Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Labor (voters) highly confident


Monday's poll results are literally incredible.

The ANU's Andrew Leigh calculates they imply that Labor's chance of winning is higher than 999,999 in 1,000,000.

In The Age Tim Colebatch calculates that
THE new opposition would be left with barely enough MPs to field a footy team if the ACNielsen/Age poll figures were repeated on election day.

Of 87 seats now held by the Coalition parties, 68 would switch to Labor, assuming a uniform swing in all seats. The Liberals would lose every seat in Melbourne, with Treasurer Peter Costello among the casualties.

In NSW, the Coalition would be left with six seats, with Prime Minister John Howard, Deputy Mark Vaile, Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Health Minister Tony Abbott among those dumped.

Labor would have 128 of the 150 seats, the Liberals 16, and the Nationals and independents three each
.

In today's Canberra Times I write about strange evidence from the same weekend that the poll was taken that seems to indicate that something real is happening.

Read on...

Consumer confidence has surged in the last month, but only among Labor voters.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey of sentiment conducted on the weekend shows that consumer confidence climbed 9 per cent among Labor voters but remained broadly unchanged among Coalition supporters.

The survey was conducted in the same weekend as the Herald AC Nielsen poll that showed Labor would easily win an election conducted on that weekend.

Consumer confidence has surged in the last month, but only among Labor voters.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey of sentiment conducted on the weekend shows that consumer confidence climbed 9 per cent among Labor voters but remained broadly unchanged among Coalition supporters.

The survey was conducted in the same weekend as the Herald AC Nielsen poll that showed Labor would easily win an election conducted on that weekend.

Confidence among Labor-voters is now higher than for any year since before the Coalition was elected in 1996.

But with confidence at 111.5 index points, Labor voters remain less financially confident than Coalition voters at 128.8. Labor voters have not been more confident than Coalition voters than since before the Howard government came to power.

Westpac’s chief economist Bill Evans yesterday described the surge in confidence among Labor voters as “unusual”, all the more so because it preceded Monday’s publication of the AC Nielsen poll that showed Labor clearly ahead. But he said earlier polls appear to have encouraged Labor voters to believe that there was a real chance of a change in government.

The proportion of Australians expecting good economic times in the five years ahead jumped by 8 per cent in the month of March. The proportion believing that now was a good time to buy a major household item jumped by 5 per cent.

Mr Evans described the overall level of consumer confidence as “heady”. He said the economy was likely to pick up further throughout the year.

“The evidence on housing is definitely turning, consumer sentiment will go with the housing numbers, there is no doubt we will start to see the benefits from strong investment coming through on the export front, at this stage it is without any threatening inflation numbers, and all our lead indicators are pointing to a very tight labour market so the employment story will hang on in there and it will really only be the supply of workers that will contain things,” Mr Evans said.

Australia’s unemployment rate is currently 4.5 per cent, the lowest for three decades. Economists expect that rate to remain little changed when the labor force figures for February are released this morning.

The ANZ’s measure of nationwide job advertisements jumped 3.4 per cent in February. The number of new jobs advertised each week now exceeds 216,000.

More than 800 new jobs are now advertised weekly in the ACT, up 11 per cent in the past year - the biggest increase of any state or territory other than Western Australia.

The recruitment agency Manpower reported on Tuesday that 31 per cent of bosses say they want to hire more staff, compared with 20 per cent a year ago.

The Bureau of Statistics yesterday reported a jump in both personal and business borrowing. Personal loans increased by a seasonally-adjusted 7 per cent in the month of January and business loans by 12 per cent.

2 comments:

Andrew Leigh said...

Peter, how can we distinguish what you describe from an alternative explanation? Perhaps with Labor's more optimistic message, Kevin Rudd appeals to people who are confident about the state of the economy.

Peter said...

Dear Andrew,

I think there is something in what you say, but here's how it would work:

Ever since March 1996 Coalition voters have been way more confident about the economy than Labor voters.

If enough of them switched to supporting Labor, but remained as confident as they had grown used to being, that would push up the measured confidence of "Labor voters".

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