Humble pie anyone? Top 10 furphies of the 2010 election
Humble pie is a real food. Modern derivatives of it are mainly sweet, but the original dish was something like shepherd’s pie, only made with animal entrails rather than meat.
So that’s the recipe if you need to serve it up, and there’ll be many ruing their failed election result predictions today. Including me. Offal, yum.
But whatever about numbers of seats there were a range of predictions and arguments about the risks and opportunities in the campaign for both sides that never materialised. So here, totally subjectively, in no particular order and without pointing fingers, is a list of the top 10 campaign theories put about by smartypantses of all persuasions that turned out to be wrong. Please add your favourite wrong predictions and analyses in the comments.
1. Tony Abbott will self-destruct. Never happened apart from a little wobble on Work Choices at the start of the campaign. And it’s not as if he wasn’t given the opportunity to say something outrageous. He walked around with microphones in his face for five weeks and never even looked close to saying “shit-eating grin”. He spoke at length on abortion at the Brisbane people’s forum and managed not to repeat anything like his remark that the rate of abortions was a “national tragedy”, saying instead that he thought people should be having more babies because it was good for the country.
2. There will be a “Gillard factor” because she’s a woman. That Julia Gillard didn’t unite a woman’s vote says much about mainstream Australia’s view on gender equality. After some initial excitement about having a woman in The Lodge, any Gillard factor was supplanted by questions about policy and whether, as the Liberal campaign put it, the government should be given another go. Support for Labor got a small bump for Labor in Victoria, where the PM lives, and South Australia, where she was raised, but there was no detectable Gillard factor nationwide.
3. It’s the social media election. Aside from catching yourself up on the latest campaign developments by checking in on the Twitter #ausvotes social media was pretty much useless in this campaign. The leaders didn’t use it much - Tony Abbott (or whoever tweets for him) managed a total of two tweets the entire five weeks, both on the same night. The reason for this, I’d argue, is not because politicians are dinosaurs and “don’t get it” as the digirati like to think, but that social networks, especially Twitter, have very little reach or influence with undecided voters in marginal seats. For power hits in the best places for pollies to concentrate their energies remained radio, television, and print.
4. High poll ratings for The Greens will fail to translate to votes. It’s a convention that the Greens primary vote tends to be over-represented in the opinion polls. Some argue is because they don’t have the volunteers available to show up at polling booths and hand out how-to-vote cards; another view is that people find it easier to tell a pollster they’ll vote Green but it is a different mattter to commit to it on the ballot paper. This year, particularly in the Senate, it has been different. The polls had the Greens primary vote support at between 12 and 15 per cent, and they have secured 11.9 per cent. In the Senate they have 12 per cent or more of the vote in most states.
5. Labor will be returned for saving the economy from the GFC. No further comment required.
6. Abbott is too conservative to be considered a serious alternative PM. Abbott’s outspoken views on the monarchy, the aforementioned abortion issue and sex before marriage, are well-known in the community because he has been in active politics since the republic referendum. The fact that he came within an ace of becoming Prime Minister shows how he managed to grow into his role as opposition leader and present a credible alternative.
7. The election will be won and lost in NSW and Queensland.This one is mainly true, especially for Queensland, but in an election this close results in seats in other states including Tasmania and WA are critical too. The shock prospect of Labor losing Denison to independent Andrew Wilkie could yet prove decisive, as could the result in the Hasluck in Western Australia where the Liberals’ Ken Wyatt is ahead of Labor by a slim margin. Labor also grabbed a couple of critical seats in Victoria.
8. The NBN is a vote-winner. Broadband was the stand-out policy area where there was a chasm between the parties. It appears to have paid off for Labor in Tasmania, where the government got a hefty swing to it in Bass, but the National Broadband Network, despite featuring heavily in the Labor campaign from the start, never really captured the public imagination for very long.
9. Wyatt Roy was too young to be taken seriously. The votes aren’t all counted yet but it looks like the 20-year-old is in. On Channel Nine Laurie Oakes called Longman for Roy, saying he had won when “just about everybody thought he wouldn’t”. Good on him. Showed “just about everybody”, didn’t he?
10. It’s the economy, stupid. This is a political maxim of sorts, made famous when it was a catch-cry of Bill Clinton’s campaign advisers in his 1992 run at the US presidency. The argument is economic vision and strategy are the critical determinants in who wins an election. I’d suggest there were other factors at work in this campaign, particularly in Queensland where the Rudd factor worked heavily against the Labor party.
That’s my unscientific list. Tell me I’m wrong (again) and add yours in the comments - what other crazy theories were people shopping in the last five weeks?
For the record, I tipped the Liberals to win by 2 seats. And I don’t like offal.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…