Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was understandably shocked when she read one particular news source (extract above) and The Bug has heard she immediately threw up her hands and told her closest aides: “I can’t possibly win this election in October so I may as well quit now!”
And the reason for her despair? Despite her tough stance on keeping the Queensland-NSW border closed for so long to combat COVID-19, the story suggested her support base remained in the doldrums.
The story clearly stated that her satisfaction or approval rating had admittedly gone up – but from a career-ending 16 per cent back in April to a career-ending 24 per cent in late June.
But here’s the good news. The Premier has recovered her positive mojo and is well and truly back in the race because in turns out those figures – in a story in the online news platform InQueensland on some Newspoll state results – were very misleading, all due to the absence of one crucial word – “net”.
In covering the Newspoll results, News Corp papers had used the most logical basic figures for showing the approval ratings of all of the state Premiers. For example, Palaszczuk stood at 59 per cent approval (+4 since April) with disapproval at 35 (-4).
The In Queensland yarn was an AAP piece, but Glass House asks: why would AAP use only the net approval ratings (59 minus 35 equals 24 in the Queensland Premier’s case), albeit accurately, without making that clear to avoid the sort of confusion that sent poor Annastacia into a momentarily state of apoplexy.
Apart from anything else, net satisfaction figures can be rather meaningless or easy to misconstrue and are generally only of interest if they are in serious negative territory.
The error stayed on the site long after the story lobbed in The Bug‘s in-tray just after noon on Tuesday.
Our other criticisms of the yarn centre around news sense, a sad lack of parochialism and home-state advantage.
With the Queensland state election now less than four months away, Glass House thinks that an uplift in approval for the Sunshine State’s premier is more news worthy than a dip in support for Daniel Andrews in Victoria from a previously high base.
Especially so when you consider the amount of flak Palaszczuk has been taking for her tough border stance from the state Opposition and Murdoch’s LNP-loving Brisbane rags.
The relatively new media platform is, after all, called InQueensland.
And that being the case, we also suggest readers would be entitled to believe the “Premier” in the headline referred to Palaszczuk.
While a picture of Andrews did appear under that heading, we just think it would be good practice to put the word “Victorian” in front of “Premier” for when no picture is present for clarification.
It’s not as if online headings are particularly hard to write, free as they are from troublesome line character count and silly deck limits.