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  • John McDonnell

Media lashing of Scomo leaves voters unmoved

For months the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has been subjected to a tirade of criticism by the media on issues such as the vaccination roll-out, women’s issues, and climate change. Now, two polls – Newspoll and the Resolve Poll for Nine media – have demonstrated that voters are entirely unmoved by the media onslaught as Morrison’s popularity has surged.

On Monday, Adrian Beaumont reported on ‘The Conversation’ that:

“This week’s Newspoll, conducted April 21-24 from a sample of 1,510, gave Labor a 51-49 lead, a one-point gain for the Coalition since the previous Newspoll, four weeks ago. Primary votes were 41% Coalition (up one), 38% Labor (steady), 10% Greens (down one) and 3% One Nation (up one). Figures are from ‘The Poll Bludger’.
“59% (up four) were satisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance, and 37% (down three) were dissatisfied, for a net approval of +22, up seven points.
"Anthony Albanese’s net approval fell five points to -3. Morrison led as better PM by 56-30 (52-32 four weeks ago).”

The Resolve poll is a new poll commissioned by Nine media. It will be conducted monthly. No two-party vote is given, but primary votes in the first Resolve poll, with fieldwork up to April 16, were 38% Coalition, 33% Labor, 12% Greens and 6% One Nation.

The Resolve poll had the Coalition and Morrison ahead of Labor and Albanese by over 20 points on both the economy and COVID.

In March, the unemployment rate was 5.6%, well down from the peak of 7.5% last July. It is apparent that the economy and the pandemic dominate the voters’ thinking at the moment. Issues such as gender equality and climate change are treated as second-order issues and are having very little impact on voters’ intentions. At the moment they seem happy with the way the government is handling the pandemic. As long as the rate of community transmission remains low, the public seems happy to put up with the slow vaccination rate.

In the event that the economy continues its strong recovery then it seems likely the government will dominate Labor in the polls, notwithstanding the media’s promotion of special issues.

The idea that women’s issues would dominate the next election was always delusional. Women will be grateful for any hand-outs that they receive from the budget, but it is unlikely that they will change their votes because of allegations that the government has a “women problem”.

Despite campaigning from former prime ministers, Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd, climate change will not be an issue of difference for the major parties at the next election. Labor has endorsed the mining of fossil fuels and coal in particular. The Coalition will probably adopt the zero-emissions by 2050 target by the time of the climate conference in November, although they will probably stick with their 2030 target. This appears to nullify climate change as an electoral issue.

Where does this leave the media? It shows that they can politicise issues but that the impact on these issues on the public is negligible.

What the polls show more than anything, is that the media is out of touch.


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