Flat White

Liberal support is disintegrating – but barely going to Hanson, Palmer or the LDP

25 November 2021

4:04 PM

25 November 2021

4:04 PM

If you follow The Guardian Australia’s overexcited live politics blog and dip in and out of Twitter, this week’s parliamentary sitting have been for the Morrison government what the storming of the Winter Palace was to the Romanovs.

True, things have looked ragged with members of the right rump — and today a grandstander from the left — crossing the floor and abstaining from voting, not to mention Pauline Hanson’s bastardry in letting the motion for a Senate inquiry into the ABC get voted down by Labor and the Greens, but the government isn’t about to fall on the floor of the House.

No, voters are going to deliver its defeat — or so the polls tell us.

And one largely overlooked poll in the News Corp state-based titles suggests that the electorate will not bring down the Morrison government by moving to the populist parties of the right, but by swinging to the ALP.

One reason the poll has been overlooked is that it’s a first-time outing for a Sydney group called Ergo Strategy, which described itself as “a boutique consumer insights consultancy”.

So boutique is it that none of the poll wonk community have ever heard of them, but this doesn’t mean we should dismiss their findings.

Reliability and credibility is vital to both pollsters and the media outlets that pay for their research.

Good polling doesn’t come cheaply. A company the size of News Corp doesn’t want to invest in dud work. Being associated with a “name” poll is good advertising for any market research business. They don’t want to stuff up because if it all ends in tears, it ends very badly indeed.

The story of how Kerry Packer personally rang Gary Morgan to tell him he was sacked — and to give him a good bollocking — after the final Morgan poll in The Bulletin ahead of the 2001 election gave it to Labor is legendary in political circles.

But back to the poll itself. It’s pretty clear. Close to a fifth of voters who supported the Coalition at the last election now intend to vote for another party. Another seven per cent don’t know.

Ergo Strategy/News Corp Australia

But as the graphic shows, an overwhelming number of those people planning to switch are moving to the ALP, not One Nation or the UAP. The Liberal Democrats don’t even rate a mention. And we don’t know what sort of independents that two per cent are going to. They could well be the “Voices Of” types funded by green rich listers.

It’s one poll, of course, so all the usual qualifiers apply. And there are two matters that also need pointing out.

First, the polling was carried out between September 10 and 23. Since then, of course, we’ve seen the anti-vaccine mandate movement grow. That might — might — have changed more votes.

Secondly, the polling overall shows one in three voters say they are planning to switch parties at the next election.

That indicates we’re in for a hotly contested and unpredictable time indeed.

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