Today’s Fairfax broadsheets bring the Rudd government its most uncomfortable opinion poll yet, with ACNielsen showing Labor’s lead down to 54-46 from 56-44 a month ago. The poll also offers a preferred leader rating for Brendan Nelson with a two in front of it, and yet more results on emissions trading.
A by-election looms in the north coast New South Wales seat of Lyne as former Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile joins the exodus. Labor are presumably not in a hurry to take on the Nationals at another by-election, but the contest could yet prove interesting in other ways. Rob Oakeshott, the Nationals-turned-independent state member for Port Macquarie, says he is considering a tilt much as he did before the 2004 election without following through, though perhaps he will be more tempted now he does not have Vaile to overcome. Then there’s the prospect of a challenge by the Liberals, which Antony Green discusses in depth.
Labor has confirmed it will sit out the by-election for Alexander Downer’s seat of Mayo. Yesterday’s Liberal preselection was won by Jamie Briggs, former adviser to John Howard on industrial relations, whom Jon Wiseman of The Australian reports prevailed by 46 in a ballot of almost 300 branch members. The runner-up was Iain Evans, who was dumped after one year as state leader following the 2006 election. Evans’ state electorate of Davenport partly corresponds with Mayo, and it was thought his local numbers combined with concern over Briggs’s WorkChoices association might stand him in good stead. Antony Green has a Mayo by-election page in action, and will presumably follow with one for Lyne very shortly.
Yet more from Antony Green, this time on the growing prospects of an early election in the Northern Territory in late-August or some time in September.
Glenn Milne offers internal Nationals research from pre-polling and exit polling in Gippsland, and lots of it.
I have belatedly noticed my debut entry (and perhaps also Possum’s) in The Australian’s Cut and Paste section, from July 2.