D-day minus 35

• Galaxy has released further findings from yesterday’s poll, which can be viewed through this nifty graphic.

• Writing in The Age, Rod Cameron notes a particular concentration of the part-time working mothers targeted by the Coalition’s tax policy in the important Victorian seats of Deakin, La Trobe, Corangamite, McEwen and McMillan. Cameron also includes Solomon on his list of marginal Coalition seats which Labor can’t take for granted, which I had only previously heard suggested by Matthew Franklin and Brad Norington of The Australian.

Greg Roberts of The Australian reports that both parties’ polling has Nationals incumbent Paul Neville holding a 55-45 lead over Labor candidate Garry Parr in the Bundaberg-based seat of Hinkler. Roberts’ article paints an unflattering picture of Parr’s campaign efforts which recalls the media-shy performance of Ed Husic, Labor’s disastrously unsuccessful candidate for Greenway at the 2004 election. Anecdotal evidence is also presented of strong local feeling over the council amalgamations issue.

• Shortly after dumped Labor member Gavan O’Connor announced he would attempt to hold his seat of Corio as an independent, Labor has promised to add $45 million to its existing funding plans for the Geelong Ring Road.

Joe Hildebrand of the Daily Telegraph notes that the need to respond to the Coalition tax package caused Kevin Rudd to scrap “early rough plans” for “a sweep across the country from Brisbane to Sydney to Adelaide and Perth”. The only Liberal marginal seat he has found time to visit so far has been the Adelaide electorate of Kingston, reckoned by most to be a certain Labor gain.

• The Sky News Election 07: Agenda program last night broadcast a debate between Joe Hockey and Mike Bailey, the Liberal and Labor candidates for North Sydney, which you can hear as a podcast.

• George Megalogenis of The Australian notes that the behaviour of the major parties indicates they believe “working women are fibbing when they tell opinion pollsters they prefer increased public spending over another round of tax cuts” (can’t find the article online but I’m sure it’s there somewhere).

• After some invaluable advice from readers last month on reducing bandwidth costs, this vehicle is running a good deal more efficiently than it used to. Nonetheless, the announcement of the election has brought a further surge in traffic, so I am again having to shell out extra for the privilege of staying online until the end of the month. Please click on the PayPal button on the sidebar if you would like to make a contribution (I should acknowledge that whenever I make this plea, the resulting influx is enough to cover my costs with a fair bit to spare). To clear up a common point of confusion: you do not need a PayPal account to donate, you simply have to click “continue” where it says “Don’t have a PayPal account?” at the bottom left.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

274 comments on “D-day minus 35”

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  1. Phil

    Murdoch of course always says he impartial. See Fox ‘fair and balanced”Newscoverage in the US . The GG has been embarressingly one sided from the get go and the News limited tabloids pretty much the same. But Murdochs a businessman and when the writings on the wall for Howard he’ll sell the old man out in ten seconds flat. Thats I think why the newlimited tabloids started to move over to rudd a couple of months ago – the polls were just too consistent. Since then they seem to have wandered back over to to Howard – probably to have one more shot at getting some movement for Howard.

  2. BV Says:
    October 20th, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Got to ask – where are the ALP ads??? I’ve seen nothing – including now no anti-Workchoices ads – what kind of strategy is that???

    I’m with you on that.

    I think a better strategy would have been to come out hard from the beginning. Ads take a while to work their way through into the public mind, and if you wait too long you miss the boat. Plus if you put them out early you can really help to frame the debate for the rest of the campaign.

    Case in point: the unions put their workchoices ads out months ago and it worked a treat. Only problem is, they’ve disappeared again.

    I think Labor should have blitzed the airwaves for the first couple of weeks of the campaign. Then, if necessary, dropped off for a couple of weeks before ramping it up at the end.

    A large portion of the public (and certainly swinging voters) doesn’t pay much attention to the news. You need to hit them with the ads while they are watching australian idol.

    So…. has Labor not put ads up because it is saving its money for later in the campaign? Or were they not able to get decent ad spots at such late notice after the election was called?

  3. Saw this elsewhere:
    “Today’s West Poll has Liberals retaining Hasluck and Stirling easily and winning Cowan 54/46 TPP (Libs 51 primary). No mention of Swan”

    Can anybody confirm?

  4. William,
    Tossed some pennies in the hat…..excellent site…informative ,gutsy,wide-ranging but above all I love the humour!
    With various election strategies and push-polling, I wonder if Cheney offered JWH some help with his campaign when he visited recently. Surely they didn’t just discuss the roses at Kirribilli! Am suspicious of that master planner/puppeteer!

  5. Glen -48 It is on the record that Howard has ‘lost’ every campaign since 1996. He just isn’t that good unless he has a Tampa, 7/11 or some other big issue to carry him. Rudd will slice and dice Howard in the debate tomorrow nite. Labor will then go on to build momentum until Howard is crushed on 24 Nov !!

