Last night on Channel Nine news, a Galaxy poll was published that was supposed to be a “bombshell”. It was taken over the period July 17/18, making it the first full post-election announcement poll (today’s Newspoll on the other hand, which we looked at here, would only be 50-65 odd percent taken after the election announcement) and the second poll in three days Galaxy has undertaken. Both Galaxy’s had a sample of 800, giving an MoE that maxes out around the 3.5% mark. The vote estimates and their change over the 2 days from the previous Galaxy came in like this:
On the preferred PM stakes, Gillard was unchanged on 55, Abbott was up 3 to 35 while the Uncommitted were down 3 to 10. Not much of a bombshell here, just a bit of sampling error.
The funny part here is that after yesterday saying how Galaxy is usually the poll with the least variation of all the pollsters recently (which they still are, mind you), they go and pull this within 24 hours. No Christmas card for them! 😛
As always, if we want to know what the real underlying level of public opinion is, we have to look through the polling noise and random variation that occurs. Tomorrow we’ll rerun our Pollytrend metrics and add the new Galaxy, Newspoll and the Essential Report coming out later today to do that very thing.
Galaxy also asked a few additional questions. First up, we had:
Which of the two parties, the Gillard led ALP or the Abbott led Coalition, do you think has the best policies for each of the following?
These were fairly consistent with today’s Newspoll that we looked at earlier.
Next up Galaxy asked some association questions:
In your opinion, which one of the two leaders, Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott, is best described by each of the following words or phrases?
There’s some uncomfortable results here for Abbott – apart from obviously being a long way behind Gillard on the positive associations and a long way in front on the negative ones.
Public perceptions of “trust” is going to influence just about everything for non-rusted on voters during the campaign to some extent. If one side says that they will or won’t do “Policy Prescription X” – then it comes down to how much the public actually believes them – where a proxy for that believability is generic perceptions of “trust”. So, for instance, if we take the policy roadkill necklace of Workchoices as an example, where Essential Report has repeatedly shown for two years that the public hate it and still fear it, when Abbott declares that Workchoices is dead and that he won’t change the current ALP policy for the next three years – how much will the public believe him?
When only 35% of the public trust him – the rough size of the rusted on vote for the Coalition – the public’s believability of Abbott’s stated position (regardless of any inherent truth that may be behind it on his part) will inevitably be substantially reduced.
With such a low level of generic trust, he will find it very difficult to convince the public that his stated policy positions can be believed if they differ from any long-standing view (prejudicial or not) the public may have of either Coalition policy or Abbotts personal views. It’s a sort of “Leopard can’t change its spots” effect when generic trust is low.
If you want to see how relatively low levels of trust have operated before in campaigns – Mark Latham is the best recent example.
Abbott’s high score on “someone you don’t like much” must also be a concern for him, especially among personality voters – those people that vote not on the basis of policy positions, but on the basis of leaders personality….the sort of “I just don’t like that person” voter.
Next up, Galaxy asked:
Which of these describe your thoughts about the way that Julia Gillard became leader of the Labor Party? Would you say she …?
The first two answers are pretty much one and the same, but it’s an interesting look at the effect on the ALP voter base with around 15-17% of them still grumpy over the removal of Rudd.
Finally, and further on Rudd, Galaxy asked:
If the Labor Government is returned at the election do you agree or disagree that Julia Gillard should offer Kevin Rudd the post of Minister for Foreign Affairs?
The interesting bit is the headline figures for the last two questions – where even though 56% believe Gillard did the best thing for the government, 61% believe that Rudd should be given Foreign Affairs – with mostly Coalition voters dragging that down.
Later today, Next up – Essential Report.