The Liberal and National parties have been pushed out of the two-party-preferred vote in Newspoll for the first time in the pollster’s history, replaced by a resurgent One Nation.
In the eagerly awaited #Newspoll to be published in the nation’s finest broadsheet, The Australian, tomorrow, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation now trails Labor by only two points – 51% to 49% on two-party preferred terms.
That’s within the margin of error and suggests the fiery red-headed Queenslander could be our next prime minister if PHON can somehow cobble together candidates across all 93 federal electorates for the federal poll expected on May 11 or 18.
The result, three weeks on from the last Newspoll, dramatically proves the adage that a week is a long time in politics and has shocked the country’s leading political writers and columnists. The nation’s leading psephologists are also shaking their heads as one over the result. “No-one with any interest in the Australian political process saw this coming,” one told The Bug.
None of the experts predicted any surge in support for the right-wing party in the wake of supposedly damaging disclosures in two ABC TV episodes of an Al Jazeera expose of attempts by senior One Nation officials to solicit financial support from the National Rifle Association, all aimed at watering down Australia’s gun laws.
It is now abundantly clear that the electorate believes Ms Hanson’s claims, made in a tour-de-force media interview as Newspoll began its field work, that she had been criminally entrapped by a foreign Islamist news group not only meddling in Australian affairs but who had cut and pasted her comments to make her look even more stupid than she is. Ms Hanson has lodged an official complain with ALDI.
Ms Hanson used that interview to claim she was the only politician left in Australia who spoke for average Australians. She cleverly used her quavering voice and hesitant “I’m not really a politician” style, mixed syntax and constantly misspoken words and phrases to paint herself as an innocent victim being constantly pilloried by most media, all the while enraging her support base and clearly, as Newspoll has shown, bringing new voters to her cause.
Although One Nation trailed both the LNP and Labor in primary votes in this week’s #Newspoll, PHON moved ahead of the government once preferences were distributed from minor right-wing fringe groups.
Newspoll’s primary figures show PHON atttracted 25%, with 27% going to the LNP and 41% to Labor. While the Greens with 6% kept Labor well in the race for two-party-preferred consideration, it’s been minor right-wing party preferences that have pushed One Nation ahead of the LNP on a 2PP basis.
These included strong preference flows from the Moon Landings were Clearly Faked In A Warehouse in West Virginia Party, the Port Arthur Massacre Conspiracy Party, the Harold Holt is Still Alive and Living in Comfortable Retirement in Bejing Party and the Elvis Presley Is Alive and Working Part-time in a Kebab Shop in Tempe, Sydney, Party.
Tomorrow’s The Australian has an upbeat response to the poll’s shock findings, with an early mock-up of its front-page splash (above) leaked to The Bug hours before the poll’s usual release around 9.41pm showing that Prime Minister Scott Morrison remains unfazed by the shock results and has vowed: “I’m up for the fight”.
The PM also pointed once again to his ascendancy over Mr Shorten as preferred PM. Ms Hanson could not take part in that part of the survey as the only two options provided to the 1627 people polled from last Wednesday to Saturday were Mr Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, with one voter calling Mr Shorten shifty.
In his four-page commentary piece in tomorrow’s edition, Australia’s doyen of political commentators Paul Kelly opines that the shock two-party-preferred vote “was the perfect opportunity for much-loved PM Morrison and very close friend of Jacinda Ardern to showcase his marketing skills and get back into the race”.
“And all this will be done on the back of a brilliant Budget on Tuesday night that will show once again that only the LNP can manage economies well.
“This surely must be the beginning of the end of a dream five-and-a-half-year run for Mr Shorten,” Kelly writes, “and I’m reliably told Anthony Albanese and his numbers men and women are working the phones right now to axe Shorten before the PM makes his way to Yarralumla next Sunday.
“Let’s all hope for this nation’s sake that that comes to pass.”
STOP PRESS: The Bug has just learnt that Ms Hanson is now eyeing a lower-house seat in her bid to become PM in mid-May. Her target is expected to be Herbert, where Clive Palmer is spending millions of dollars to get about 1% of the vote come polling day.
A One Nation source told The Bug late this afternoon: “All Pauline has ever wanted is to bring good, strong stable government to the whole of Australia, that’s for sure, that’s the way. Good strong stable and the rest.”