February 28, 2005 | Graham

A perfect score

World, when are you going to start paying attention to the On Line Opinion election coverage? Name me one commentator(s) who’s correctly called the general result of all elections they’ve covered since 2001? Can’t? Well look no further than the team at www.ozelections.com.
Forgive my angst and allow me to be self-satisfied for just a minute, but why is it that newspapers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Alan Ramseys and Michelle Grattans of this world when most elections they wouldn’t have a clue what is going on? Why, when by using just a few simple tools and the skills of people who have shown some ability in political campaigning, they could not only have a handle on what is really happening, but leads on stories that would actually interest their readers?
(Readers being, by definition, the people making the voting decision, who must wake every morning, pick the paper up from their front lawn – the small minority who still get it home delivered that is – and wonder why the newspapers aren’t interested in the same things they are).
I wonder how long it took before Gallop’s new-fangled opinion poll took off?
Anyway, be that as it may, despite being one continent and a couple of time zones away, we predicted, on the basis of our qualitative polling that Geoff Gallop would be returned with the same, or possibly a larger, majority. Gallop deserves to be congratulated – polls in January showed that he would be a loser. While I don’t think that was ever really likely, Colin Barnett and the Liberals did give him a big hand by ignoring the issues that counted with voters.
Maybe they spent their time reading the West Australian?

Posted by Graham at 10:18 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Interesting that Premier Gallop nominated education as one of the key agenda items for the new government.
    Was education an issue during the campaign and, if so, what were the concerns?
    If not, why not?

    Comment by Kevin Donnelly — February 28, 2005 @ 12:29 pm

  2. Kevin,
    I can’t speak for what the politicians were talking about, but from the point of view of voters, I think not. When asked what reason they thought the state was/wasn’t heading in the right direction, only three used the word “education”, and here are the quotes:
    “Employment is up, individual contracts are gone, environmental protection has improved out of sight, ambulance and emergency services – particularly the GP clinics at emergency – are better, spending on state education is improved.”
    “Problems in Health, Education and Justice. Lack of leadership and responsibility in society.”
    “Strong economy, education, rising living standards, goo lifestyle”
    Should not that two out of three of these responses appear to approve of the current state of the education system.
    When we asked them what issues were important it was only mentioned once:
    “Responsibility in financial planning. Education. Transport”
    I’m reading this from my normalised sample which consisted of 59 respondents, so three responses represents 5%.
    In the larger dataset it occurred 5 times in the first instant and 5 in the second out of a total of 136 responses. The larger dataset over-represents Labor and Green (particularly the latter) hence I tend to rely on the normalised one as it gives a more accurate impression of general community concern.
    Asking respondents to rate a list of issues including education would no doubt elicit a higher response, but be less likely to give a true impression of what was really concerning voters.

    Comment by Graham Young — February 28, 2005 @ 1:18 pm

  3. Congratulations Graham, http://www.mumble.com.au also do pretty well. He picked the west australian result at a time when most other people were tipping barnett. He also picked the feds result last year.
    I agree that many of the paid, high profile columnists aren’t all that hot. Although I do love the sound of Michelle Grattan saying “That’s right” every weekday morning at about 7.30am.

    Comment by Benno Spearritt — March 1, 2005 @ 2:59 pm

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