Essential Report’s polling of Federal voting intentions continues to show a large two-party preferred majority for the Coalition, and that 57 per cent of voters believe that the “current Federal Labor Government of Julia Gillard” does not deserve to be re-elected. No surprise there. What is interesting, however, is that the results of some other recent Essential polls suggest a distinct lack of public enthusiasm for a change of government.
A poll of voter expectations of an Abbott-led Coalition Federal government shows that voters, on balance, expect it to make matters worse in almost all areas of policy and performance. Another poll shows that more voters believe the Liberals are not ready to govern than believe they are.
A couple of polls on much-belaboured Labor policies also show that many more voters want to either retain the mining tax as it is, or amend it to raise more money, than to dump it, and that public support for the Federal government’s manufacturing industry support package is almost five times the public opposition to it.
On another potentially salient issue, large majorities of voters continue to be opposed to privatisation and to strongly support continued public ownership and control of services frequently mooted for privatisation. Opposition to privatisation is particularly strong in Queensland.
In short, current poll support for the election of an Abbott-led Coalition government is soft and brittle. Yet it exists, and persists. And voter opinion of what the Federal Labor government has actually done is not all that unfavourable. Yet people don’t think the government deserves to be reelected. What are we to make of this? Two conclusions occur to me. One is that the Federal election should still be very winnable for Labor. The other is that there are clearly factors other than the merits of the Coalition and its policies, the actual policy performance of Federal Labor, and the policy preferences of voters, that are dragging Labor down. The question is: what are those factors and what can be done about them?
At various times this post will go into full moderation until the author logs back in