Saturday, September 18, 2004

No bounce in Australia, too 

The "Sydney Morning Herald" is disappointed the Labor Opposition leader Mark Latham is not performing as well as expected: "Surprise surge for PM despite losing debate," says the headline of the article decrying the fact that media-generated events don't seem to have as much impact on the electorate as the media would hope for:
"[A]fter a dramatic 10 days marked by the Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta and Mr Latham's launch of his crucial tax, family and schools policies, the Coalition has extended its lead on primary votes by two points to 48 per cent, while Labor remains steady on 40 per cent.[*]

"The Coalition's improvement also comes despite the Labor leader outscoring the Prime Minister, John Howard, in the televised election debate last Sunday."
Says the pollster John Stirton of ACNielsen: "The traditional post-debate bounce for the Opposition has either not occurred or been cancelled by other factors... On these numbers, the Government would be returned with its majority roughly intact." Poor Latham just doesn't seem to get that break, does he? Mind you, ACNielsen doesn't have a stunning reputation for accuracy, but the more reliable Newspoll is also showing the government in a reasonably good position - albeit not as good.

* For non-Australian readers: here Down Under we have a compulsory preferential system of voting, which means that after counting the first preference votes for minor parties are set aside and second preferences on the ballots allocated among the top two candidates. Hence, even though the Liberals are on 48% and Labor on 40%, all things considered Labor could still win if most of the second preferences from the "other" 12% of voters went to Labor instead of the Liberals.


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