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Falling public opinion falls faster

The Cliff Of Public Opinion

Newspoll results are out in Australia tonight. Surprise. The opposition that opposes the Great Big (baseless) Tax is having its best results since it got wiped out two years ago, slashing a 26 point lead to just 4 points.

On primary vote support, the Abbott-led Coalition has secured 41 per cent support, with the Liberals securing 37 per cent and the Nationals 4 per cent, compared to Labor’s 40 per cent, with the distribution of preferences – including a significant 12 per cent Greens vote.

The result represents a significant turnaround from the high-water mark support for the Rudd government during its first year. Two years ago Newspoll recorded a 26 point lead for Labor, at 63 per cent to 37 per cent for the Coalition, in February 2008. The gap narrowed to 61 per cent for Labor and 39 per cent for the Coalition in April 2008, and again to 59 per cent and 41 per cent in October 2009.

This is being directly connected by commentators to climate policies.

Way back on November 25th, just a few days after ClimateGate broke, I predicted that the Cliff of Public Opinion would fall fast as the facade of bullying and deceit broke. Way back then (9 weeks ago), it was openly “known” that the opposition would suffer a landslide loss if a double dissolution election was called. People thought the Opposition might pass the dog-of-a-deal Emissions Trading Scheme just to avoid an election.

Now the primary vote is neck and neck, statistically flat level. The PM claims they might lose.

The ruling Labor Party declared back then that “climate change was the great moral issue of our time”, and that “sceptics play with our children’s future” (see here for my scathing rebuttal). But, now that the polls have shifted somewhat, perhaps Rudd has noticed that ClimateGate is not going away. Either that, or he is not so concerned about children now that he’s done his bit and written a cute book for them.

Kevin Don’t-Mention-the-Climate now has higher priorities than saving the planet it seems. He’s not mentioning the climate all over the place.

Though don’t assume the road-to-legislative-nightmares is over. The Greens are offering deals. Turnbull may become Turncoat (and prove that he was the best Labor leader the Liberals ever had). And tomorrow the Opposition is going to reveal its alternative policy:

“Tomorrow, Mr Abbott is promising to release his “fully costed” alternative plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without introducing an emissions trading scheme tomorrow.

“Our policy will reduce emissions, it won’t involve extra prices to consumers and it won’t involve new or increased taxes, unlike Mr Rudd’s policy,” Mr Abbott said today.

“We have a very important job as a Coalition over the next fortnight, we have to save Australia again from Mr Rudd’s great big new tax and we won’t let the Australian people down.

“Kevin Rudd has been frankly dishonest with the Australian public about the cost of his policies. He hasn’t released modelling; he hasn’t released modelling about the jobs impact of his great big new tax. We will tell the Australian people tomorrow precisely how much we think it will cost to have an effective climate change policy.”

I find it hard to imagine there is a Get-Out-Of-Climate-Jail-Free card where the Liberals can reduce carbon emissions without extra costs to consumers. Call me a purist; I don’t like any policy that aims to reduce a harmless gas.

The only policy I want on the climate is: “Let’s do some real independent research, and fully audit and investigate the claims”, followed, presumably, by the obvious corollary for an institution that takes billions of dollars and uses it to to lie, deceive, and scare: “Axe the UN”.

(And maybe that’s how they’ll fund it? Spend more cutting carbon and less on the UN?)

Meanwhile, the Monckton Tour has sold-out around the country.  Extra dates are being booked. ABC interviews are everywhere. Media coverage is mixed.

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