June 30th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments
Climate scientist Will Steffen has found a solution to opinion polls that don’t go his way, I write in The Australian this morning.
Canberrans are going off the idea of building an $800 tram to nowhere; support for the project has fallen from 55 per cent to 39 per cent in less than a year. Steffen and Babara Norman smelled a rat.
How could anyone fail to see the benefit of investing the best part of a billion bucks in a 12km light rail line from Civic to Gungahlin, wherever Gungahlin might be?
Why would Canberrans not wave their hats at the prospect of travelling down Northbourne Avenue at a thrilling 30km an hour, a speed only marginally slower than George Stephenson’s Rocket?
Steffen and co-author Barbara Norman spotted the outlier.
“Only 15.8 per cent of intending Liberal voters support light rail,” Steffen and Norman wrote in The Canberra Times last Thursday, “while for all other groups (Labor, Greens, Others and Undecided) support for light rail varied between 42 per cent and 63.5 per cent.
“That anomalously low level of support among Liberal voters immediately caught our attention and prompted us to reanalyse the poll results.”
The “strong skew” of Liberal-leaning respondents, claimed Steffen, “can easily generate a misleading impression of what the poll numbers are actually showing”. Steffen and Norman’s solution was to remove 446 Liberal voters from the result.
The result of this “reanalysis”, claim the authors, is that 51.9 per cent support light rail, 3.2 per cent oppose and 14.9 per cent are undecided.
There is no explanation of what became of the other 30 per cent but clearly they don’t count.
Write Steffen and Norman: “For the more than two-thirds of Canberrans who are not intending to vote for the Liberals, there is very strong support for light rail, a nearly 20 per cent lead over those who oppose it.”
So that’s settled, then. Everyone agrees a tram to nowhere underwritten by the taxpayers in the most car-friendly capital in the country is a wonderful idea. Everyone, that is, except those dolts who vote Liberal who don’t really count.