Julia Gillard wins debate and worm steals it

45 percent of Australia's largest focus group chose Julia Gillard as the winner of the Leaders Debate, 34 percent chose Tony Abbott and 20 percent called it a draw.

Like "the worm" the result also showed a distinct male female split with 50 percent of women scoring it a win for Gillard, and 43 percent of men. There were few differences apparent related to age with the exception of the 75+ age group which went for Abbott over Gillard.

Chief Editor of On Line Opinion Graham Young said that "Abbott may have lost the debate, but computerised semantic analysis showed that he was more central to the debate than Gillard.

"This is not necessarily favourable to Abbott, it just means that he was the more discussed of the two. "

Some of this arose from surprise that he did as well as he did. As one respondent said 'Abbott went better than I thought he would. Gillard was nervous'."

Mr Young said that respondents thought that Julia Gillard was positive, confident, and articulate. She seems to have side-stepped the ridiculing of her slogan "moving forward" as many respondents associated her with moving forward without any sense of irony.

According to a respondent 'Gillard is spectactularly composed, assured and even winsome. Her self-deprecation at the outset over her "moving forward" slogan inclined one to forgive her for it, esp as she didn't overuse the slogan in the debate.'

Tony Abbott was seen to have substance and to be answering the questions.

They say that you should never work with children or animals. It proved to be partly the case here, with the worm injecting itself into the process and inviting viewers to watch themselves watching the debate.

This is evident in this quote: 'Each one got a greater response dependent on specific areas; for example, the coalition is perceived stronger in economic policy, so it got higher ratings; and labor is perceived stronger in worker entitlements, so it got stronger ratings there. Also, women appeared more disposed to rate higher for emotional type aspects, which as a woman, annoys me'.

Mr Young said that the research also confirmed that voters tend to make up their mind on events like the debate on impressions more than policies.

The Leximancer map of responses can be accessed by clicking here.

For further information contact Graham Young on 0411 104 801 or by email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


"Tony Abbott appeared more genuine"

"Neither of them said anything or promised to do anything. They were negative and both showed a complete lack of leadership."

"Abbott answered questions, & made sense. Gillard waffled on about important things with mostly motherhood statements."

"I thought that Abbott won only in debating skills....was not convinced that he was honest in what he said but expressed conviction"

""The leaders seemed to avoid the traps and presented the case politely towards the moderator and each other. Neither leader presented any outstanding new material"


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0 #1 Quite apart from differences resulting fFelix 2010-07-26 00:50
Quite apart from differences resulting from the gender make-up of the audience, it was clear that the line that averaged the responses gave the event to Gillard. Abbott is a politician who one finds it hard to feel for. Possibly down to the body language (he looks uncomfortable in any situation, it would seem) and appearance (which is quite dreadful -- he seems to be forever bursting out of his overly tight suits); both of which distract the viewer from Abbott's message, insofar as there is one except 'Labor bad, Coalition good'. Even his language is awkward ('fair dinkum' coming from him is as objectionable as it was coming from Rudd!). Was Gillard better? Not really, which makes it even more curious that Abbott should, to me, seem to be so profoundly unelectable. And we haven't had his well-known clangers and extreme examples of 'heart on sleeve' conservatism yet ....
0 #2 The Australian public lost in this 'debaFrosty 2010-07-26 00:50
The Australian public lost in this 'debate' which was a prime example of 'two party preferred' brainwashing BS that occurs in all of our media.
Democracy was not served in this debate as Bob Brown of the Greens, the 3rd party in Australian politics, was not allowed to appear.
Leading up to the UK national elections recently, the 'debate' was opened up to 3 party leaders and the leader of the Liberal Democrats, the 3rd party in UK politics, was allowed to join in.
Funny enough, the Liberal Democrats did quite well in the UK elections and actually formed government with the Tories/Conservatives.
Not that such a power-sharing arrangement would work here mind.
Advertising and brainwashing works. Our corporate controlled media knows it, Labor knows it and the Libs know it. That's why we're hammered constantly with 'two party preferred' BS!
Remember folks, you get the government you deserve - the Australian Federal Hollowmen - until you realise that we there are other political parties to vote for.
0 #3 It says something about the standard of Queenslanders to Rule the Universe 2010-07-26 08:41
It says something about the standard of journalism in this country that our National Press Club created a backdrop announcing "Leaders Debate". There should have been an apostrophe after the 'S' in 'Leaders'
0 #4 The debate was rubbish. They should havePhilip Machanick 2010-07-26 09:34
The debate was rubbish. They should have had Bob Brown in there to challenge claims such as linking boat people to immigration, and the abject failure on both sides to show leadership in climate change. Then again we had people who were supposed to be top journalists asking the questions, and they also let them get away with it.

No wonder people who've voted for the same party for decades are switching: harryrclarke.com/.../...
0 #5 Australia lost if you ask me. We don't 4Freedom 2010-07-26 12:36
Australia lost if you ask me. We don't really have candidates that are capable of leading. They are only able to buy votes by promising more handouts which judging by past events will probably not eventuate and if they do they will be a complete botch up. Tony is falling for the same old trick of anything you can do I can do better I can do anything better than You. Yes I can . No you cant yes I can Noooooooh you can't
0 #6 The Liberals have the gall to add up deaJohn Ward 2010-07-26 12:56
The Liberals have the gall to add up deaths at sea under the ALP asylum seeker policies, while they want us to forget SIEV X4 ' a certain maritime incident' where 344 people died in one lost at sea event.
0 #7 Last night's display was not a debate. ADisappointed 2010-07-26 14:19
Last night's display was not a debate. A debate is supposed to be controlled argument, but last night was nothing more than a question/answer gab-fest. How disappointing. It also showed just how far the women of Australia haven't come when they clearly indicated a preference for the Prime Minister based on her gender rather than what she was actually saying. Maybe history got it wrong! If there is another debate, lets get somebody in the moderate who actualy knows what they are doing and get a real debate on some real issues going. Let Australia see the two leaders at their best (or worst). We know they can do better than last night afterall we've seen them in action in Parliament.
0 #8 Disappointed Yes, but whose fault is tDee 2010-07-26 20:36
Yes, but whose fault is that? As the stratagists said. Pollies are hostage to the gotcha question & media saturation at the slightest gaff. That is why we get these stupid non events.
Top that off. Why did we spend so much time on asylum seekers & immigration? Surely, they could have covered much more policy ground than the dog whistling topics.
Again. The medias fault. Also,it was to Abbott's advantage to have a calm & controlled 'debate'. He does not fair well against Gillard during heated discussion. She gets him on fact all the time.
0 #9 Julia Gillard is not feeling all that coArjay 2010-07-27 19:49
Julia Gillard is not feeling all that confident.She has fallen into the Rudd trap of posing questions and answering them in the next sentence.

I do not want to see Labour win since the carbon tax will send us into poverty.On the other hand,can we trust the Coalition,parti cularly on the censorship of the web?

Julia Gillard in my view has fallen in line with large corporate interests.It is about lowering wages,creating more debt for ordinary Australians and attacking the few freedoms we have left.

Is there a Ron Paul in Australia who can stand up for the ideals of freedom and autonomy of the individual?
0 #10 What about all those of us who thought Bpeter jones 2010-07-28 14:21
What about all those of us who thought Bob Brown won because the others were scared of him offering a real difference in what was otherwise a very boring debate ?