The resilience of party stereotypes

The Newspoll results reported in this morning’s Australian show the Coalition’s lead over Labor as the party which would best handle the economy has been reduced to a statistically insignificant 1%.

While the paper’s article on the poll rightly sees this as bad news for the Liberals, putting it in the context of other questions asked in the same poll it shows that there is some resilience in party stereotypes when questions are framed broadly.

When Newspoll’s respondents were asked whether the federal government was doing a good job handling the current economic crisis, 63% said yes. Even 31% of Coalition voters agreed. 57% thought that the stimulus would be good for the economy, with again 31% of Coalition voters agreeing. 48% of respondents thought they would be better off over the next 12 months due to the package. When asked whether the Coalition would do a better or worse job handling the crisis, more thought worse (39%) than better (33%). Only 28% of Newspoll’s respondents believed the Coalition would deliver a better stimulus package.

But though the Coalition is clearly well behind on the major economic issue of the day, on the more abstract question of who would better handle the economy they remain fractionally ahead, showing the reserve of credibility on this issue they have built up over many years.

(It would be interesting to know the question order in this survey; this result would be more interesting if this question was asked after rather than before the specific questions.)

2 thoughts on “The resilience of party stereotypes

  1. I blame Turnbull for that — I find him especially muddled. It doesn’t seem to matter what the issue is, but we get the “jobs jobs jobs” slogan, no matter how inappropriate. So if he’s arguing against the government stimulus package, it’s jobs jobs jobs, or if he’s arguing for his own cut-down stimulus package it jobs jobs jobs too. I’m currently waiting for jobs jobs jobs to be linked to bushfires somehow. Other culprits are probably people like Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop, who seem to have evaporated into thin air of late — I can’t remember the last time I saw Joe Hockey talking, despite it being a rather appropriate time for him (although no doubt the “deregulation” part of his title was not the best choice at present) and if Julie Bishop really knows so little about the current problems that she can’t say anything (which is what I assume), then picking her as shadow treasurer was probably a pretty silly thing to do.


  2. I agree that the argument has shifted from jobs jobs jobs to debt debt debt over the last week, which could be confusing. But looking at the whole Newspoll, this looks like a general opposition malaise rather than an issue-specific problem, with the opposition down by a few points in all issues, whether they have dominating the media (economy) or virtually non-existent in the media (eg national security).

    Hockey has been out there though; I have heard him on radio this week.


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