Flat White

Newspoll, schmoozepoll

10 September 2018

12:20 PM

10 September 2018

12:20 PM

Australian voters need to ignore the mainstream media’s obsession with political polls. They’re desperate for something to write about, and create scandal and sensationalism out of froth and foam. The polls can be devastatingly wrong and are entirely unreliable. Just ask Hillary.

Labor supporters and leftist Liberals (AKA “moderates”) are today screaming with howls of indignation that the latest Newspoll is showing Scott Morrison is the preferred Prime Minister.

“Have you asked anyone outside the LNP?” one twit asked, emblematic of so many comments on Twitter’s Newspoll hashtag.

If you want to know why there’s a revolving door of Prime Ministers in Australia since Kevin 07 it’s because of personality politics steered by social media and fuelled by endless polls every 37 seconds. If you want to know how to stabilise the nation and steady the rocking government, stop listening to or responding to the poll: no, not the politicians; you, the voter.

As far as we the voters are concerned polls are just other people’s opinions and should have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on who in our electorates we will choose as the best representatives of our values. The only poll that actually matters to us in the real world is thankfully just once an election cycle (unless you’re in Griffith or Wentworth).

It’s only to be expected that the politicians care about the polls, even if they lie about not caring that much. For the players on the field the progress score can be a cause for concern or confidence. But the best players, the most experienced and professional ones, won’t constantly look at the scoreboard to see how close they are to scoring the next century. They’ll just play each ball as it comes and focus on simply being the best they can be moment by moment. The final score is the one that goes into the record books and determines the winner, not the progress score.

Governance-by-polling is to drive the nation by constantly looking in the rear-view mirror, checking to see if you’re on the right path by positioning yourself on the road as it disappears behind you. We don’t need politicians who follow from the front. We need leaders with a vision for our future and a confidence in the direction we should take. Then we can confidently know who and what we’re voting for, instead of these careerist clowns we’ve been cursed with since the end of the national stability of the Howard years.

Reading the tea leaves or planning policy by today’s horoscope is just as reckless as placing so much stake in “consecutive Newspolls”. The media obsession with the progress score is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy of the outcomes we’ve been having for over a decade. Sovereign risk is unacceptably high and harmful to business confidence and industry growth Australia-wide. It would meet the definition of insanity for each one of us to keep thinking and acting the way we’ve been trained to by this media feeding frenzy on polling performance and leadership speculation.

“Who cares?” needs to be our response, followed by an intelligent survey of only the candidates in our electorate, regardless of their party or current leader. Understand that only we control our preferences and only we get to choose who next best represents our values if our first choice fails to win, and so on.

But polling: who cares? Sure it’s mildly interesting, but the sooner we stop caring so much, the sooner the government can get back to governing with some degree of certainty.

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