For the first time pretty much since the previous election a poll has come out that suggests Labor might win the next one. Today Newspoll has clocked enormous swing to the government on pretty much every front, it is easily the biggest positive swing under the Gillard leadership. Already on the twittersphere some people are attributing it to David Marr’s quarterly essay. I think they’re crazy. For me there is a very obvious why pollees might have been swayed to support Julia Gillard this week and punish Tony Abbott’s high handed negativity, her father died.
In moments of emotional charge it behooves us to examine the world through a different prism. When the planes struck the twin towers, John Howard’s nationalist rhetoric suddenly ceased to be mean spirited and nasty but spectacularly humane, he had fought tirelessly to stop such tragedies happening and then it happened and accordingly his critics felt a little shy. In Australia for months enormous fractions of the public have been vitriolic in their campaigns against Gillard. Even many people who have been ticking Labor as their preferred party over the coalition have been scathing about her and now in the place where they had directed all their vitriol they see a sad woman whose father has just died. The extra electricity bills or the boats or whatever it is that drove their disdain all seems a bit petty now. And it might for a few weeks, even a month. But as the passing of Gillard’s father fades from the public consciousness we will see a restoration of this ugly political war against her the polls will return to the 46-54ish nexus. Despite today’s shift, Julia Gillard still has next to no chance of winning the next election.
Edit: Nielsen has now clocked very slender gains to the government witha 53-47 the coalitions way. If it had been something similar to Newspoll I would have reiterated my views but this indicates maybe something of a small shift towards Labor. Newspoll’s enormous swing to Labor came from a poll which I think probably over stated Coalitions support, I’d say it was probably inaccurate by one or two points. This most recent one is another extreme, “maverick” poll which I suspect overstates Labor’s support. If both of these assumptions are true then there is probably a smaller, but real shift towards Labor of one or two points. Which is good news for pretty much everyone except Kevin.