Managing the protest vote

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Any Australian election campaign follows a fixed pattern. Daily photo opportunities masquerading as policy announcements are interspersed with debate stoushes and then the debates themselves. Somewhere in the final two or three weeks the campaign launch is held. And also around that time, the expectations game begins. The rules of the expectations game are simple: make the voters think the […]

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Nielsen poll – wakeup call for protest voters, not Gillard

This morning Australian voters woke to read that the tide has turned on Prime Minister Gillard, with the Herald/Nielsen poll showing the Coalition now leading on a two-party-preferred basis. The commentariat are saying that the bell is tolling for Gillard. This interpretation may sell papers, but it is wrong. We are still three whole weeks out from polling day. Previous contemporary elections have shown that around 5-10% voters do not firmly make up their minds until the last week. 2-3% do not decide until THE DAY. This percentage is still enough to decide the election. Today’s poll shows nothing more than an expression of protest by those voters not happy with this week’s ALP campaign. It costs voters nothing to shift their “vote” around during the weeks of the campaign. What they tell pollsters they will do, and how they actually DO vote are two different things. A more interesting result from the poll is that 69% expect Labor will win the election, while only 21% believe the coalition will. Another is that 21% of voters have not yet firmly made up their minds. This reflects the wormers’ views after Sunday night’s Leaders’ Debate – when asked to finally choose between Gillard and Abbott, the vast majority chose the PM. Today’s poll is nothing more than a wakeup call for protest voters. Expect Labor to press the point – do voters unhappy with Julia Gillard REALLY want Tony Abbott to […]

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