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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

after one week « Previous | |Next »
October 20, 2007

For those with an abiding interest in an assessment of how things are going in the election campaign--ie., who work in the hose race frame of won the first week of the election--- could do no worse than start here with the judgements of two old and experienced hands, made on the ABC's Lateline.

Electionrace.jpg
Leahy

ROD CAMERON: Well Howard won week one. Five to go. Rudd would still be favourite. This campaign will be won and lost... this campaign will win or lose the election for one of the parties. If I had to make... if I had to stick my neck out, I'd say Rudd's got his neck in front but it's still anybody's game.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Michael Kroger?

ROD CAMERON: I think Rod got that right. Rudd's clearly in front but whereas a week ago John Howard was in a lot of trouble, he's now back in the game.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:06 PM | | Comments (18)
Comments

Comments

Gary,
Michael Costello in the Australian says that Rudd's key message is that "I'm the future, Howard is the past, and Labor is no risk on the economy.He comments:

Through policy differentiation on climate change, broadband, health, education and industrial relations, Rudd has cast himself as homo modernicus this year. In some areas, notably climate change, Howard can't catch up with Labor no matter what he does. These policy differences put flesh on the bones of Rudd's claim to govern for a better positioned, fairer and more effective Australia than that which the Coalition, after 11 years in office, has delivered.

It's a variation on the 'it's time' public feeling.

Nan,
Both Kroker and Cameron on Lateline agreed that the "its time" mood is a potent current.
Kroker says that people think "well, John Howard's had a good go, it's time for the other person to have a go." To me, that is the dominant argument Labor have got for a change of Government.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: And it's powerful one in your view?

MICHAEL KROGER: It's a very powerful one and the greatest handicap the Government has to overcome, no question about that in my view.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Rod Cameron, the it's time factor, underrated, over rated?

ROD CAMERON: It is the underlying issue of the whole campaign, Virginia. The electorate basically believe that John Howard's time has come.

And the whole underlying, over arching theme of this campaign is we have a new, fresh visionary face versus a tired guy who they don't dislike but his time has come.

Yes Rudd is still favourite @1.71 and the Co. @ 2.15 in from 3.70.

The funny thing about this election that differs from the past is that in the end the commentators will all be right. You see in the beginning they all said. My My 16 seats is a big ask. Of course most have varied that illustrious opinion some but at some point they will all scratch a quick note on their desks "Gone for cigarettes back is 5 minutes" and bolt down to the Tardis and go back a couple of months to that point.Howard wins. We were all right! Time for xmas holidays bye.
It will be nice for a few of the old journo's to get it right for their last election.

Les,
I think that, if the inflation figures on Wednesday show the economy running hot, then the prospect of the Reserve Bank raising interest rates will shape week two of the election campaign.

The secenario is this: the Reserve Bank's main objective is to keep inflation between 2 and 3 per cent. If Wednesday's data shows inflation running at pretty soon.

That will change the dynamics of the campaign would it not?

Rudd may be ahead and Howard back in the game, but what is noticable locally is the number of people who are saying that they won't be bothering with tonight's televised Leaders Debate because they have already made up their minds.

Clarencegirl,
I saw bits of the debate towards the end whilst cooking dinner. They covered familiar ground.

The bit I saw was on climate change and reconciliation Howard hold his own--Howard looked heartfelt, passionate and genuine. Then, in the questions the leaders asked of each other, Howard demanded to know why Rudd had spent no more than a few moments on the subject when he spent 45 minutes talking to US President George Bush at APEC. Bush and climate change? Howard lost his credibility there.

Does it matter? Howard's history is one of losing debates with opposition leaders, yet winning elections. Philip Senior in the Canberra Times says:

Neither leader did enough to ensure the debate will have a significant lasting impact, but Rudd's solid performance should be enough to slow Howard's momentum, at least for now. It will also give Labor renewed confidence after a shaky week.....With five weeks to go before polling day it is still early days in the campaign, and the Coalition may yet pull off a remarkable comeback. But Howard was not able to make the most of his opportunity last night, and the Coalition's job just got a little bit harder.

One may not like Rudd as a person but he looks like PM material. The debate would have reinfoiced that judgement.


