Howard to win – bugger it!

As has happened through most of the election campaign period, two of the major opinion polls are contradicting each other, and the latest Newspoll is yet to be released. ACNeilsen shows the Coalition comfortably in front (52% to 48% in two-party preferred terms) while Morgan’s flagship face-to-face poll shows Labor in front by a slightly smaller margin (51.5 to 48.5).

Update (Tuesday morning) – Newspoll also has the Coalition leading narrowly (50.5-49.5).

The second-string media-commissioned polls reflect similar confusion. The latest Murdoch Galaxy poll has the Coalition leading 52-48, while Fairfax’s Taverner poll has Labor in front 51-49. And this story from The Age reports that an updated Newspoll of the 12 most marginal seats shows the Coalition retaining a lead of 51.5 to 48.5 in all of them, while the Taverner poll reports that Labor could win 4 of the most marginal NSW seats!! See this page at the Newspoll website to open the updated marginal seats poll results.

Meanwhile the bookies are still figuring on a Coalition win (see Bryan’s graphical representations at the foot of his post).

What does it all mean? I reckon the parties’ own confidential marginal seat polling shows the Coalition with a narrow-ish verging on comfortable margin. John Howard’s body language and confident tone when interviewed by Laurie Oakes on the Nine network Sunday program yesterday strongly contrasted with his anxious, almost hysterical demeanour at some earlier stages of the campaign. Maybe Howard has been practising his method acting skills, but I suspect there’s more to it. Even his opening gambit to Oakes exuded confidence:

LAURIE OAKES: Six days to go. How confident are you that you’ll wake up the winner next Sunday?

JOHN HOWARD: I think we’ll make it but it’s very close. It always was going to be close. We only have a margin of eight seats. And that is a tiny margin, in a House of 150.

It’s a little surprising really, because you would normally expect both leaders to be still trying to position themselves as underdog at this stage. Any readers have suggestions on why Howard isn’t doing that?

In any event, my current expectation/prediction is that the Coalition will win on Saturday and be returned with a very slightly reduced margin. It looks like Howard’s “spend-and-scare campaign” (as Murdoch hacks are now calling it) has worked. I expect that trend merely to be reinforced by the final week advertising blitz and disengaged undecided voters finally focusing on the choice to be made.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Brett
Brett
2022 years ago

Well I think it would be a mistake to base any judgements on the Nielsen poll.Since he has moved to weekday polling he has been overestimating the Coalition primary vote.Morgan face to face has fallen into line with the last two Newspolls and I would be going with their interpretations.As far as betting is concerned there was a $200,000 made last week on the coalition to win and Centrebet said they were holding a million dollars on the election result last night.That means %20 of the pool is made up of one bet.The marginal seat betting has shown a gradual tightening of Labor’s odds especially in NSW seats.In my opinion News Limited papers are genuine in their reporting when they say the election is up for grabs.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Brett

I guess you can prefer whichever poll you want. I place more credence on Howard’s performance on yesterday’s Sunday program, unless someone can provide a plausible reason why he should pretend to exude confidence when his party’s internal polling is giving him no reason for it.

Brett
Brett
2022 years ago

I think he is sending a clear message to his troops that everything will be alright we will get there in the end.He is trying to mantain cohesion and trying to keep their confidence up because if heads start to drop or people get nervous then its not likely to help his campaign.A pep talk.I’d rather be making judgements based on opinion polls rather than basing it on something Howard said in an interview with Laurie Oakes.

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2022 years ago

I wish I shared your confidence, Ken. Howard sounds professionally interested, but looks like a man ready to retire.

Howard made a spectacular blunder in his drunken spending binge of TAXPAYER’S money. Most people I’m talking to can’t remember a single thing he’s s’posed to be spending all of our money on…they just remember the $6bn figure. He’s blown his ‘responsibility’ trump card over Biff.

Fortunately for him my vote makes no difference anyway, what with me being in the red ribbon seat of Fraser (McMullan – Adam Giles (Lib) is about as big a chance as Wilkie in Bennelong). I’ll probably be going for a small-government independent candidate in the Senate.

I reckon it will be Latham by a small but comfortable margin, in no small part thanks to Greens preferences…God help us all.

Spiros
Spiros
2022 years ago

Hi Ken, I’m a long time reader and this is my first comment.

Glen Milne in today’s Oz says according to internal Liberal polling it could be a hung Parliament with the independents holding the balance of power. Milne is very well connected to the Liberals and this sounds right to me. It certainly is consistent with opinion polls, which if you average them, make it a 50:50 contest at this stage. It’ll probably come down to a couple of seats where local factors determine the outcome.

I’d say Howard looked confident because his polling told him that the election is his win.

But it’s also Latham’s to win. It should be an interesting week.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Latham by plenty, I reckon. People like me and Andrew Norton’s friends have lost faith in a Liberal government that spends money like the ALP.

Mind you, I was surprised when some of my blue-collar ALP friends were saying that they were thinking about voting for Howard this time. Most of the people that actually know me do not know my political views at all but we discussed the election on grand final day, and they were worried about Latham’s economic management skills.

Still, it is hard to argue, from a conservative point of view, why this Liberal government should be returned. It is just as shonky as an ALP government would be; and the ALP would be an improvement in one sense- they will feel keenly the need to prove their economic credentials.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Scott

I certainly hope you and Al Bundy are right. But I’m not feeling at all confident.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Oh ye of little faith. I’m still convinced that the ALP will get across the line. The government is looking tired, frayed around the edges and generally well past it’s use-by date. The Greens vote will be huge and the resulting preference flow will probably do it for Labor. I note however that they’ve declined to preference poor old Kim Beazley in Brand. He’s a warmonger apparently. One too many tank photo-ops.

