Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Australian Election 2007 - Poll Insights

This morning's Australian carried an interesting poll from my viewpoint.

Once broad trends are established, as they are at the moment, I am less interested in the aggregate number than in the details.

To begin with, I have been wondering just how the Greens were tracking. They have dropped off the media screen.

Based on experience I would have expected them to be in a degree of trouble. They now suffer from the same problem as the National Party, locked into the ALP in the same way as the Nats are to the Liberals. Their main platform, the environment, has been expropriated by the main Parties. They also face a polarised electorate, always dangerous territory for a minority group.

The poll appears to reflect this. At the last elections, the Greens got 7.2 per cent. Recently their support has been running between 3 and 5 per cent, most recently 4 per cent. So they have a problem.

Then I was wondering how the Nats were going as distinct from the Liberals. At the last election the Nats got 5.9 per cent. In recent weeks they have been running between 3 and 4 per cent, but have now recovered to 5 per cent.

Unlike the Greens who have a national but thin vote, the Nats' vote is geographically concentrated. So the Nats appear to be coming back. It is, I think, actually a little while since the total Nats vote passed the Greens. The big threat for the Nats remains, I think, their New England coastal seats.

Finally, I wondered about the reaction to Dr Haneef. Here a question on Immigration Minster Andrew's handling of the matter suggested that 49 per cent approved, 36 per cent disapproved.

Actually, this was better than I expected. But the real kicker is in the detail. There is a clear upward gradient based on age. Only 44 per cent of those aged 18-34 approve, as compared to 53 per cent for those over 50.

Mr Howard has been losing support among the younger age cohort for some time. This is nothing to do with his own age, at least I do not think that it is, but simply reflects the demographic that he is playing to. I find it odd that I am personally much more comfortable with those under twenty five than with those over thirty. Really very odd.

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