Saturday, April 28, 2018

Not-A-Poll: Worst PM Of The Last 45 Years

It's a little bit later than I intended but I've now found time to kick off the Worst PM Not-A-Poll as a sequel to the Best PM series that I ran for several months.  Voting in the sidebar, below the Prosser Not-A-Poll.  The first round will run until the end of May.  The rules are:

* this is intended as a shorter exercise than Best PM, so if there is not an outright majority in round 1 there will be a runoff between the top two only.

* in the case of a tie to get into the runoff, the PM who left office first will progress to the runoff.

* in the case of a tie in the runoff, the PM who received the most votes in round 1 will be deemed Worst PM.  If the two tied in round 1 as well they will be deemed equal worst.

* in the event of obvious or highly likely stacking by a single person I will deduct votes and declare changed results as I deem necessary - any changes will be logged as soon as I decide them.

* Gough Whitlam is not included as he won immunity by winning the Best PM Not-A-Poll series.

I do ask that people vote honestly.  It's common for supporters of political parties to automatically demonise the current PM while their party is in opposition, or the most recent PMs of the other side while their party is in government.  That said, you might honestly think the person that line of attack implies is the worst, and if that's the case, go for it.  (And no, this site doesn't make or break careers at federal level at least, so please don't vote for anyone on that basis.)

Worst PM will be followed by Worst Opposition Leader.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Poll Roundup: What Is Going On With Newspoll Preferences?

2PP Aggregate (Last-election preferences): 52.4 to Labor (-0.4 since last week,  -1.2 points in five weeks)
With One Nation adjustment, 51.8 to Labor 
Closest position since May last year
Labor would very probably win election held "right now", but would probably have a small to moderate majority

[Updated on 26 April at bottom of post]


Normally I issue Poll Roundups every second Newspoll. Since the last one there's been the slight distraction of the Coalition's 30th consecutive 2PP Newspoll loss. This week's Newspoll was number 31 in a row, just two shy of equalling the longest losing streak held by Labor under Julia Gillard, but it was more significant for the discussion it has sparked about (i) Newspoll's preferencing methods (ii) the prospect of a Coalition recovery.  So firstly, a detailed discussion of the preferencing issue, and then a slightly shorter discussion of where things now stand in federal polling.

Newspoll as a brand name linked to a standard set of questions has a 33-year history in Australia.  However, in 2015 the company previously doing Newspoll for the Australian was wound up.  The Australian retained control over the brand, but its operation was contracted out to Galaxy Research (which in turn was recently acquired by YouGov).  While the questions didn't change when Galaxy took over, the methods did, with a mixture of robopolling and online polling replacing the old Newspoll's landline-only live phone polling, and an increase in average sample size.

Friday, April 20, 2018

How Could The Tasmanian Legislative Council Be Reformed?

In the leadup to Legislative Council elections for Prosser and Hobart, the fact that the current Legislative Council has a left-wing majority that seems likely to make life difficult for the re-elected Hodgman Liberal Government has been receiving some attention.  Since the balance of power in the LegCo is not likely to move much to the right this year at least, this raises the age-old questions of whether it is too easy for the Legislative Council to obstruct an elected Government, and if so what might be done to change it.

As I mention this is a very old debate, but the novelty in the present situation is having a left-wing LegCo overseeing a right wing government. Up until the late 1990s, malapportionment meant the other way round was much more common.  Discussion quickly turns to the unusual features of Tasmania's upper house system.  The system was designed to check perceived short-term democratic excesses and members are elected on a rotational basis with two or three of the fifteen seats coming up for their scheduled election every year.  There is no mechanism for a government that finds its legislation or even its budgets blocked to force the Legislative Council to an election, and the Legislative Council can never be dissolved all at the same time.  This makes it extremely powerful.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Disassociation From Tasmanian Times

Update (March 2020): Tasmanian Times has a new owner and at this stage the moderation problems I encountered with the site have not returned.  The current situation is that I am still not going to post on TT, but will now link to the site as appropriate.


Until yesterday there was an image link to this website in the sidebar of Tasmanian Times (which I ceased writing for in 2012).  Such as it was (I'm no graphic designer!), it looked like this:

However I have now decided to disassociate this site from Tasmanian Times to the maximum extent possible.

The nature of this decision is as follows:

1. It is no longer possible to reach this site via the sidebar on TT as the link has been removed at my request.

2. I have asked the TT editor to cease promoting and linking to my site on TT.

3. Barring a major improvement in TT moderation or other satisfactory solution, I will not post any more comments to TT in the future at all.  (Since leaving the site as a writer in 2012 I have only commented there rarely anyway.)

4. All future links to TT that I may post here in the course of my coverage or debate will be to a Wayback Machine version of the content only.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Newspoll Number 30: Rolling Comments

"The one thing that is clear about our current situation is the trajectory. We have lost 30 Newspolls in a row. It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott's leadership"

Normally I am now doing federal polling roundups every second Newspoll (here's the latest) but the event that is very likely to happen demands its own thread.  In polling history, this is something very novel - a Prime Minister who seems about to meet the same standard of polling failure that he used as a justification for removing his opponent.  Judge for yourself from the link above how central a justification it was, but I reckon it was more than an aside.

Once we have the Newspoll result I will update this article and there are likely to be comments on various claims that are made as a result.  One remarkably silly false claim circulating on social media is that Abbott's 30 Newspolls plus Turnbull's 30 Newspolls will equal 60 consecutive Newspoll losses.  Turnbull did not start losing every poll immediately; his losing streak commenced 21 polls in.