MacMessiah?

12. 841NEWS

• Alannah MacTiernan outside her Perth electorate office. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

PERTH Messiah or union propaganda?

The jury is out on a new poll which reveals a glowing 30 per cent net approval rating for Alannah MacTiernan.

A massive poll—commissioned by the National Tertiary Education Union and conducted by the research company UMR over June 14-29—covered 23,176 voters in 23 marginal electorates.

The survey for Perth reckons Ms MacTiernan is 14 per cent more popular than she was at the September 2013 election—the highest of the marginal electorates polled.

Chris Graham, a Walkley and human rights award-winning journalist, wrote the Abbott government should take heed.

“The sample size of Newspoll is 1159 people,” he wrote on newmatilda.com. The sample size of the NTEU poll is around 2000 per cent larger “And it’s the ‘marginal’ bit that will be spooking Liberal backbenchers this morning… and at least one frontbencher,” Graham wrote.

“Christopher Pyne—architect of the higher education cuts that will make a degree cost more like a mortgage—may be perennially unpopular as the minister for education, but it turns out he’s also unpopular as the member for Sturt.”

But perennial pollwatchers including Kevin Bonham note the poll was a robopoll and run by a company that often runs polls for the Labor party.

“The NTEU is not a slavish supporter of the ALP but it is obviously an opponent of the current government’s education proposals,” he wrote in his blog.

“The poll was conducted by UMR, which is best known as the Labor party’s standard pollster for internals, as part of a large series of national seat robopolls.

“That the poll is commissioned by a non-neutral source provides an added reason to be wary, especially given that it is a robopoll and that there is not much on the public record from which to assess the quality of UMR robopolling.”

Tasmanian Liberal MP Andrew Nikolic (the poll reckons he’s for the jump in marginal Bass) disputes the poll findings and claims they are based on misleading questions.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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