Cartoon: By Pickering
Recent movements in Newspoll don’t seem to make any sense and are not reflect in other polling during the same timeframe. While others have been relatively constant since the start of September, Newspoll has fluctuated wildly, from having the Coalition up 55-45%, then even, then Coalition up 54-46%, then in the latest, even again.
There are two indications that the results are wrong, the first being the lack of movement in other polls. The second is the lack of movement in the vote for the Greens despite actual results in recent elections indicating a drop in support for them. They were soundly thrashed in the New South Wales local authority elections, and then lost three of their four seats in the Australian Capital Territory election.
After rushing to claim that Abbott had run out of puff, today political pundits came out in force to claim in unison that Gillard successfully painting Abbott as a sexist or misogynist caused the result. This has to be treated with scepticism owing to the absence of news on the issue as Labor tried to deal with its budgetary problems, boat arrivals, and an unaffordable ‘Asian Century’ white paper.
It is also negated by a new Newspoll on ‘Tony Abbott sexist behaviour’, which seems to indicate that it is only an issue along party lines, essentially Labor plus a bit (probably Greens) thinks he is, while Coalition thinks he isn’t. This makes sense, as the Gillard misogyny speech was essentially a histrionic response to Abbott’s criticism of the government’s defence of Peter Slipper, a lecherous old coot accused of sexual harassment, whose tweets on female genetalia made him infamous.