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Rotten politicians: funny thing about statistics

Rotten politicians: funny thing about statistics

Coffee was never so bitter at the Lodge this morning.

The Faifax headline shouted, The three Australian PMs who were even more unpopular than Donald Trump. The popularity and unpopularity of US and Australian politicians is compared after one year in office. It will no doubt nettle reader Don to learn that his man Turnbull is more unpopular than Trump by one point.  At least US leaders usually enjoy a honeymoon period before hate sets in. In Australia, however, that stretch of bliss can be short indeed, like not long after the polls close.

It’s the record Donald Trump could do without: the lowest approval rating of any US president during their first year in office.
Mr Trump’s historic unpopularity has stayed with him during 12 months of consistent controversy over Russian interference in the 2016 election, his administration’s contentious policies and the former reality TV star’s unorthodox leadership style.

Source: Fairfax

The three Australian PMs who were even more unpopular than Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump again attacked a new book suggesting he lacks the fitness and stability for office, declaring, “Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I.”
The President’s net approval rating – the percentage of people saying they have a favourable view of him minus those who have an unfavourable view – sits at -17, according to a RealClearPolitics polling average. This compares to +5 for Barack Obama, +70 for George Bush and +20 for Bill Clinton at the same point in their first terms.
But popularity ratings registered by three Australian prime ministers during their first 12 months in office have at various points been even lower than Mr Trump’s, a Fairfax Media comparison of opinion polling shows.

According to Newspoll data, Julia Gillard plunged to -34 at the end of her first year as PM, while Tony Abbott reached -31 nine months into the top job. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull just pipped Mr Trump 12 months in, reaching -18.
A comparison of Mr Turnbull’s and Mr Trump’s approval ratings over 2017 shows the Australian Prime Minister was consistently more unpopular than his US counterpart, sometimes considerably so. At his lowest point last year, Mr Trump dipped to -18.4. At around the same time, Mr Turnbull languished at -29.

The Prime Minister has fallen from dizzying heights. After being deposed as Liberal leader in 2009, Turnbull built up strong public popularity as he waited in the wings ahead of the September 2015 leadership challenge. But the complexities of the top job quickly took their toll, eroding a +38 approval rating reached shortly after coming to power. He now sits at -25.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten sits on a similarly poor -24.

Simon Jackman, a political scientist and chief executive of the United States Studies Centre, said the recent spate of low prime ministerial approval ratings flowed from the Westminster system, hostile leadership challenges, and general political dissatisfaction taking hold across Western democracies.
“Part of the explanation with Gillard and Turnbull stems from the circumstances under which they became prime minister. It can’t help but set the context and they’ve both fought considerable unhappiness in their own parties,” Professor Jackman said.
He cautioned that the institutional differences between the Australian and American political systems – particularly the contrasting duties of the president and prime minister – must be taken into account when comparing approval ratings.
“The president – at least historically – rises above politics, acts as a uniter not a divider,” Professor Jackman said.
“In a Westminster system like Australia, being prime minister is much more adversarial. You’ve got question time, the bear pit of the politics. It’s a very different set of circumstances.”
Americans vote directly for their preferred presidential candidate, who only emerges victorious if he or she gets majority support in enough states. Votes are also cast for representatives in Congress, a separate arm of government. In Australia, voters elect local members and the party commanding a majority in Parliament forms government. The parliamentary leader of that party becomes prime minister.

However, the personal popularity of party leaders has become increasingly important in Australian politics. Kevin Rudd’s presidential-style “Kevin07” strategy helped propel Labor to victory over John Howard’s Coalition.
“If you look at the two-party-preferred numbers, what moves them the most are leadership changes,” Professor Jackman said.
When he made his pitch to take the leadership from Mr Abbott, Mr Turnbull noted the Coalition government had lost 30 Newspolls in a row.
As his own government approaches that milestone, the Prime Minister late last year conceded he regretted the comment.
“Only because it allowed people to focus on that rather than the substantive reasons,” he said recently, pointing to the need for economic leadership and governance.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Graham Richards 13/01/2018, 8:40 am

    Canberra is fast approaching the new description for dysfunction. Shithole!!

  • Lorraine 13/01/2018, 8:43 am

    Its like comparing apples with oranges, , no competition the media in America is so left they report only lies on Trump. 1 year and they are still harping on Russia with no proof, none at all. The polls are rigged and only the left has a say.
    Turnbull has media on his side , even more so for a Liberal than he deserves, if you remove that bias ,he has sunk to a very low ebb. We as Australians are a more tolerant people’s but we do not like backstabbers or bullies. Turnbull and Shorten are both

    • Don 13/01/2018, 1:09 pm

      Mr Ed gave me a special mention, so have to comment. No need, Lorraine is on exactly the same page as me – not good for Lorraine – the spear throwers are out there.

    • Neville 14/01/2018, 5:57 pm

      Very true, Lorraine, well said. Both of the lousy buggers are backstabbing bastards.

