I think Mumble at the Australian is right when he says that Gillard has been unlucky. http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/mumble/index.php/theaustralian/comments/cant_take_a_trick/
His general theme is that the last Newspoll was a bit more favourable to Gillard, and this one less favourable. That’s natural variation, and as I said yesterday perhaps a bit of returning from holiday blues. His point is that every so often Newspoll also ask how the government and opposition are performing on the issues, and it’s bad luck for Gillard that this happened on a poll that was a bit down for her.
Having said that, I suspect it does reflect most Australian’s views. Look at some of the issues:
- Health (40/36 to Labor): right when Labor have pulled some funding out from under the states. They wouldn’t have done this other than for a political decision to try to protect the surplus – a surplus they weren’t going to get anyway
- Economy (28/50 to Coalition): the surplus and the general perception of waste. Despite some vigorous fiddling of the books such as pulling expenditure forward into last year (making last year’s deficit bigger), pushing spending out to next year, announcing policies like NDIS with no funding, they couldn’t balance the books. Even with a new mining tax, which it appears has raised no money at all after all the political pain.
- National security (24/47 to Coalition): Defence being treated as an arm of industrial policy – trying to build things in Australia rather than buying what we need from our allies. And Defence spending at the lowest percent of GDP since WWII.
- Unemployment (37/41): Interesting, I presume this reflects views on growth, and perhaps the industrial relations policies that make it harder to employ workers
- Asylum seekers (20/47): The government’s policies have failed
- Climate change (30/28): Only 35% of people rating this as important. It’s not going to be an election issue this time around, Tony Abbott would be better to stay away from it, outside where he links it to the Economy, which people do care about.
I think it’ll be a tough few months for the government