Flat White

New polling: the emperor has no clothes

20 July 2021

2:37 PM

20 July 2021

2:37 PM

It’s official — or as official as it can be. The emperor — the Prime Minister, actually — has no clothes.

The fortnightly Essential Poll out today shows a pretty similar trend in voting figures to yesterday’s Newspoll, but then asks some fascinating other questions.

Essential Research

That “play politics” finding hits the PM right on his weakest spot. We don’t expect anything other than politicking from politicians, but this is something else.

“Scotty from Marketing” is not just a left-wing gibe. You only need to look at the number of articles that appear in these pages bagging the Prime Minister over his lack of principle.

Morrison appears a particularly superficial creature; almost pathetically so. Given his fondness for (puffed out) chest-beating, there was something repulsive last week when he decided he would get on the phone to the CEO of Pfizer a couple of days after Kevin Rudd’s ego-tripping.

Scott Morrison is a man who rules by press release, the modern equivalent of rule by decree. He doesn’t have anything else.

Rule by decree, however, is difficult to do in this day and age. As a result, the PM doesn’t end up looking “mean and tricky”, to quote the leaked Liberal polling from 20 years ago. There’s not enough detail for that. He just looks reactive — and a little vacuous. And helpless.

But up to the vaccine rollout, Scott Morrison largely has got away with things. Voters haven’t marked him down as, while they might be rushed or fudged, they’ve largely accepted the results of his focus group-driven muddling through. He might have been D- on policy, but a A+ on politics. That means the electorate has given him a solid C, maybe even a B-.

The problems with vaccination rollout, however, have ended this.

Morrison hasn’t helped himself with all his comments on how opening up and ending lockdowns are dependent on vaccination levels. He’s fallen short of his own standard.

If he continues, his standing will worsen. And that’s when his electability will come under question.

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