Ever since the ALP lost the 2002 Cunningham by-election to the Greens with a large protest vote, they have finessed the art of expectations management through the leaking of supposed internal party polling data. The latest example came yesterday when the Sun-Herald ran a story reporting that leaked Labor polling puts the ALP on only 32% of the two-party preferred vote in Penrith in the lead up to the June 19 by-election.
This story indicates a couple of things: firstly, it indicates how desperate the ALP is. It seems very implausible that the ALP is polling so badly, but it indicates that the ALP is looking to use this story to scare Labor voters back. Secondly, it shows how eager some journalists are to be spoonfed a story by spin doctors if it creates some political drama. It sells newspapers to publish a front-page story reporting such catastrophic polling figures, while burying the key facts that such a poll has zero scientific credibility due to its source.
Considering the ALP’s actions in leaking the poll, it suggests we are heading towards a result comparable to the 2008 Ryde by-election, with Labor losing on a large swing. Which we already could have guessed.