  • Botswana O'Hooligan 13/01/2018, 10:09 am

    Turnbull has been a disaster all his life, a lay down misere disaster, but forget that for a minute and think about the old saying of –we get the politicians we deserve– for we elect them to represent us. They are mostly mean, and are bludgers, thieves, liars, cheats, lurk merchants, and will pad their expense and travel accounts whenever they can. So is the general public, dole bludgers, 4% of the population are on the NDIS, public servants on stress leave, retirement leave, bloody leave leave, and it goes on and one and on so the politicians really do represent us, especially those on the left or green. I had thought the Australia I knew was long dead so it is refreshing to know sites like this one exist.

  • Biking Voter 13/01/2018, 10:56 am

    In the US a president can only serve two four year terms, whereas here we just keep recycling the same old dross, hence the reason for the shorter honeymoon period.

    We all already know that the turkey this time round isn’t going to be any better than last time, so why afford a new honeymoon period

  • Muphin 13/01/2018, 11:00 am

    “for we elect them to represent us”.

    I, like many, EX Liberals did NOT elect Turnbull, he usurped the position, I elected Tony Abbott.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan 13/01/2018, 11:23 am

      We liberal and national voters didn’t elect TA as PM, the back stabbing bastards in the party room did and then they helped turnbull stab TA so people like us will not vote liberal or national again until they get rid of turnbull and clean up their act. I think the liberal party is doomed myself but I am just an average punter and no expert.

  • Albert 13/01/2018, 11:29 am

    I have had a deep seated distrust of polls for most of my adult life. That distrust was cemented into place when about twelve months ago I answered the phone to be greeted by foreign voice announcing that he was taking a poll. He went on to ask me if I was over 35 of age. When I answered in the affirmative he promptly told me that he would not be taking comments/opinions from anyone over 35 years of age.

    • Bushkid 13/01/2018, 12:11 pm

      Same here Albert, polls are always targeted to produce the desired result, no matter what the result.

      First there is the targeted demographic, then there are the questions or propositions put, then there is the tallying of course.

      If you want a “progressive” result you target the under 35’s and Uni students of the more activist kind, or you only target certain suburbs or regions.
      If you want a particular outcome, you construct the questions or propositions in such a way that the majority of answers have to support the desired outcome.
      If you really want to guarantee the result, of course you do your own counting and/or interpretation of the answers.

      The only almost-accurate polls are the elections – provided, of course, only live and honestly enrolled people get to vote, and only once each; and you can rely on the AEC to not lose any boxes of ballots from particular booths, and to count correctly.

  • Clarion Call 13/01/2018, 12:12 pm

    In the good old USA today, the vicious left-wing (communist-serving) mass media is so fixated on removing Donald Trump from office, anything that will help convince voters to reject the media-hating president is promoted with malicious intent. ‘Popular’ polling is as corrupt as it gets with over sampling respondents the key to its nefarious objectives. Meanwhile, the silent majority simply watch on with bemusement. Nothing rivals America for political bastardry at the highest level.

  • nev 13/01/2018, 1:01 pm

    For all his shortcomings Abbott won his election with a convincing undeniable land slide. Left wing Australian media and its public following of green socialists, Big Business and the union trash decided they would simply not accept the convincing outcome and battled and battered him on every front while at the same time boosting Turnbull in every way possible until they got the result they wanted and we got the Australia we see today.
    In the US, Trump did exactly the same with precisely the same outcome and an identical refusal to accept the outcome by the rabid left including the moral cesspit called Hollywood.

    In Trumps case He
    (1) Sidelined the media by using Twitter
    (2) Went immediately on the attack and got the clean-out started at every level from within and out. He has the ball and is kicking goals, Clinton and Co is closer to where they belong……Behind bars.
    (3) Has had some masterful wins on the world stage. Starting to tighten the net and the UN, EU, don’t like it one bit but a lot of Americans do!
    (4) Is putting America back to work, Companies are returning along with employment and wages. The cogs of industry have been lubricated and Oil is an export commodity.
    (5) Obama and Clinton are history, there’s much to do but the US is on the front foot.

    Meanwhile in Australia.
    (1) The left and the bed wetters gave us Turnbull. An unelected back stabber, hated by the Liberal voter, financial contributors and volunteers.
    (2) With the aid of his beloved media he squandered a massive lead to crawl over the line at his first federal election on the strength of one vote gifted by the Nationals.
    (3) And in contrast to Trump who takes Americans in the direction they voted for Turnbull strives to drag our nation as far left as possible and enjoins the UN to destroy what’s left of Industry by backing the One World Government aspirations of the elitist crazy’s.
    (4) So here in Ozz we’ve rolled over to the socialist left. Like it or not we have our Melvin Trumble and now must pay the price and probably a labor/union dictatorship.

    • Tom 13/01/2018, 5:31 pm

      Do you honesty believe Killary (sic) and will ever do the perp walk? I’d love to see it, almost as much as I’d like to see Julia Gillard do one, but I think the rot has been set in place so long that the System – in both countries – will never allow it to happen, if only because they fear the precedent it would set.

      • nev 13/01/2018, 6:29 pm

        I agree with you on Gillard Tom, but there seems a wide line between convicting an ex prime minister or president, there is no will and so many hurdles, but Clinton could be a different story, she’s been given enough rope and with Comey already out of the way FBI might get to do its job, we can live in hope.

  • Graham 13/01/2018, 1:16 pm

    I know we get the politicians we deserve but the pool of talent to pick from is very small. Candidates put up by the party hacks or Unions and then have to toe the line.

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