Wednesday, 21 May 2014

How does Prime Minister Abbott compare with Gillard, Howard and Keating immediately after their first budgets?

In an effort to minimise the Australian Coalition Government's post-budget polling disaster there appear to have been efforts to insert a little spin into how the media reported the facts.

This was Prime Minister Tony Abbott in The Sydney Morning Herald on 19 May 2014:

"I think the last government which brought down a very tough budget – the Howard government in 1996 - took a big hit in the polls too.”

This was Channel 9 News on 20 May 2014:

Tony Abbott may not be Australia's most popular prime minister following the release of the Federal Budget but he's still less despised than Paul Keating and Julia Gillard

But are these statements true when comparing like periods in office?

Using one opinion poll in order for maximum similarity in survey methodology, below are the satisfaction results for Keating, Howard, Gillard and Abbott from the first Newspoll after they became prime minister to the Newspoll immediately after they delivered their first budgets.

It is obvious that after his first budget was delivered on 18 August 1992 Newspoll respondents were only 7 percentage points more dissatisfied with Keating’s performance as prime minister than they were with Abbott’s performance five days after his 13 May 2014 first budget.

Howard after his first budget of 20 August 1996 was streets ahead of Abbott - with those satisfied with his performance coming in at 51% compared with Abbott’s 30% and, those dissatisfied being 34% compared with Abbott’s 60%.

After her first budget on 10 May 2011, Gillard outperformed Abbott with regard to the number of respondents satisfied with her as prime minister (34%) and the lower number dissatisfied with her performance (51%).





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