With just under half the campaign to go:
• George Megalogenis in The Australian accuses Labor of spending the first two weeks of the campaign pursuing “an imaginary centre position between young and old”, instead alienating the former by being too conservative. Megalogenis explains Labor’s poll decline among older voters in terms of the global financial crisis having “ended the party for baby boomers just when they thought they had made it to a prosperous retirement”, and says the fear of falling property prices in Queensland (not shared in Sydney and Melbourne) has united young and old voters in that state against Labor.
• Milanda Rout of The Australian reports the Coalition is pessimistic about Labor’s two Victorian marginals, Deakin and Corangamite, and fears defeat not only in La Trobe and McEwen, but even in seemingly unassailable Aston (where sitting member Chris Pearce is retiring).
• Sean Parnell of The Australian offers the interesting tidbit that the Queensland Liberal National Party “allowed the federal Liberal Party to fundraise almost exclusively in the state – including through the mining debate – to fill its depleted coffers and avoid Queensland’s tougher disclosure laws”. The Bligh government reduced the threshold for disclosing donations from $1500 to $1000 in June 2008. This was presumably in anticipation of the Rudd government’s proposal to cut the threshold from $10,000 (to which the Howard government had hiked it from $1500 in 2005) to $1000, which is yet to come to fruition.
• The Adelaide Advertiser has launched a crusade against Barnaby Joyce over his rejection of Penny Wong’s call for a live debate over the River Murray in Adelaide, which Joyce dismissed as “parochial”. Joyce protests there will be “nothing much to talk about” in the absence of the water allocation plan, which the Murray Darling Basin Authority has contentiously delayed releasing until after the election.
• Phillip Hudson of the Herald-Sun reckons “ALP insiders have not seen any immediate improvement in their stocks from the PM’s pledge to unleash the ‘real Julia’.”
• Possum runs Newspoll and Nielsen state breakdowns through his fantabulous contraption and finds Labor 79.4 per cent likely to win at least 74 seats, 71.4 per cent likely to win at least 75 and 62.2 per cent likely to win at least 76 (i.e. an absolute majority).
• Antony Green’s Senate calculators are open for business.