Next …

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Budget boosts ALP.

After the most disastrous fortnight in all recorded human history for any Australian opposition party, according to the mainsteam media, the ALP still leads by around 60/40 in Newspoll. Kevin Rudd’s personal satisfaction is back to the record high of 68 per cent and the gap has grown between him and Howard as preferred prime minister. If only Labor would save AWAs! Heh. If I read one more friggin’ journalist declaring “the end of the honeymoon” I’ll spew.

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16 Responses to Next …

  1. swio says:

    With the failure of so many attacks on Labor, and the governments largest set piece event before the election seeming to send it slightly backwards if anything I am beginning to wonder if Labor might start increasing its lead. Rudd’s personal numbers compared to the prime minister are still improving. The government’s thrown the kitchen sink at him and its done nothing. You would expect a period coming up where Rudd, having weathered the storm, will be able to start going on the offensive himself. I don’t know if he will be effective in that offensive, but if he has any success at all we’ll be talking about Labor in the low 60’s on the 2pp. After the government’s full bore assault and Rudd’s (by the media’s judgement) relatively poor week or two, does anyone think there is no room for Labor to head up, at least a little bit?

  2. Robert says:

    There are just so many variables yet to come. And not as an endorsement of Kevin Rudd, just wondering…

    … if the public are feeling John Howard’s heart isn’t in it for them.

    An osmosis thing, felt rather than intellectualised. Perhaps observed. Sensed.

    If in a few months’ time there’s a change of government, we’ll certainly have known the signs were there long before. If so, climate change represents the seminal point on which Howard’s fortunes have swung – as this alters the public perspective, from out of the here-and-now (backpocket) and towards their (children’s) future. That perspective is automatically going to lose John Howard.

    Along with that change of perspective comes new information obtained from observing – a change of perspective is a change of observation. Howard is seen in a clearer light for who and what he is, by a public who once took him on face value.

    Along with that comes awareness of the disparity between what he says (‘for all australians’, mateship, fair go, fuck me there’s a lot of this) and what he does (Hicks, IR, asylum seekers, ministerial ethics, lot of this, too).

    I don’t think the public consider Howard heartless, nor that a part of him does care for the average Australian, but it could be that now at the end of the public’s electoral day, he’s about words, not actions, and considerably not in heart. And if Howard’s lost the public heart in return, he’s lost their ears as well.

    .. maybe.. so Australians have come to realise John Howard’s heart is not really in it for them.

  3. observa says:

    It would need some political miracle for the govt now to alter those figures and they’d know it. It’s almost certainly going to be wall to wall Labor after Nov. Of course Rudd has made Labor very close to the Govt to achieve that, with some important differences. Namely Iraq (but not Afghanistan), Kyoto and 60% pledges and back to old type, centralised IR. Labor will have noone to buckpass to for any policy failures, both State and Federally after Nov and that may not be as pleasant as anticipated, particularly for State Premiers. Kyoto with teeth, would have some serious ramifications for power hungry industries and jobs, particularly for the Premiers. Any long overdue economic downturn would severely test a return to old type IR and we can probably guess how Afghanistan will be impacted by a UK/US withdrawal from Iraq. The first test for Rudd Labor may well be the new wave of boat arrivals to check their warm fuzzy credentials. It’s these sorts of challenges and responses that may quickly disenchant the party faithful. The hard yards of incumbency where unpleasant policy is self evident, despite the rhetoric of Opposition.

    Funnily enough, there was an article recently in the Adel Advertiser, about how a Lib loss Federally would no doubt supply some long overdue talent for the State Libs as Federal MPs filter back to take up positions at State level. The reverse may well occur for the State Labor parties with talent being siphoned off Federally. It does appear, the two majors have trouble filling both levels of govt with reasonable talent nowadays.

  4. derrida derider says:

    The last fortnight has shown us the ease with which the Canberra press gallery can be manipulated. It comes from their insularity; the wonderful term for the way US intelligence agencies deluded themselves about Iraq – “incestuous amplification” – comes to mind. The poll shows that this manipulation does very little to change the world outside their bubble; people have not forgiven Howard for Workchoices.

    Mind you, the received truth in the bubble is just as likely any time to veer to the other extreme – Rudd and Gillard will become strategic geniuses.

