Voters more satisfied with Rudd

05 Jul, 2010 04:56 AM
Kevin Rudd.
Kevin Rudd.

IT WILL provide cold comfort for Kevin Rudd, but Australians felt they were well governed during his prime ministership - much better so than for most of the Howard era.

The finding will be published next month by the Australian Centre on Quality of Life at Deakin University as part of its well-being project.

Since September 2001, it has been asking Australians to rate on a scale of one to 10 how satisfied they felt with government in Australia.

The September 2001 result was an index number of 59 meaning that, on average, Australians gave the government close to 6 points out of 10.

But it turned out to be the Howard government's highest score ever, pushed up by the September 11 bombing in the US days before. ''It was a rally-round-the-flag effect,'' said Deakin Professor Bob Cummins. ''When things look threatening, people look to their leaders and tend to find they like what they have.''

After that the Howard government's rating rarely went above 55 despite blips during the Bali bombing and the toppling of Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

By contrast the Rudd era began with the best numbers on record.

Satisfaction with government soared to 62 points on Rudd's election and remained well above the Howard government's average until an April survey.

''Even in April this year, people were more satisfied with government under Rudd than they had been under Howard when they re-elected him,'' said Professor Cummins.

''I think the plotters who deposed the prime minister may have misread the feeling of the electorate by focusing on the change in its feeling rather than its absolute level.

''It's the sensation you get when you take your hand out of water of one temperature and plunge it into … another. It isn't a reliable guide. People got so used to high satisfaction with government, they panicked when they saw it change.'' Satisfaction with government soared to a record high under Mr Rudd during the 2008 world sharemarket crash. But Professor Cummins doesn't think that was a result of voters ''rallying round the flag''.

''We rally round the flag when things are bad somewhere else, such as Bali or New York,'' he said. ''We feel protected and secure because it is happening to someone else.

''The global financial crisis was different. I think we felt satisfied with government not because of the crisis but because of its response to it …

''Until very recently we believed we were exceptionally well governed under Rudd. In most other countries the scores are below 50 - Rudd at his worst fell to 54, Howard to 52. It might be that we are well governed compared to many other places.

''We will never know whether Mr Rudd would have been re-elected, but if people voted on the basis of how they felt about government he might well have.''

On some other dimensions we are feeling better. The survey finds our satisfaction with social conditions, personal relationships, living standards and the environment has climbed to an all-time high.

Date: Newest first | Oldest first


5/07/2010 6:34:10 AM

Who cares he gone, just nail down the lid and bury him for good!
Fair Dinkum Country Cousin
5/07/2010 11:20:23 AM

I rather liked having a thoughtful, articulate, accessible man for PM. Having said that, I prefer having a thoughtful, articulate and accessible woman as PM even more. Either is vastly preferable to Mr Abbott, who gets less coherent and less likeable every time he opens his mouth.
5/07/2010 7:13:16 PM

Fair Dinkum Country Cousin, straight from Julia Gillards office, you are a joke.
6/07/2010 5:14:02 AM

Who is paying for Prof Cummins et al? and where did Rural Press find such tripe? and why has it been published? and are we expected to accept this drivel? and am I the only Australian who has never been asked to have my say by 'Prof' Cummins and his lot?
6/07/2010 5:40:45 AM

It's easy to be popular when you behave like Father Christmas on drugs, throwing other people's money around like confetti. Rudd and his gang were, and still are, an economic disaster.
Will Cannon
6/07/2010 5:42:12 AM

Peter Martin how can you write such garbage. How & from where do these surveys get such wrong info. it certainly wasnt from the Laor HQ otherwise he still be there!!!
6/07/2010 6:17:01 AM

Why don't they find real jobs for these so called Professors (Educated Idiots) If this is the best they can come up with at Deakin Uni, Then It seems like more wasted taxpayers money ! University's seem to be a breeding ground for Labor and Union ratbags. Dangerous places !!! And a waste of money if this is the best they can come up with . Peter Martin ---There must be much more interesting and important things to write about than this sort of rubbish --Lift your game mate !
6/07/2010 6:22:07 AM

John Howard was there for 11 years ---Rudd for 2 years ----- Does that tell you someting about there stupid polls ?
6/07/2010 7:04:22 AM

They must have beeb handing out the poll survey forms at the local social security office.!
High Country Gent
6/07/2010 7:16:02 AM

Biggest load of bull I've read. I'm not satisfied with Labor in any shape or form be it Kev in drag, dressed like Julia or some of their other cronies. I absolutely detest how Labor is destroying our country.
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