The latest Newspoll that was due to appear in today’s edition of The Australian was axed moments before the presses were due to roll last night in Sydney.
And the “stop the presses” edict came from none other than a clearly irate Rupert Murdoch in an obscenity-laden telephone call from New York.
“It’s clearly a rogue poll,” Murdoch allegedly shouted. “Get rid of the fucker!”
The Australian has historically run a Newspoll just before the federal Budget each May and one shortly after to gauge any bounce from the document, dead cat or otherwise. Now they will have to reply on the one taken on Anzac Day back on April 25.
Murdoch’s early-evening intervention to the paper’s senior editors in Holt Street, Sydney, will only embolden critics who claim Newspoll is nothing more than a political tool designed solely to manipulate public opinion and keep right-wing governments in power.
The Bug understands that Murdoch was furious that the latest results did not reflect growing support for Scott Morrison and his government, especially for the Prime Minister’s strong stand on biosecurity issues and national sovereignty.
Newspoll was out in the field while Mr Morrison was firmly declaring: “I will decide which Australians can return to their country and the manner in which they will be fined or jailed if they try to come home” and the nation’s newspapers were awash with bold 200-point splashes championing that stand.
What particularly irked Murdoch was the inclusion of a new section of Newspoll looking at who was Better Opposition Leader (results above).
“I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of the bloke who thought that one up,” a NewsCorpAustralia insider told The Bug.
“I guess you can see their logic. Better PM is such a stupid, meaningless statistic seeing only one person is actually doing the job so this poor sod thought Anthony Albanese would romp it in, getting voters used to the idea that Opposition Leader is what Albanese is best at and that’s where he should stay.”
Editor’s note: The Bug has been unable to obtain all the findings of the axed Newspoll but will bring them to you as soon as we make them up.