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September 05th 2010 print

David Flint

Implausible polling

Weekend polls on which party the people want the independents to support are just not plausible.

According to the Newspoll in The Weekend Australian (4-5/9), 39% of voters want the independents to support the Coalition, and 47% Labor. 14% are uncommitted, 6% being Coalition supporters and 5% Labor. The poll also says both Coalition and Labor supporters are almost unanimous in believing the independents should support their parties.

But isn’t the Coalition leading substantially in primary votes received and marginally in the two party preferred vote?  Yet the poll says 8% more want the independents to support Labor.

According to the TWS poll in the Sydney Morning Herald 31% of voters want the independents to support the Coalition and 37% Labor.  26% want a new election. But if there were another election the Coalition would lead on the two party preferred vote, 50.4% to 49.6%.

This discrepancy between the actual votes and what people want the independents to do in the Newspoll survey can only be explainer  in one of three ways.

One is that there has been a large swing against the Coalition since the election. But the TWS poll says there is a small swing to them. The swing could have been reduced by the finding by TWS that 59% expressed concern at the $10.6 billion “black hole” Treasury found in the Coalition’s policy costing. (Were respondents also told about the extraordinarily low Treasury interest projection on government debt, and the absence of costing for neither the $43 billion NBN proposal? Were they reminded of the $5 to $8 billion which reputable investigative journalists conclude were lost on the BER stimulus project?)

If this is so, either the voters are confused, or they are being mischievous.

Alternatively, the polls are wrong.  

When such an obvious discrepancy arises would it not be wise to ask more questions?