Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Poll Spin - Howard Says He Can Win

Today's Newspoll survey results seemed to bring good news to John Howard. The Liberal Party was back to his previously losing position, as shown by polls from 6 July onwards. The only exception was the last poll. (2 September). All others had (2-party preferred) the Coalition at 44-45% and the Labor Party at 55-56%.

From that, John Howard told the Party room that "I can win it". Well, politicians do like to talk up their underdog status, to at least appear to have a chance. In truth, he does. The polls have shown a fairly consistent % of 'uncommitted' that are not included in the poll results. Those undecided on polling day are more likely to vote for an incumbent government, than for a change. So, we can expect future polls to show a narrowing of the gap.

In terms of voter satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the leaders, the numbers stay the same.
  • John Howard: 45 % Satisfied; 44% dissatisfied.
  • Kevin Rudd: 65% satisfied; only 18% dissatisfied.
The same is true for voter perceptions of who would make a better Prime Minister
  • John Howard: 38%
  • Kevin Rudd: 48%
The challenge for both parties, and especially the Liberal Party, is to win the hearts and votes of those uncommitted: about 10-14% of voters. The other numbers will change a little, but it is this group that will really decide the election.

Meanwhile, Kevin Rudd has been cautioning his team against any displays of hubris or arrogance: Government ministers have already tried lining up to tell voters that's what's happening. The mind games continue, from both sides.

It is 5 days since John Howard talked about his team. Since then, not a single one of his press releases has mentioned the word 'team', but there have been plenty of 'I's.