A Numbers Game

Guessing At Numbers

This election had me thinking about the respective numbers of the Coalition and the ALP-Green semi-non-durable-polyadhesive-attachment arrangement and I pegged the support of the ALP to be at about 54%.

The numbers I guessed at went like this:

  • The Coalition traditionally has about 30% support from its unflinching core plus about 10% of the crazy right including Hillsong/Family First, One Nation, and other assorted God-botherers, Xenophobes and nut-bars.
  • The ALP has about the same number in any other normal circumstance but you have to dock about 5% who have drifted off as a result of the Rudd Removal. That leaves them at about 35%.
  • The Greens are allegedly at about 13% of the vote and they haven’t done anything to diminish their prospects. They’ve absorbed some of the drifted 5% from the ALP but not all.

That leaves about 12% as the remaining swinging vote. Of the 12%, roughly half will be women, so that 6% will vote for Julia Gillard – whatever their stated rationale might be – and that places both sides at Coalition 46%, ALP at 54%.

So it gives me great pleasure to find Julia Gillard came out of her debate with Tony Abbott with 53%.

For the first time, viewers were able to see what men and women thought, with separate graphs judging reaction from both sexes.

A white line reflected the average.

Ms Gillard clearly performed better among women, while Opposition Leader Tony Abbott performed better among men.

When either leader was critical of their opponent, the polliegraph responded negatively.

Ms Gillard sent the men’s graph tumbling when she turned negative, while Mr Abbott appeared to offend women during his sledging of the government’s policies.

If the Nine Network’s debate worms were any guide to his election chances, Mr Abbott better get a wriggle on, especially with women.

But Ms Gillard has work to do on climate change and her move against former Labor leader Kevin Rudd.

Nine’s worms put Ms Gillard well ahead of Mr Abbott in the final analysis of Sunday night’s leaders’ debate, with 63 per cent to 37.

I’m now trying to get my head around the 63% derived from Channel Nine’s worm.

Nine’s twin worms – a pink one for women and blue for men in Nine’s 150-person test audience – showed women favoured Ms Gillard over Mr Abbott for almost all of the debate.

Mr Abbott scored negatively, particularly with women, each time he criticised Ms Gillard personally.

But he was strongest when he discussed his support for paid parental leave and his plans to introduce a wider paid parental leave system in government.

His claim that a return of Labor would lead to more waste such as that seen with the schools building and home insulation programs also resonated strongly with the sample audience.

Ms Gillard scored most highly with both men and women, but especially with women, when she discussed the My School website and plans to further improve school and trades education.

The so-called East Timor solution for a regional processing centre was a low-point for Ms Gillard, and changes to tax rebates and the pension to improve the living standards of families and older people.

Talk of Ms Gillard’s leadership on climate change was a high point for Mr Abbott.

Men and women enthusiastically supported his assertion that her community forum on climate change was really no policy at all.

Now that’s encouraging to see. For once the electorate is ahead of the policy game and the politicians who try to frame the rules. The numbers tell me Julia Gillard is going to win but not without losing some seats. It’s going to be after the election that the real number crunchers are going to understand truly great swings like the ones generated in 2007 by the Kevin07 campaign, don’t happen very often.

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