Scott Morrison’s growing stature amongst the conservative press and even some contributors to this blog belies his accomplishments.
Denis Shanahan at The Australian seems so hell bent on restoring Newspoll credibility he has decided to invest in ScoMo “miracles”.
Truth is, this is nothing more than plausible deniability as to why Newspoll so comprehensively failed to call the election result.
Thus, according to Shanahan a Newspoll result showing more or less the same primary vote as election night is heralded as a triumph.
“There is one stand-out conclusion from the latest Newspoll survey showing the Coalition’s primary vote support at 42 per cent: there is no sign of buyers’ remorse from voters in the five months since the election.”
Better still he says:
“Scott Morrison has proved to be the best prime minister at retaining winning election levels of primary support five months out from polling day since Kevin Rudd’s popular sweeping victory in 2007.
From this he deduces that the Coalition is on a footing for sustained success finishing the year by “entrenching the “miracle” gains of election night”.
This analysis is so bad and thde conclusion so poor it is hard to know where to start.
Hence, in no order I make the following remarks:
1. A primary vote of just 42% is election losing territory, hence why they won with a wafer thin majority of just two seats.
2. Thus, holding a historically losing primary vote of 42% is not a “miracle gain” or a position of strength.
3. Improving off a such a low base would be expected, as Howard in 1998 shows, except Howard rose by 7.5% and Morrison in 2019 by just 0.6%.
4. Howard in 1998 restored the Coalition primary vote after 5 months to 47% which is landslide territory.
5. The corollary is going backwards off a high primary vote. Abbott won with a primary vote of 45.6%. He is marked down for falling to Morrison levels.
5. Morrison at 42% is in losing territory as the Rudd election shows. This is what they got in 2007 and Rudd had an 18 seat majority.
6. Rudd demonstrates that a historic high primary vote 5 months after an election is meaningless, hence the minority Gillard Government of 2010.
7. Even Turnbull outperformed Morrison on primary vote, albeit his victory was one seat slimmer. Again this is meaningless.
My conclusion is totally opposite to that of Shanahan. In deriving my conclusion I factor in the following:
1. Labor lost the last election more than Morrison won it.
2. Off such a low election primary vote one would have expected a bounce in the polls as per Howard in 1998.
3. The absence of a bounce (i.e. honeymoon period) means voters are open to Labor getting their act together.
4. The absence of a bounce despite Labor leadership machinations and post-election mea culpa reviews is a worrying sign.
5. The absence of a bounce despite NSW Labor corruption (Chinese money laundering) scandals is a cause for concern.
6. The absence of a bounce despite the gift that is Jackie Trad is concerning (albeit they can only go backwards in QLD).
7. The economy is faltering and the Coalition do not have any answers, the surplus is unlikely to survive and debt will continue to grow.
8. The Coalition’s “economic management” credentials (as badly defined as they are) are unlikely to survive economic reality (i.e. Treasury forecasts).
9. A change in government in QLD in late 2020 would severely damage the Morrison Governments re-election prospects.
My conclusion (at this point in time) is that the Coalition is unlikely to win the next election. What Newspoll really shows, in contrast to the opinion of its conflicted writers, is that they are not resonating with the electorate despite a period of comparative strength over the ALP.
Hence, any improvement by Albanese (off a low base) over the next two years will likely deliver him government.
The Coalition need to build support if they are to win in 2021, but at present they do not have a policy program to do it.
Morrison virtue signals conservative “Menzies” style government, but his policy decisions, or more apt, inactions, say otherwise. The “quiet Australians” are not easily fooled.
The Morrison Government is a continuation of the Turnbull Government with slightly different spin. In substance terms it is equally hollow.