Over at ‘Back Pages,’ several commenters have indicated an intent to move to NZ should the Coalition be returned, but I think you’d find it a tad chilly after Darwin, Ken.

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
2022 years ago

I still lean to a Labor win, and I favor the view that Howard has been coached. A claim to be ahead is so unusual in recent political history as to suggest that he is ‘protesting too much’ in order to counter the perception that he looks beaten.

The dismay within the Liberal camp, shown above, may not have a big impact on votes, but even a small impact should be enough. By contrast, everyone I know on the Labor side (even those generally disillusioned with the ALP) really wants to win this one.

Mike
Mike
2022 years ago

Howard is a liar and a spendthrift who cares only about retaining power and assuring his place in history.

He has lost any right he ever had to our continued trust

Go for it Latho and good luck!

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Ken ,
contrast this election with the last.
This week out is was dead easy to know who was going to win, Howard wasn’t making statements such as these.

If the three main opinion polls are showing differing results then it means at this stage it is tight.

This last week will decide who wins. however if one reads some of the Neilsen results then you have to wonder.
They think the ALP is spending more than the government. This is neither right in gross nor net terms.

one problem for the Liberal party however it that John howard has shown yet again what a poor performer he is however Peter costello has made elementary errors which has meant egg all over his face. what would happen if he was leader!

Mark U
Mark U
2022 years ago

The polls suggest too close to call.

AFL portent: Brisbane (backed by John Howard) fails to win a fourth time against Port Adelaide (backed by mark Latham)- Labor win

NRL portent: Working class Bulldogs beat Eastern Suburbs silvertails – Labor win

Tea leaves: all my tea leaves were on the right hand side of the cup today – Coalition win

Does anyone have a spare goat?

True RWDB
True RWDB
2022 years ago

I’ve accepted the inevitably of a Latham win from well before the campaign started. I know vary few people who are likely to vote for the Coalition and I live in a Liberal seat surrounded by Liberal seats.

We coalition voters will just have to live with this result which will guarantee Latham at least two terms (no federal government in my lifetime – over 60 years – has lost at the first election after a change of government and this is unlikely to change).

Human progress never goes up continually without setbacks. We have had excellent government for nearly nine years-three steps forward-and we are due for a couple of steps backward. We have to live with it and get on with life. Hopefully Latham won’t cause the devastation his mentor created in his two terms in office.

In the very unlikely event of a Coalition victory, I can just see the embittered letters to the editor in the vein of “we wuz robbed” that characterized the Republic referendum. Get ready for a massive dummy-spitting event if Howard wins!

Link
2022 years ago

4 sleeps to go! and in my case ‘flights’ (!)

Guido
2022 years ago

It seems that Howard will be returned with about the same majority.

However my prediction is that with the fact that Howard is going to retire in glory and interest rates are going to go up anyway it will be a rough ride for the goevernment.

Jack Strocchi
2022 years ago

I have been predicting a comfortable Howard victory for more than one year. I updated this theoretical prediction with empirical data in the CoW trifecta (06/09/04) which predicts that all three of the parties that led the Coalition of the Willing – Howard, Bush & Blair – will win their respective elections.
I will offer Centrebet odds to anyone who believes that the CoWs wont come home.

Jack Strocchi
2022 years ago

I have been predicting a comfortable Howard victory for more than one year. I updated this theoretical prediction with empirical data in the CoW trifecta (06/09/04) which predicts that all three of the parties that led the Coalition of the Willing – Howard, Bush & Blair – will win their respective elections.
I will offer Centrebet odds to anyone who believes that the CoWs wont come home.

Eric Vigo
Eric Vigo
2022 years ago

Fuck, I’ve given up really.

My gut feeling – that the media & the polls just avoid anything outside their idea of what the public do or want.
Why do I feel that they keep asking the same types of people, and that they give ‘whatever’ answers.
So they get home phone numbers & ask at relatively the same times.
So, there are no early 20s, shift workers, people & houses that have ditched the home phone…. nah, no look in. Sorry you cant affect govt thru the pollsters….

How many Green votes will come from young people (apparently not much of a % of the population to worry about, lets just pay attention to Hinkler Battlers or Lindsay Asperationals. Oh yes they deserve all the attention – what with their McMansions – why they are just a bit taller than the Little People.

I digress. I see the big winner in this campaign is Bob Brown & then Mark Latham. Its what we arent hearing that strikes me the most.

Young people are not SCARED by interest rate rises. They watch The Chaser (hey, I’m young-ish, well a very young mind, & The Chaser is a brilliant pisstake of society. These are the shows the young people, sorry I’ll repeat, YOUNG non-aspirationals who watch this kind of show. Even out in Blacktown it gets through)

Be suprised, and nothing like analysis of polls will tell us.

My gut feeling is, anything could happen, so at least it will be exciting.

trackback
2022 years ago

I’m not the underdog!

Noting Howard’s prediction of victory, Ken Parish observesIt’s a little surprising really, because you would normally expect both leaders to be still trying to position themselves as underdog at this stage. but takes the prediction, and Howard’s confid…

trackback
2022 years ago

Onward the Greens

Steve Lewis in The Australian has made his call. He says: “It’s time . . . to declare Mark Latham