February 19, 2006


Ten years up, Howard on a high (Michael Gordon, February 20, 2006, The Age)

JOHN Howard will mark his 10 years in power with historically high personal approval ratings that are overwhelmingly due to the hip-pocket nerve and his handling of the war on terrorism, a special AgePoll has found.

A survey of voter attitudes suggests people are prepared to forgive the Prime Minister all manner of perceived shortcomings, including committing troops to the invasion of Iraq, on the strength of his economic management.

As Mr Howard prepares to celebrate a decade in office on March 2 — only his political hero, Bob Menzies, served longer as prime minister — voters think they have personally done well under the Howard Government. [...]

Almost half the electorate consider themselves better off after the Howard decade. More than 80 per cent of those who rate the economy as the most important issue say Mr Howard has handled it well or very well. Nearly 20 per cent of voters say they are "much better off" than in 1996. Just 4 per cent consider themselves much worse off.

But despite the prosperity, about half the electorate consider Australia a meaner and more divided country, and 55 per cent consider Mr Howard to be a divisive prime minister. [...]

Irving Saulwick and Dennis Muller, who conducted the study for The Age, say it reveals "an exquisite paradox", with Mr Howard receiving a strong endorsement despite being marked down "on many, perhaps most, issues".

For all the angst they've summoned in their opponents and the charges that they're uniquely divisive figures, the first generation of Third Way leaders have just kept winning elections.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2006 7:37 PM

Another way of looking at the data leads to the conclusion that biased pollsters have learned how to craft their questions so as to obtain results which manufacture dissatisfication.

The "divisive" line is a familiar one to pathologists studying Bush Deragngement Syndrome.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 20, 2006 4:07 AM

Lou, is it true that the APA has added BDS to their list of approved psychoses?

Posted by: erp at February 20, 2006 10:44 AM