The ALP under Kevin Rudd’s leadership has broken more opinion polling records. The AC Nielsen poll has the ALP an unbelievable 22 points ahead on the two-party preferred vote, at 61/39. Let me say that again. The AC Nielsen poll has the ALP 22 points ahead on the two-party preferred vote! In other scores, the ALP is an incredible 15 points ahead on the primary, at 50/35. Rudd’s personal approval is 21 points in front of John Howard’s, at 67/46; and the opposition leader is 14 points ahead as the preferred prime minister, at 53/39. These scores have all broken the previous records set under Rudd’s leadership, and have broken or at least equalled all-time polling records.
I don’t believe opinion polls are a reliable guide to the forthcoming election. Yet they do distribute the day-to-day pressure in politics. These results follow extraordinary attempts by the government to shift the pressure onto Rudd over the past fortnight, with relentless personal attacks on the opposition leader’s character. The attacks failed, causing massive self-inflicted damage on the government itself, which is now under more pressure than it has ever experienced in its 11-year rule. If the government maintains its current rate of political hyperventilation, we may well see its senior ministers explode live on television this week. Of one thing we can be sure. If this government is torn down, it’s going to be a very ugly sight. Go the Ruddster!
Update: The prime minister responds: “I don’t think we should overanalyse the connection between the Burke issue and the polls”. So, which connections do you think we should “overanalyse” Mr Howard, pray tell? Meanwhile, Michelle Grattan says the “results will panic the Government about the failure of its onslaught”.
Update: (13 March) The conventional wisdom holds, despite the polls. The Herald says: “Whatever the stratospheric poll ratings of the Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, point to, it is not the result of the federal election later this year”. The Australian says: “It would be wrong to interpret the opinion polls as showing Labor can expect an easy election”. The ALP retains underdog status.
Update: “Oh, that $12,000 in shares that I owned last year in conflict with my official responsibility and the prime minister’s code of conduct”, says the minister for ageing, Santo Santoro, or words to that effect. “How can I be expected to keep track of every pesky $12,000 that I own? As everyone knows, directly contravening the pm’s long established code of ministerial conduct is not the same as retrospectively contravening the pm’s freshly confected code of conduct about meeting Brian Burke. Don’t be silly. Who do you think I am? Kevin Rudd?”
Update: John Howard has confirmed that Santo Santoro is not Kevin Rudd, and therefore his forgetting about where he put $12,000 last year in contravention of the PM’s ministerial code is piffle compared with the Ruddster being unable to recall dinner chit-chat a year before. Ominously, in the same report, Peter Beattie has raised the Santora-Printgate connection, which doubtless the PM believes should not be “overanalysed”. Also, dig this Santa twist.
Update: (15 March) Tim Dunlop has the story on Santogate. Meanwhile, the PM has been sprung dining with a porn king facing charges of torture and grievous bodily harm, and claims not to have had a clue, as always.