  5. Fred Argy says:

    I am still nervous – partly because I distrust polls at thie early stage of the cycle, partly because I expect a delayed response to the budget and partly because of Howard’s somersault on IR. But most of all I worry about Murdoch. I have never seen before such a deliberate and brutal beat up and distortion of news that is damaging to Labor as in The Australian in the last two weeks (stories which are quickly picked up by the rest of the Canberra Gallery, Fran Kelly and the ABC online). I don’t believe editorials matter a crumpet but the way news is presented in papers like the Australian, the Daily Telegraph and the rest of the Murdoch stable can have a slow burner effect on Labor.

  6. Gianna says:

    And there was Dennis Shanahan on Saturday insisting,

    “Of course, Rudd has told millions of Australians anything less [than a Labor plunge in the polls] will be a condemnation of the budget and a vindication of Labor’s industrial relations policy”.

    Well, clearly the millions were listening, and happily delivered that condemnation of the budget and vindication of Labor’s IR policy. Right Dennis? What? Now “of course” it’s Labor’s deadcat bounce? Riiiight.
    By the way, I don’t see the big policies as converging, as some seem to be arguing (eg observa). To me it’s quite distinct, eg on education. Howard’s economically-radical government is pushing for extremely market-driven commercialised unis, but have also niftily hatched themselves a plan whereby the Federal Government gains enormous new controls over universities, both funding and content. Teachers don’t get a choice about where they want to obtain professional development; they have to go to the Government’s Summer Schools, run by Government picked tertiary educators (Kevin Donnelly, anyone?). They get to pick the candidates who attend. They get to pick which unis get access to the dividends of the invested $5B capital, and they choose which research projects have “merit”. It’s vague and scary. Labor very clearly opposes this extreme commodification of learning and this concentration of power. ((Oh, I could go on…but there’s a post of my own in it, and it’s getting late..)

  7. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    I am always amused when people forget history.
    How many times has wee Johnnee had a bad time and the polls shown little change.

    It seems that people are no longer listening to him or the others and are allowing the Ruddmeister a lot of slack.

    I do note a great divide between what the commentators are saying over IR and what people believe.

  8. Bobbicee says:

    I’m please with the results, showing the public hasn’t yet been manipulated by
    the budget bribes, but I still don’t have much faith in the the public as
    the past 9 years shows just how gullible the public is to the Coalition’s
    codswallop. Like Fred, I’m concerned about the Murdock press, which didn’t
    give the latest poll results but did offer several articles critical of Labor.
    One can only hope that enough of the public has finally awakened to the lies and spin offered by the Coalition and are sick of being manipulated and conned.

  9. Robert says:

    I’m with others here about the Murdoch press – it’s intriguingly blatant. However, as Chris has said elsewhere and intimates above, where a direct referral from that comment can go to Hartcher who has more than once continued the line about Rudd and honeymoons. Grattan has had a fair swipe at Rudd and Labor as well.

    Some thoughts would include the Murdoch press highly unlikely to ditch the Libs at this point, and possibly under serious pressure for the increased support. There’s also the Latham factor, which would have not one commentator from any stripe backing Rudd at this stage for fear of another post-election round of professional repudiation.

    That could be very helpful in fact, and if the polls remain as they are as we get closer, one commentator will break, call it for Rudd, and the game changes very much again. By keeping in line now with the Howard buy-vote factor still to come, the negative ad campaign yet to hit Rudd, they keep their options open as to how they are perceived. On balance they’re now calling Howard by this deferment, which if the public are solid in choice as in the polls, would put the commentators out of step.

    No one is obviously game to call a Rudd win yet, he’s still untested, and Howard is the opposite. Combine that and you have some serious chook feeding, all in their own heads and amongst themselves. Very little of what the commentators say is actually definitive cut-through insight: nothing much to change minds at this stage as they slurry up the developments and raise the sensational level to get some readership bite. It might be entertaining in punterville, but at a guess I’d say people are not buying the beat ups.

    What is also not being addressed in mainstream media is the question first raised long ago, and now really getting cemented home – “has Howard gone too far?” The public may be reading into Howard’s efforts in quite a few areas now that he has, and this would account also for the poll vs commentary discrepancy.

    Perhaps the public just don’t want Howard continually in their faces with the changes he is pushing.

