Why is this man so unpopular?
It’s a somewhat over-worn cliche that in politics disunity is death. Malcolm Turnbull may have emerged from yesterday’s party room with a result, but there’s no denying at the moment the Federal Coalition is far from unified, and voters have started wondering if indeed it might be fatal for the political career of the Opposition Leader.
Two weeks ago The Punch set out to explain exactly why Kevin Rudd was so wildly popular according opinion polls. This weekend we wanted to find out what it was that has driven the Opposition Leader’s polling figures into the mud.
And we found Mr Turnbull’s biggest problem is the perception he’s lost authority over his troops.
On October 11 Newspoll had the Coalition at 42 per cent on the two party preferred vote, to Labor’s 58 per cent.
When asked to pick between Mr Turnbull and his treasury spokesman Joe Hockey as the better leader of the Coalition Mr Turnbull got 39 per cent, Mr Hockey 31 per cent and a huge 30 per cent were non-committed.
Over at Nielsen the news for Mr Turnbull was worse, with 33 per cent supporting Mr Hockey and just 31 per cent backing the leader.
In Newspoll on October 6th, when asked who would make a better PM, 67 per cent said Kevin Rudd and 18 per cent Mr Turnbull.
Throughout the whole of October a team of Liberals have lined up to publicly kick their leader over the Government’s proposed Emissions Trading Scheme.
War horses such as Wilson Tuckey had have more air time than Mr Turnbull on the matter, and have quite openly undermined his position.
No wonder on October 6 the Member for Wentworth was a little touchy on the 7.30 Report.
All of this has compounded the view Mr Turnbull is not so much a leader, as someone desperately trying to paper over the cracks, and it’s not filling voters with confidence.
The Punch asked 80 people a series of questions about the Opposition Leader to put some meat onto the bones of the polling figures.
Asking what he was doing well elicited a mostly negative response from those people who cold think of an answer other than “nothing.”
Ellen, 45, from Springwood did say: “He is a pleasant man when I met him once.” And Rita, 26 from Castle Hill thought he deserved credit “Surviving while everyone wants to pull him down.”
But many people commented on the uphill battled Mr Turnbull was facing in his own party.
Kate, 26, from Artarmon: “You hear bad things about him in the media.”
David, 36, Kirribilli: “He’s having a tough time.”
Paul, 39, Manly: “He has been trying to talk about debt but no one listens.”
Asked if Mr Turnbull had done anything people were not happy with and the disunity line became even clearer.
Andrew, 40, Epping: “He is not strong enough - he is trying but the party is not behind him.“Liberals are a rabble
Frankie, 40, Eastwood: “Liberals since John Howard too weak - Malcolm can’t fix the party.”
Abbey, 42, Pymble: “Liberals are a rabble.”
Rickey, 54, Pennant Hills: “Idiots keep undermining him.”
Margaret, Hornsby: “His party doesn’t seem to like him.”
Unfortunately for Mr Turnbull the disunity is death truism is a self fulfilling prophecy. The more dis unified the party, the worse the poll results, the more dis unified the party.
Some key findings of our survey, which was conducted on Thursday and Friday last week in Sydney by The Punch team:
What has Malcolm Turnbull been doing well?
29% positive or luke warm
71% negative of couldn’t think of anything good.
What has he done you’re unhappy with?
21% specifically mentioned Liberal MPs undermining him
12% specifically mentioned UteGate
Can you think of three words to describe Malcolm Turnbull?
25% per cent of people used the word “arrogant”.
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