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FPI index shows Greens slow decline hurting Labor

By Graham Young - posted Tuesday, 11 June 2013


I've just calculated the First Preference Index for our April/May poll which shows that the Libs have risen again, Labor is static, and the Greens are in decline.

I have been running this index since the last election, and now after three years I think we can safely say it is just as accurate as the telephone polling conducted by the other pollsters. The hills and valleys in this graph certainly mirror what they are showing.

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The most noticeable feature of it is how the blocs rearranged themselves just after the September election and have kept at least that distance apart ever since.

Labor has had some improvement in its first preference vote lately, but this is negated by the plunge in the Greens vote to a position lower than their last election.

It looks like Bob Brown's timing in leaving the party and the leadership was impeccable. Despite all of the talk of them being a new major party, this shows that they are more the bilby that roared than anything else. Like the Democrats before them they have soared on a protest vote, only to see it leech away as soon as they have a balance of power position and are forced to participate in some of the decisions of government.

While the Liberal Party is concerned about the potential for a swing back, the historical data are fairly clear that a party with this sort of lead 3 months out is not going to lose the election.

And Labor is doing nothing to harvest the sympathy vote. Or rather, some elements are, but other elements are running interference, whether intentionally or not, I'm not sure.

For example, head office has to be implicated in leaking polling showing that Labor will lose every seat in Queensland bar Griffith. This is meant to focus electors' minds on the likely fact of an Abbott government and persuade some of them to step back from the brink.

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But this workmanlike approach was immediately undermined by Joel Fitzgibbon, who made fun of the "talking points for the day" on the polling result, even though these sorts of talking points are indispensable to both sides.

And it has been completely demolished by serial pest Kevin Rudd who is out urging Labor candidates to focus on winning.

What I'm saying very loud and clear to all those folks is this is not the time to start constructing alibis for defeat, this is the time to implement a strategy for victory.

Inasmuch as he has any credibility left, this is completely the wrong message to send. Although it is unlikely that voters are actually listening to what he is saying. They're more likely to see him on TV and be reminded of how divided and disfunctional they think Labor is.

Will the lines close during the election? They tend to, but in the last Queensland and New South Wales state elections they didn't. Which means that even if voters are concerned about what a new government might do, they have been even more worried about the consequences of even a chance that Labor might be re-elected.

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This article was first published on What the people want. If you are interested in participating in our online polling panel, please click here.



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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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