  6. 102
    The swinging voters are exactly that – swingers up till the last minute. There’s very little you can do now.
    The phoney campaign has sorted out the thinkers and rusted-ons already – thebattle for the swingers will be in the last week.
    Part of the reason for them swinging is the short attention span when it comes to politics – they’re just as likely to get bored and reactive if they’re seeing the same thing consistently.
    Unless there’s an utter campaign failure – the blitz will happen.
    This first week, and possible the second is about stretching out the phoney campaign as much as possible as it has undoubtedly been a successful one for the ALP.
    Those who are interested now aren’t changing their mind based upon simple advertising – in fact there probably aren’t any changing their mind at all.

  7. I laughed when i read this on the SMH link someone posted earlier.

    The release went on to list 23 “non-policies” which included pledges like “We will not abolish awards, we will not force people off awards, we will not have a $3 dollar an hour youth wage, we will not have foreigners control Telstra, we will not destroy forests” and a few absolute lulus like, “We will not have a GST, we will not introduce new taxes or increase existing ones, and ended: “And above all, we will not break promises”.

    And its little (and some quite large), landmines like this that Rattus has left spread all around the place that will get him now.

    Tax neutralized. Does anyone now more about the line that was run on the ABC last night that the tax policy from Rattus, is substantially what Swan advocated about middle of last year? If thats substantiated then it makes Rattus and Cossie look a bit silly.

  8. #105 Megan re Cheney

    If you want to be very suspicious, get hold of, probably library, Worse than Watergate The Secret Presidency of George W Bush. Author John W Dean.

    ISBN 1-74066-174-5

  9. Totally disagree Ashley (I6). I think it has ended up a great week for Labor. They have at least neutralised the Government’s alleged strengths on tax and the economy and created a beautiful segue into two of the major things Labor wants to talk about for the rest of the campaign – education and health.

    As Rod Cameron noted on Lateline last night, this week has just been the preliminary sparring. The real stuff starts next week and Labor has plenty to work with.

  10. The oxygen’s gone out of the government line of attack. The only thing going for them was “pressure on Rudd.” No more pressure, no more line of attack.

  11. 39 Howard Hater I bet in the end council amalgamations will count for zero in the wash up. The hot button issues are Work Choices Global Warming & no nuclear power stations, and according to research the ALP owns eight out of ten top issues. Council amalgamations was not there.

  12. It’s only 2-3 pts 2PP in the first week don’t lose heart, if Labor only loses 1pt 2PP per week from here it will be an honourable loss with the small target strategy. And we will all be able to praise KR for how well he campaigned eh?

  13. Thanks for the feedback on Galaxy. Poor old Morgan, it reminds me about the joke where the farmer lists all his achievements for the local community and how no-one remembers him for this. “But if you F$@K one poll”.
    I find it hard to fathom some of the MSM commentary, particularly when the ALP primary is so high. So could we see something like 1998 when Beasley polled higher but still lost? Reading Adams post yesterday I agree it is very unlikely.

  14. Don Wigan, i just got your message, my dad was a foundation member of Westies and their treasurer for years, my aunt and uncle ran the footballers club for years, and my uncle was captain after the war, even though i was assured of admittance to the grand finals i used to sleep over outside the Adelaide oval gates with my pals to get admittance, we used to have a ball, the matches against Port were the special ones, we used to get up on the hill and taunt each other lol, when i was very small i used to sit under the diningroom table quiet as a mouse while the committee chose the players for the next day, we lived in the heart of the west end then, Jimmy Wright was my hero, most of our players worked for the fire brigade in those days, dad was a lifetime member and delegate of the S.A.N.F.L.

  15. Why do people feel that Labor has to win the first week? Aren’t they a mile in front? The ALP has its own election agenda to run and will run it. You don’t hold the election after the first week of the campaign and besides, even you did, polls are suggesting right now Labor would win the election easily. For heaven sake chill out. The best is yet to come.

  16. Gary,

    Labor is being defined and not rebutting it.

    Me-too, glass jaw, union domination – these buzz words are settling into the general population, like a spring flower they blossom in “due season” , ie one week or so before polling day.

    Labor appears to have analysed 2004 to death and turned up to the wrong football game.

  17. Steve @103. 70% Unionists versus 72% Lawyers and Bankers. I know which one I prefer.

    Howard talks about an unprecedented form of Government if Labor is elected. Surely he is already sitting on an unprecedented level of nonrepresentativeness?

    You might enjoy my first efforts at YouTubing with my new MacBook


  18. Re the polls – nothing for the government yet. Labor’s primary vote went up on AC N. Stirton said on TV that Labor’s primary vote has been solid all year and it wil be hard for the govt to shift it in the next 5 weeks. In other words, just watch the primary vote and the preferred PM figures. Relax, Labor’s on track. Sorry ESJ and Glen.

  19. Labor is very well positioned. The first week was all about the economy and the polls reflected (but only minisculy) the tax bribe. Rudd chipped away, as you do when you’ve got 6 weeks to go and then produced a clever but cautious tax plan which from my reading has got good favourable media coverage. The campaign will soon move onto Labor’s strengths (ie everything but the economy). I do agree that Labor need to get down and dirty occassionally and rebuke some of the rubbish being thrown out there by the increasingly desperate tories. Costellos remark re communists was probably one of the most sad and desperate comments by a senior politican that I can remember in recent history.

