Giving a liberal elite idiot a jolly good hiding

In Australia it looks like Jess Elgood, Fairfax’s polling boss, has managed to unite the polling industry against her.

The sledging is legendary.

LEADING pollsters have lined up to condemn the overreach of Fairfax?s new polling boss, Jess Elgood, when analysing Ipsos?s poll results in Monday?s Fairfax newspapers.

Ms Elgood was quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald saying: ?They have read the writing on the wall for Mr Abbott … It possibly ?indicates that the voters have ?already moved on from Mr ?Abbott.?

The Ipsos poll found a three-percentage-point rise in the ?Coalition?s two-party vote such that it trailed the Labor Party 49 to 51 per cent.

The results did not fit the ?narrative of commentators that the Prime Minister?s poor ?performance was damaging the government?s standing.

Galaxy Research managing ?director David Briggs disputed Ms Elgood?s argument.

?The idea that the surge in ?government support is because voters are already factoring in ?Abbott?s potential departure doesn?t make intuitive sense,? he said.

Liberal Party pollster Mark Textor evoked a Monty Python theme, describing the Ipsos boss?s analysis as ?desperately free from the ravages of quantitative ?evidence?.

Tex’s comment is pure Aussie sledging at its best.

Essential Media boss Peter Lewis agreed, saying it read ?like a pre-emptive eulogy, and I am sorry but I don?t buy it?.

?I have never seen a ?pre-emptive eulogy as a valid analysis for a poll outcome. One of the problems is that if you retrofit a margin of error movement in a poll with a political narrative you can end up tying yourself in knots,? he said.

Newspoll chief M?artin O?Shannessy said ?had the poll asked a prospective question about the Liberal Party under ?different leadership? Ms Elgood?s conclusion might have had more legitimacy.

?At the moment Abbott is their leader and you would have to associate the vote that way,? he said.

?Just as, in fairness, we have ?associated all the negative votes to him as well.?

Briggs agreed: ?The choice that respondents in the poll had is ?between a Tony Abbott-led ?Coalition and a Bill Shorten-led Labor Party. I do not see how someone voting Liberal in the poll could have interpreted ?I?ll vote Liberal on the basis that it would be led by someone other than Tony Abbott?.?

All of those contacted by The Australian agreed that the ?comments by Ms Elgood exceeded the remit of a professional pollster, moving instead into the sphere of political commentary. ?Pollsters tend to be quite noncommittal when it comes to the interpretation of poll data?, Mr Briggs said.

?And the more experienced will leave the explanation for shifts in the data to more experienced political commentators.?

One of the pollsters contacted caustically added ?from market researching frozen peas to examining polls, it never quite works?.

Fairfax recently parted ways with its long time pollsters AC Nielson, transferring its polling operations to the less well known Ipsos agency.

All of which is interesting when it comes to New Zealand.

I say this because for the last three elections I have seen people who profess to know what is happening with Labour’s internal polling say or privately tell me numbers are about 10% higher than reality is.

A pollster, in all likelihood it isn’t them, or worse a political advisor whose job it is to crunch numbers who lies by fudging the figures does their party and their leader no service whatsoever.

At the last election Labour’s apparatchiks claimed that Labour was polling internally much higher than the public polls. Rob Salmond wrote numerous posts about this which The Standard dutifully re-posted. And yet when the results came in the numbers were remarkably similar to the public polls.

The response from the left was that the pollsters were negatively influencing people…instead of looking with askance at their own pollster and number crunchers.

Nothing has changed. Labour is claiming all sorts of internal polling numbers, talking up the success of Andrew Little, but reality will bite soon enough.

Politicians by their very nature are liars but the very best thing they can do is hire honest pollsters and advisors who tell the truth.


– The Australian