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ALP dips to low 45 percent poll ranking

Today's Newspoll has the ALP's two party preferred support at a low,
low 45 percent.

Until 2004, Newspoll didn't measure or estimate two party preferred
numbers outside election campaigns, and since then they've done it in
several ways.

By my 2pp estimates, Labor hasn't had a worse Newspoll since October
2001 in the aftermath of Tampa and then September 11.

As a rule it is a mistake to link individual opinion polls to specific
incidents that 'happened' in the last fortnight.

But let's make an exception in this case.

This hung parliament, with the Greens component, would make it
difficult for any prime minister, but Julia Gillard seems to have
extra trouble generating authority.

Her apparent addiction to 'values' talk doesn't help.

Last week's Whitlam Oration (it is here) covered several topics, but
the attack on the Greens received most coverage.

And, rightly, the most criticism.

Maximising the distance between the government and the minor
party—picking a stoush even—is politically smart.

It is probably overdue.

But was this sort of nasty stuff necessary?

'The Greens will never embrace Labor's delight at sharing the values
of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who
day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified
lives, driven by love of family and nation.'

Yuk.

And this: 'we respect the efforts of the brickie and look with a
jaundiced eye at the lifestyle of the socialite'.

Clunk. Who writes this garbage?

Some probably believe she was being 'clever' by annoying the 'elites'
while showing 'real' Aussies she's just like them.

But that sort of thinking comes from reading too many opinion columns.
It's not the way it works.

Gillard is supposed to be prime minister, not some fringe leader.

It is likely that her political insecurity about her own atypical
circumstances—unmarried and childless—leads her to overcompensate.

And like her former friend Mark Latham in his time, she seems to think
political success comes from embodying some caricature of 'middle
Australia' attitudes.

But voters don't care much about that stuff.

They mainly want to feel safe and secure that the job is being done right.

Gillard is no political strategist. She has no feel for the ebbs and
causes of popular opinion.

And she can't help but keep returning to the self-defeating 'values' stuff.

Another thing

It would be interesting to know the NSW component of this Newspoll.
Shall attempt to find it out.

www.theaustralian.com.au