    While on the one hand Howard has backflipped and manouvred to gain public support, he and his cohorts then go out hard with more very intrusional changes. It seems strange, but he would obviously be playing to his target demographic and bugger the rest – time will tell if he read that correctly.

    It’s hard to find the bedrock in it all.

    Certainly Howard is not being persuasive, and certainly he’s long ago lost the media initiative and momentum. That’s telling in its own right, and might be definitive. I can’t recall if Howard has ever been so ineffective in his efforts, and so un-listened to, when previous comparisons of him being behind pre-election are made. At a guess he’s way behind his previous media game.

    And a point on Rudd being new – for all the ins and outs of it (notwithstanding the effects of tv ads to come) the public mightn’t care that much about such dissection and put him in the “he’s a politician” basket, which may be enough for them, and this may be showing in the polls as well.

    There is bedrock in it all somewhere – but it’s such a volatile thing to call as yet. Is it new political territory and commentators don’t trust it yet, or is it old, known, territory and commentators prefer to trust that?

  10. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    seems to me people have missed that Howard has completely misunderstood the greatest lesson of the Keating years.
    you can only lie so often and then people just do not listen to you even on the best arguments you put up

  11. cs says:

    Like most folks, I’m very wary about calling the election. In my view, however, the most likely explanation for these historically unprecedented opinion polls is that Howard has lost his “battlers” over WorkChoices. The big shift may well have occurred. The battlers may have already voted. If so, end of story; end of Howard.

    But, we’ll see …

  12. observa says:

    Actually I do think the Workchoices thing is a lot of hooey with the party hacks rabbiting on about ‘draconian’ IR laws. It’s really preaching to the faithful. Here’s the real picture
    http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,21730999-5003680,00.html
    and most people would know it by now. (I think there’s a poll about that shows around 2/3 of people agree with more flexible IR anyway) No, it’s just the overall ‘Its Time’ for a change thing that’s coming through. The polls are showing it loud and clear. I don’t even think a major terrorist attack on Oz soil would change that now. The only fly in the ointment, might be WA stubbornly refusing to back Rudd, but that might be for others to judge. Scrapping mining AWAs and the Burke factor might play a part there.

    Speaking of Burke, I still can’t get over how Ian Campbell resigned so readily over his pretty innocuous meeting with Burke, whilst Rudd looked like a rabbit frozen in the spotlight when that same accusation was made. Are the Libs saving up something very damning here, for the exactly the right moment? Latham shot his bolt on pollies super far too early and ditto the Heffernan thingy recently. Is there an ambush on by the Libs? That’s one to watch IMO.

  13. Geoff Honnor says:

    It’s highly unlikely that the current poll gap will remain – Australian elections are hardly ever massive landslides – but it’s also increasingly difficult to see how the government is going to overtake Labor’s remarkable lead. The conventional wisdom is that the economy going gangbusters equates to an immutably fixed incumbent government but it’s been a long eleven years and the positioning of Rudd increasingly offers the possibility of timely rejuvenation without major disruption.

    I’m not convinced that Work Choices is the clincher though some movement from Rudd and Gillard on AWA transition – and a subsequent poll boost for them – might show that the electorate will hand the laurels to he who judges the all important tipping point correctly.

  14. observa says:

    Here’s a further snapshot of the frightened, cowering battlers supposedly being driven by Howard’s ‘draconian’ Workchoices into the warm comforting bosom of Labor and the unions
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21733545-2,00.html
    What a load of baloney! These ‘battlers’ are twice as likely (30% of the population) to own shares than be a member of a union. The rest probably prefer negatively geared RE, but no doubt appreciate what share returns mean for their super. As for PM Rudd abolishing AWAs for these new battlers of his, get real. He won’t be able to call them AWAs of course, but how do you think Fair Work Agreements or Worker Initiated Agreements sound?

  15. observa says:

    Silly me. Of course Kevin would leave the bleeding obvious to Julia and the woman’s touch.
    http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,23636,21742733-31037,00.html

  16. Philly says:

    What is bleeding obvious, Observa, is the re-enactment of the ages-old spectacle of an obeisant (not untypically for good materialist reasons) female courtier sycophantically deferring to a mechanistic male regime and its ephemeral figurehead.

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