Does today's poll on ETS contradict yesterday's?

Well, they aren't. The first set of polls never said what they were reported as saying, and neither poll really says anything about how many seats the government might win.

Yesterday's Galaxy poll was loaded and didn't address the central question. It asked "The Federal Opposition has agreed a deal with the Rudd Government to pass the Carbon Pollution Reduction scheme. Do you approve or disapprove of the opposition doing this deal?" 56% approved.

But the central issue is not whether the coalition should have "agreed a deal" but whether passing the legislation before Copenhagen is necessary. Someone hearing that question could easily interpret it as a request to confirm that it is OK for oppositions to do deals with governments. Hearing it this way you would have to say "Yes".

It is difficult to work out what the Newspoll question was, but the assertion that 63 percent of urban Liberals accept the government's bill is at odds with previous Newspoll results from July. So I'd assume two different questions. A movement of that degree in the period is simply not credible. Which means Newspoll said something different too.

Today's Galaxy asked the right question. The Opposition's position, such as can be ascertained, is that the bill ought to be put off until after Copenhagen, and the question was "Do you think Australia should delay the introduction of an ETS until after a global arrangement is reached at the Copenhagen summit." So, not only is it on point, but it avoids the government's propaganda phrase of Carbon Pollution Reduction.

The newspaper wisely avoids speculation as to what the seat loss might be. You simply can't tell from the result on a single issue. It could be a policy area that changes few, if any, votes. Or it might be that the election is framed on entirely different grounds when it occurs. It is quite possible that it could be a referendum on the competence of the Rudd government, in which case rushing to impose a whole new layer of government taxation may well be judged on its execution rather than its intended effect, and found wanting.

Our own polling says that opinion leaders are almost equally divded on the issue of the ETS and against implementing it straight away. The polls that ask the right questions tend to confirm that.

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0 #1 CommentDavid Jackmanson 2009-11-30 10:18

But surely any poll that doesn't ask "Would you refuse to preference the Liberal Party above the Labor Party at an election if it supports the Government's position" is also meaningless in electoral terms?

If people aren't prepared to withhold a preference from the Liberals, any opinion they have on the ETS is meaningless when it comes to deciding what damage this episode will do to the Liberals.