Fairfax brought out today a Nielsen Poll showing Labor two party preferred on 42, the Coalition 58, Abbott’s performance admired by 44 percent of the respondents, disliked by 60 percent, Gillard admired by 35 and execrated by 60, and Abbott Preferred Prime Minister by 50 to 42.
The poll was taken, however, during Wednesday and Thursday, nine-tenths of it before Abbott had completed his reply and all of it before Craig had made a fair fist, some think, of his innocence and Kroger had bagged Costello for bagging Abbott, his party leader, as ‘an economic illiterate’.
So the figures might well have been right on that particular Wednesday, but they were, in context, in the scheme of things, very, very unfair.
What has happened in the meantime is that Abbott has been ruined. He has been shown to have been in the dock for sexual assault, a crime, though unproven, worse than any of the venal sins that Slipper and Craig have been bewhispered of. And he has been shown as well to be the sort of class warrior and private school snob who says the lower orders can’t be trusted with the money we give them to look after their children with, they might go out and spend it on drink or greyhound betting.
What has happened in the meantime is a civil war in the Liberal Party’s Victorian Branch, which is one byelection away from losing power there.
The poll moreover pits only Gillard against Abbott as preferred Prime Minister (on the day before he made an innumerate klutz of himself on the floor of the parliament, and was revealed to have been accused by a famous Protestant former Treasurer of being ‘a DLP Stooge’.
It’s almost certain the numbers would be 45-45 now for preferred Prime Minister and 48 Labor to 52 Coalition two party preferred (though there are nine parties sitting in the House and five in the Senate; discuss). It’s almost certain too that Abbott cannot survive what is on page 48 of the Duffy book whenever it is brought up by Albo in Question Time, and he cannot survive the libel suit Craig will bring against him and Pyne for prejudging and smearing before a proper process of law a man innocent of most, if not all, of the charges levelled against him by his grimy union usurpers, whoever they were.
Nielsen also did not do what they had to do, a poll of Shorten versus Abbott as Preferred Prime Minister, Combet versus Abbott, Albo versus Abbott, Smith versus Abbott, Carr versus Abbott, Faulkner versus Abbott, Clare versus Abbott, Plibersek versus Abbott, Roxon versus Abbott and so on, and thus give a clear picture of how many Labor voters or Labor leaners or oncers or old timers were still in the mix if Gillard went. And how Carr Labor or Shorten Labor would go against the Abbott-Truss-Joyce Coalition.
They cheated, in short, as Murdoch always has, this once, if only this once.
And they should be ashamed. And they should not do it again.
They should do a call-back poll tomorrow night, and see how different the numbers now are.
And prove that I lie.