech and a John GRANT however. It’s axiomatic that someone faked-up that “email” to look genuine. Someone went to a graphic artist and specifically told her or him to nobble up some text to look like a real Microsoft email. That wasn’t groupthink. That was enemy action: a deliberate attempt to incriminate Rudd in a phoney scam cooked up between Turnbull, Abetz, Hockey, Steve Lewis and Godwin Grech. They were after his head, trying to get him to resign, demanding it.

    At the heart of the matter was that they didn’t have a real email, so they faked it. It didn’t fake itself. A rare mistake, I’m sure, but a telling one. Someone would have gotten into a lot of trouble over it, especially as Rudd picked it up and used it in one of his speeches the next week. The real question is: how often is this kind of direct falsification of evidence done by News Ltd journalists? I say: a lot. It’s just that they don’t usually make clumsy errors as they go about it, so we don’t get to see the direct evidence.

    In case you want to see it for yourself, here’s the link. I’ve treasured it in my Favourites folder to remind myself of just what they can get up to when they think they can get away with it: http://twitpic.com/82dw

  • 39
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Lucky Dave@37:

    I think we are stuck with what we have.

    The only help is to download a spellcheck for your browser. (For example, spellcheck is underlined as a misspelling as I type here in the comment box, and so is thiss).

    But if I had my druthers, there would be:

    1) spellcheck right there no matter if you were on the library computer.
    2) a preview option so you could check that the html was working.
    3) an edit function (time limited to five minutes perhaps) to fix typos that slipped through.
    4) the ability to add a graphic such as a (small) graph or whatever.

    And at the very least, somebody should fix the *&^*^)()(**() quotes function!!!!!!!!!

    It is thrown off by the least little thing. So far as I can tell, quotes within quotes using square brackets are more than it can cope with, and it seems to me that ordinary quotes (“like this”) cause it to spit the dummy as well.

  • 40
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    And also a function to allow the use of smileys right there where you can click on them.

  • 41
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink


    [In case you want to see it for yourself, here’s the link. I’ve treasured it in my Favourites folder to remind myself of just what they can get up to when they think they can get away with it: http://twitpic.com/82dw

    BB, when I click that link I get an upside down photo of a woman and a child. Is that what you wanted to display, or has Rupert got it in for you personally?

  • 42
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    So the spell checker on Firefox isn’t working (although it claims to be turned on). How do I fix it?

  • 43
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Try this: http://twitpic.com/82dw5

    Click on the “View full size” button near the top if you want to see the full detail.

  • 44
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just been told that Newspoll is in the field at the moment, which means another Newspoll this week in The Oz, along with questions on asylum seekers.

    This theory of yours BB is looking a little banged up. That’s not the action of a manipulated pollster, but of one concerned about their previous result.

  • 45
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    This theory of yours BB is looking a little banged up. That’s not the action of a manipulated pollster, but of one concerned about their previous result.

    I hope you’re right, Possum. But there’s been an awful lot of sermonizing by News Ltd journalists on the basis of this poll. As I said, too pat for my liking.

    Of course, looking concerned would fit in too. A result in conformance with other pollsters would give them the chance to apologize for their statistical blip. Their failed scam (if there was one) could be written off as just a little misunderstanding. Oops, sorry, and all that, similar to their explanations for the Godwin Grech “hiccup”. How were they to know Grechy was a fraud?

    When you’re caught in a scam the best thing to do is try to worm your way out of it.

  • 46
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    And thank God for Morgan. He kept them honest.

  • 47
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Of course, looking concerned would fit in too.

    Jeez, Bill. This is one of the defining characteristics of a whacko conspiracy theory – absolutely everything is evidence of the conspiracy.

  • 48
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just been told that Newspoll is in the field at the moment

    They really must be worried about the last result.


  • 49
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Jeez, Bill. This is one of the defining characteristics of a whacko conspiracy theory – absolutely everything is evidence of the conspiracy.

    Yes Peter, and also one of the defining characteristics of real conspiracies, too.

    I can believe one stuff up on WMDs in Iraq. Or another on children Overboard. Or another on Godwin Grech (faked emails and all). But when you get lots of “stuff ups”, most of them coincidentally again Labor, and most of them originating from News Ltd., you do start to wonder.

    Open your eyes mate. Think the worst. It’s usually true when it comes to Murdoch. And when it isn’t, that means it can only get better from there.

  • 50
    Sam Bauers
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Someone went to a graphic artist and specifically told her or him to nobble up some text to look like a real Microsoft email.

    The graphic designer would have been handed the original (fake) text and then laid it out inside those application windows for graphic effect. I don’t think that was intended to lend weight to their legitimacy – it was just a graphic approach to displaying some otherwise graphically boring content. Email text doesn’t conveniently flow around people’s heads when they get in the way either.

    If the outlier poll is some grand conspiracy by News Ltd. it is a pretty ham-handded effort. Surely if they were going to fiddle the primaries they would fiddle a few other numbers to make it more convincing overall.

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