I know the mainstream media is only interested in polls owned by Rupert and any other poll, however obscure, they can dredge up that has a bad outcome for Labor. But there are other polls for those who look. I’ve found a credible, representative poll which I don’t think has got anywhere near enough attention. It’s this one by Essential Vision, from January 14, 2013. In a scathing review of Abbott’s popularity amongst his party’s supporters, approximately 1 in 5 Liberal voters responded that they don’t know who their preferred Prime Minister is, out of two options, Gillard or Abbott. It does beg the question, what exactly would this man, Tony Abbott, need to do to have a negative story about him and his unpopularity in the mainstream press? So far he’s Mr Teflon. But writers from independent media like me, who don’t have a vested interest in a Coalition victory, and who have free and unfettered access to facts, rational analysis and our own ideas, are now able to publically provide an alternative opinion of opinion polls. Here’s my analysis of the reason why, amongst all left-wingers and a surprisingly large number of right-wingers, Abbott is as popular as a wet fart in a lift. And why his popularity is only going to get worse as the election gets nearer:
Abbott doesn’t play fair
Australia, being a sporting obsessed country, hates cheaters and bad sports. And bad losers are the worst bad sports of all. When Julia Gillard beat Abbott in the 2010 election negotiations to form a minority government, Abbott’s response has been the longest, most melodramatic toddler-like sour grapes dummy spit the political world has ever seen. When every opportunity for bipartisan support of policies that have widespread community benefits has been stomped on and rejected, Abbott is left looking like someone who has taken his bat and ball home. In other words, a bad loser.
With this ‘bad sport’ perception already permeating through the electorate, the last thing Abbott needs is for more evidence to come to light that his team has not been playing fair in their mission to overturn the Labor government and to cause an early election. Of course, most of the required evidence for public outrage has already come to light in the behavior of Mal Brough in regards to the Ashbygate/Slipper affair. Remember the Judge Rares statement that Abbott didn’t read? However, for the time being, the mainstream media is going to great pains not to investigate who exactly was involved in the conspiracy the judge described. But surely the facts won’t remain hidden for much longer? Not when so many excellent independent investigators are hot on the heels of the story. I can’t help but think of that Cricket game in 1981 when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to stop the New Zealanders hitting a six and winning the game. The New Zealand PM said at the time that it was:
“the most disgusting incident I can recall in the history of cricket”.
This line would work quite well to describe how the Australian public will feel when the full details of Ashbygate are revealed. I wonder if Abbott wakes up every day wondering if today is the day that a rebel journalist, or an independent media outlet, will finally break the full details of his colleagues’ involvement. And perhaps his own covert trickery as well. Tick, tick, tick.
Ten steps forward, twenty steps back
A recent post by conservative blogger, Iain Hall on the AIMN, outlines what it is to be a conservative. Hall explains:
“conservatives like me don’t totally disavow social change but we do want any changes to be slow considered and incremental.”
There is no doubt that Abbott is the most conservative Opposition leader Australia has ever seen. But I don’t think Hall’s description does justice to just how right-wing Abbott really is. Instead of promoting beneficial social change in a ‘slow and incremental’ fashion, Abbott is instead going after anything that looks like a progressive social reform, and taking to it with a chainsaw. It’s as if he decided from the outset of Gillard’s 2010 election win that her time as Prime Minister would be totally erased if he were to gain power in 2013, or earlier. As if to accentuate his view that the Labor government has been illegitimate, he’s promising to ‘axe’, ‘repeal’ or ‘turn back’ every beneficial policy that Labor has, against the odds, delivered, or is working to deliver. The Carbon Tax. The National Disability Insurance Scheme. The National Broadband Network. The Mining Tax. The rise in the tax free threshold. The Gonski education funding reforms. I could go on.
I must admit that I’ve never met a true conservative, as Hall describes, who is even willing to entertain the notion that social change needs to happen at all, incrementally or not. In my experience, conservative right-wingers are hand-breaks. They have either been born at the top of the social ladder and feel it’s therefore their right to kick the ladder down to stop anyone below climbing up it. Or they’ve managed to climb someway up the ladder and are sabotaging the rungs as they ascend. Either way, their main objective is status quo – keeping things pretty for themselves and ensuring no one else can come up to meet them. But Abbott isn’t just content with status quo. The hard fought progressive wins of the Gillard government, in Abbott’s ideal scenario, will be nothing but dead, buried and cremated.
It’s quite obvious that I am appalled by Abbott’s plans to put the country into reverse gear, but what does everyone else think? I know it’s unorthodox to report on polls that have anything to do with policy. It’s just that I figure policy is kind of important when it comes to an election. Crazy, I know. This Essential Vision poll from this week, which again, I have not seen reported in the mainstream media, shows that 55% of those polled approve of the Mining Tax. In this poll from November last year, 69% of those polled support the NBN. And in this poll from October, 58% support the NDIS. So with all this democratic support for policies that Abbott promises to get rid of, it will be very interesting to see how voters’ policy opinions influence their decisions come September.
And what about the policy which is supposedly the most ‘toxic’ for Labor: the Carbon Price? Again, the not much heard of Essential Vision poll from January 29 shows that 50% of people oppose this tax. This obviously still does not put the policy in a winning position. But when you consider the millions of dollars spent by vested interests to fight the ‘Carbon Tax’, the bullshit biased reporting of the policy by the mainstream press and Abbott’s permanent stunt-inspired and fear-inducing strategy of spreading negativity and mistruths across every corner of the country, this poll shows the Carbon Price is nowhere near as unpopular as most would believe.
There is also a giant elephant in the room when it comes to Carbon Pricing that Abbott will be hoping is going to be ignored over the next few months. That is President Obama’s intentions to implement a market for carbon in the United States. Obama’s plans vindicate Labor’s reasoning that their policy would be a trailblazer for larger economies to model their plans on. The President’s policy announcement also shows that, were Abbott to repeal the Carbon Price, Australia would be lagging behind one of our most important allies in taking worldwide action to reduce the catastrophic effects of climate change. When the world’s mega economy, China, is also looking at implementing a carbon price amongst other environmental policies, it makes Abbott’s scaremongering over Australia’s policy look even more backward and self-serving. Who wants to be a follower and not a leader? And worse, who wants to be an ex-leader who took ten steps forward and twenty steps back? It is my prediction that the 50% who oppose the Carbon Tax will at least have cause to consider when they see other large nations, including China, the US and South Africa, implement their climate change policies.
I know ordinarily if Abbott were worried that he was headed for a bad poll, he’d put on a high vis vest, pick up a shovel and wheel out Margie plus two of three daughters. His current strategy seems to be of the hide and run away kind. The mainstream media have been working a treat, publishing every fluff piece Peta Credlin produces, focusing on unfounded Labor leadership tensions and generally turning Labor bashing into a national sport. But I just don’t think the electorate will be fooled for much longer. Call me delusional, call me an optimist. I don’t care. I stick by my prediction that Gillard will win the September election. There is plenty of evidence to show that Abbott’s popularity has peaked, and that is why I think it’s all downhill from here for the mainstream media’s favorite horse. Whether Rupert and Gina like it or not.