  20. AnthonyL –

    Keep up the good work, dont argue the merits, make the relative merits argument. Exactly what the government wants you to do. Well done.

  21. Ashley, Labor didn’t go backwards in the polls. Check their primary vote.
    Sorry ESJ – that’s pure BS and you know it. Those ads are having no effect.

  22. 116 yes say things that make them unelectable like ‘I don’t think a woman could do the work in Leichardt’ and prattle on about council amalgamations when no one cares.

  23. #111 –

    “As Rod Cameron noted on Lateline last night, this week has just been the preliminary sparring. The real stuff starts next week and Labor has plenty to work with.”

    I saw that and laughed and laughed. That buffoon Cameron was trying to rescue the week for Krudd and his crew but basically gave the game away when he lamely suggested that the “real” campaign would actually start next week. I wonder if that’ll be the Labor line every Friday?

  24. AnthonyL ‘

    Re the coalition being full of lawyers and bankers. Yes. Why doesn’t rudd use that…he needs to go on the front foot more often.

  25. Sean – “Costellos remark re communists was probably one of the most sad and desperate comments by a senior politican that I can remember in recent history.” And will be recognised as such by the majority of voters. As usual Costello is going over the top.

  26. How scary – yes our parliamentarians (ie lawmakers) are lawyers. Ooh!

    Labcest is Labcest however you guys try to disguise it.

  27. Ashley (114) I see where you’re coming from, but the fact remains if we were voting today Labor would win in a landslide. All they need to do from here is draw the rest of the campaign and they’ll win.

    Personally I think they will do better than just draw the campaign. I think they will win it clearly, because they have so much to work with and because Rudd – as he has shown all year – is just too clever for Howard.

  28. Darn — I agree, Rudd has shown he is a clever politician so far this year. So I was a little bemused by this week’s effort.

    Labor is still out in front but until this week they looked unassailable.

    Now the government has a sniff.

    Pardon the pun, but when an a**licker like Howard has a sniff you can’t help but feel uncomfortable.

  29. GB,

    If your not worried at 53-47, at what level will you worry?

    51-49, 49-51? Or do you prefer to look at primary – what’s your squeal point GB?

  30. Steven Kaye (129)

    Because you’re quoting me I decided to waste a little time and read your rubbish this time (but only this time).

    If you found Rod Cameron’s comments that funny you’ll be splitting your sides at what they’ll be saying after the government gets rolled in five weeks time.

  31. So we had the dead cat bounce, boys and girls, and next poll will be business as usual 55/45. And that’s where it will be at the end.

  32. I suspect the union anti-workchoices ads will start up with about 2 weeks of the campaign to go. Coupled with Minchin’s speech to HR Nichols I’d imagine they could put together a very effective negative campaign demonstrating the risks of re-electing this government. If the ads are really good it should lock in a steady primary for the ALP.

    When do Family First announce preference deals? A deal with the ALP could put one more nail in the Coalition coffin, leaving them to scrounge for preferences from the CDP, Fishing Party and other assorted groups.

    I think people overestimate Rudd’s capacity as a politician. He’s pretty wooden and, to me, lacks the street smarts of Howard. This doesn’t really bother me though, as I’d rather have a PM the public can see through.

    All in all, I feel no less confident of a Labor win at the election and I doubt the polling will change this much for me. 5 more weeks to go? I wish I could just fast forward and have it over with.

  33. Howard wanted a long election campaign because he thought it suited him. So we have had a week of phoney campaign. Thus negating the long campaign.

    Howard needed a big start so he started on tax – then nothing. He wasted the momentum.

    Now Rudd has released his educat.. er tax policy, what does Howard do?

    The Debate will signal the start of the campaign proper and Howard has been denied his “economic” high ground. 8)

  34. ESJ — if Labor’s primary stays above 45 I’ll be happy. If it drops below that level in the next couple of weeks I’ll be concerned. And if it goes to 41 or below I will curse and begin construction of a Howard voodoo puppet.

    I think Labor can win with a primary of 42, but anything less than that I’d be surprised.

  35. The beauty of the Goverment ads about union control is when the ACTU ads start they will be automatically discounted as vested interest by most swinging voters.

  36. LTEP: I suspect the union anti-workchoices ads will start up with about 2 weeks of the campaign to go.

    That would be monumentally stupid IMO. Why wait until so late? They ran a workchoices ad campaign for over a month earlier this year… surely they are getting ready to fire it up again for a *minimum* of the last 4 weeks of the campaign?

  37. ESJ – my squeal point is a long way off a poll that suggests Labor will win 23 seats and where its leader has a PPM break of over 12 percent. Also one poll does not make a trend. Obviously this is your squeal point ESJ?
    While Labor’s primary vote holds in the mid to late 40’s they are in excellent shape because of how the minor parties operate now. No sweat.

  38. Because Ashley, they’d want the ads to be fresh in the voters minds when they’re finally making their minds up.

    Repetitive ads become stale very quickly.

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