The new Newspoll was released today. Suffice to say that it will bring no joy to John Robertson or the ALP as a whole.
First, the party numbers:
|Full table here|
|Full table here|
The problem is that a few simple sums show that, at this rate of improvement, the ALP will not win the next election. Believe it or not, we are almost half-way through the 4 year fixed term that O'Farrell won in March of 2011. Labor has made up 5% of the 14% shellacking they got almost 2 years ago.
There are good reasons why politicians who make decisions based upon polls deserve contempt. That said, when the polls are consistent over a long period of time, more concrete conclusions can be drawn about the attitude of the electorate.
That said, the numerical issue over how fast Labor catches up is the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
There should always be a rebound of sorts after a big win for a challenger in an election. Many people will often vote for the opposition because "it's time for a change" or "because we need to send a message". In and of themselves, those are pretty stupid justifications for a vote, but it is a common reason after a government has spent a long time in power.
People who naturally see themselves as supporting the incumbant will, for reasons that remain opaque to me, choose to vote for someone else. Those people should naturally flow back to the new opposition once they have been defeated.
Even more common is the disillusioned supporter - those people who voted for the challenger (perhaps against their better judgment) and then are immediately shocked/surprised/horrified by the changes introduced by the new government.
When you consider that a new government will often "get the bad stuff out of the way early" there should be a pretty large group of dissillusioned voters.
This is particularly so after a particularly heavy victory - there must be hundred of thousands (if not millions) of people who voted Liberal/National for the first time in their entire lives in 2011.
Those people must, for the most part, have been appalled by O'Farrell's actions since the election. They would have plenty company.
This makes the failure of the Labor opposotion to make inroads since the election surprising - and no doubt concerning for the Labor faithful.
Whilst O'Farrell has, for reasons I have discussed previously, an excellent chance of serving at least 8 years, Labor will not be willing to roll over and concede this. Their failure to make up significant ground renders this almost inevitable.