If A Federal Election Was Held Today…

As you know I’ve argued previously that the Liberal Party has a problem with its messaging. As more and more polls come out, I’m starting to worry that more and more about the possible consequences if we continue to ignore this. To move forward, the Liberal Party must reflect on exactly why we’re not cutting through.

Some people, unfortunately, remain in denial. They claim this is just a cyclical thing and we shouldn’t concern ourselves too much. Part of this is obviously true – politics does work in cycles. However, to deny that any of this is caused by a failure of messaging on my part is willful blindness to the point of gross negligence. We must recognise the fact that, if nothing changes, we are staring at near electoral oblivion.

If we not only lose the next election, but our our vote drops significantly,  there will be three immediate effects:  it will hurt our policies (because people will wrongly blame policies not messaging), it will significantly diminish our resources for the next election, and it will make the chances of winning in 2012/3 virtually impossible.

I don’t think people realise however just how bad this could be if we look at the polls.

Allow me to illustrate my point. Currently, using the weighted pollytrack average as provided by Possum, the Two Party Preferred vote is  59.2%-40.8% in favour of the ALP. So, what would this mean if an election was held today? Assuming a uniform swing, we can look at the Makkerras Pendulum and see what seats would be lost.

As such, if an election was held today, the following Coalition MP’s would lose their seats:

Fran Bailey
Andrew Laming
Steve Irons
Peter Dutton
Peter Lindsay
Jason Wood
Patrick Farmer
Christopher Pyne
Luke Hartsuyker
Michael Keenan
Bob Baldwin
Paul Neville
Luke Simpkins
Danna Vale
Barry Haase
Andrew Southcott
Alex Somlyay
Jamie Briggs
Peter Slipper
Michael Johnson
Malcolm Turnbull
Bruce Billson
Joanna Gash
Alby Schultz
Rowan Ramsey
Louise Markus
Russell Broadbent
Chris Pearce
Joe Hockey
Don Randall
Nola Marino
Tony Smith
Kevin Andrews
Andrew Robb

ALL of these MP’s received a 2PP vote at the last election under what the current polling is showing.

In fact, the only Coalition members remaining would be:

Scott Morrison
Peter Costello
David Hawker
Ian Macfarlane
Greg Hunt
Warren Truss
Dennis Jensen
Margaret May
Philip Ruddock
Judith Moylan
Mal Washer
Sophie Mirabella
Patrick Secker
Tony Abbott
Petro Georgiou
Stuart Robert
Sussan Ley
Alex Hawke
Darren Chester
John Cobb
Bronwyn Bishop
Mark Coulton
Brendan Nelson
Julie Bishop
Steve Ciobo
Bruce Scott
Kay Hull
Wilson Tuckey
Sharman Stone
John Forrest

Thus out of 150 seats in the House of Representatives, the Coalition would have 30 . I repeat – 30. Out of 150. Twenty percent. Not exactly a particularly high number.

Obviously polls tighten during an election campaign, and the Makkerras pendulum  has significant flaws as a measure of forecasting. As such, I do not mean to suggest that we are in any way on track to such a drubbing. I do think however this should cause us some pause for reflection. Because if, after the fiscal vandalism that KRudd and Swan are inflicting on the Australian economy, we’re doing this badly, something is very very wrong. The problem is not in our beliefs or policies, rather it is in our message – we’re just not cutting through.

Now more than ever the generation of new ideas and engagement with our supporters – as I’m trying to do with RebuildTheLibs – is critical to moving forward. I hope you all join with me in this task.

Update: My initial calculations were slightly out. Rather than winning 12% of the house, the Coalition would have 20%. Post has been updated to reflect this. Thanks to Ben Raue for pointing this out.

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5 Responses to “If A Federal Election Was Held Today…”

  1. RobC Says:

    Tim, I’m sorry. This is not a crisis borne out of the mere inadequacy of our messaging. Of course that is part of the problem, but the fact remains that we currently have no policies worth mentioning. About the only strategy has been endless opposition and when journalists ask us what our alternative would be, the shadow ministers are seldom able to articulate anything.

  2. JaketheMuss Says:

    1, Your essential message is accurate.
    2, Your specific conclusions are innacurate as polls always tighten in a campaign.
    3, I concur with RobC. What policies?

  3. anonski Says:

    The reason the messaging is inadaquate is one simple point. Leadership.

    If we had a strong Right wing leader who didn’t need to pander to the right of the party to win support and articulate clear alternative policy this situation wouldnt be a problem because we’d win easily. But we don’t.

  4. VladTheImpaler Says:

    I’ve read your interesting article and I have followed up with the links. It’s nice to have a slogan – rebuild the libs – but into what? Where I live the libs internal fighting is legendary, the ones in ‘control’ are so far to the right it frightens everyone – they still talk about bringing back workchoices as soon as they get back into government! Did they not check the election results?. I consider myself a small l liberal and, can I vote for a centre-right Labor if I have to? Yes Do I want to? No. I would rather vote for a centre-right Liberal party.

    However, with the Liberal Party – and particularly the Young Libs – riddled with Right Wing Libertarians, there is no place in the party for me and until the likes of Kevin Andrews, Tony Abbott, Bronwyn Bishop, Sophie Mirabella, Philip Ruddock, Wilson Tuckey and that tool Bill Heffernan have gone it’s hard to see the party moving forward. They are sooo past their prime – yes even Sophie. She may be the youngest but she has the most narrow of views.

  5. david Says:

    Its great isnt it. Labor’s worst fear is that moderates like Turnbull and Pyne prevail. Labor knows that the WorkChoices crowd are in control and still think the electorate got it wrong. lol. Labor is very pleased about this and plans another Hawke/Keating term in office. That was a couple more years than Howard was there for you young Libertarians.

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