Les,
Philip Coorey in the SMH has an op-ed that you may find of interest. He says that Howard has a big enough buffer to cling on without winning the majority of the vote. His account:

The Coalition won in 2004 by 52.7 per cent to 47.3 per cent.If you subtract the 4.8 per cent needed from the 52.7 per cent the Coalition won in 2004, that gives it 47.9 per cent.Therefore, the raw maths means Labor needs a margin of at least 52 per cent to 48 per cent to win. Both parties are acutely aware of the scenario.

The Coalition had done its own maths and is banking on winning this election with about 49 per cent, or just over, of the two-party preferred vote. He adds:
Swings to Labor are no good if they come in the seats it already holds. That is why the Government has employed a Maginot Line strategy of defending the seats it already owns.

Gary also works with this strategy. he says that the Coaltion has given up cetain some marginals as acceptable losses. Would any Queensland marrginals fit into "acceptable losses"?

Coorey says that for every seat it retains---and Bennelong and Wentworth are in the 4.8 per cent swing range ----Labor must find another to win and that requires a swing of the order of 6 per cent to 7 per cent to put the result beyond doubt.
His conclusion?

This election, as we go into the second week of the marathon six-week campaign, has about 3 per cent in it. If 3 per cent of those currently telling pollsters they intend to vote Labor can be convinced otherwise, Howard can win.


Les,
whilst you play with betting numbers---is the smart money playing yet?---I connect the 'It's Time' public mood to climate change. This is the key issue as it is is getting to me, in a deep angst kind of way.

What I see is a wall of this wall of political incompetence in addressing this issue. Howard's clean coal technology and nuclear power cannot work in the time frame needed for effective action. The Government knows it; we know it.Yet, with their budget surpluses tax cuts and surging economic growth they do nothing about investing in solar power or desalination plants for water shortages.

They are blocking action whilst going on about us changing our light bulbs.

Nan,
things are getting serious. It was unseasonally hot in Canberra last week. Canberra's regional water storages last year had received 20 megalitres in total inflows but 65ML had been taken out of storages.

Canberra's water storages were at 41.99 per cent, their
only long term solution is recycling water. Especially for Lake Burley Griffin's storage and for the national capital's public parks and gardens.

Nan,
To pick up on your question. As Les reminds us the ALP needs to win an extra 16 seats across the nation to win office. I don't know about Queensland. In Victoria the situation is this.

The first Victorian seats on the federal electoral pendulum come in at numbers 17 and 18. Rudd needs to attract a uniform national swing of 4.8 per cent to seize the keys to the Lodge. But the most marginal Liberal-held Victorian seats have a buffer of 5 per cent.

If any seats change hands, it is generally agreed that it will be from Liberal to Labor, despite the large number of Labor marginals. Paul Austin in The Age asks 'So, where is the campaigning energy in Victoria being expended?' He answers:

Basically, it is being concentrated on the five Liberal seats held with margins in the band between 5 and 6.5 per cent: Deakin (in the eastern suburbs, held by Phil Barresi with a margin of 5 per cent), McMillan (stretching from Melbourne's outer east to west Gippsland, Russell Broadbent, 5 per cent), Corangamite (a mainly rural seat taking in some suburbs of Geelong and stretching west to Colac, Stewart McArthur, 5.4 per cent), LaTrobe (the Dandenongs and surrounds, Jason Wood, 5.9 per cent) and McEwen (stretching into the central highlands from the outer north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Fran Bailey, 6.5 per cent).

Victoria is not where the swing action is going to be. The Howard Government could fall without a single seat in Victoria changing hands

Nan,

Various number crunching bloggers around the place have pointed out that raw swing numbers are deceptive because of what they're calling the Latham factor.

If I understand it right, the coalition got its whopping majority because Latham himself brought about a 5% swing away from Labor, so the baseline numbers are 5% misleading simply because Latham's not there. If you leave the Latham election out of the equation Labour actually need far less swing in the marginals than they're actually achieving so far. The 16 seats needed isn't as difficult for Labor as it seems.

That's why they're campaigning hard in seats with up to 10% margins, which would normally be a waste of time.

The other thing is that there's a much larger proportion of the polled public saying they've made up their minds than you'd normally see at this point. Barring some kind of catastrophe something in the region of 95% of the vote is already locked in, as they say on that quiz show.

Also, the national swing is as misleading as the national average wage. There's virtually no swing in WA, which means there's a bigger swing than the national average in all other states.

Antony Green has some interesting doo dads and calculators up on the ABC website you can use to work these things out.

Nan everyone that bets on these things and sports/horses thinks they are the smart money.

No, I think the Its Time had a different feeling before and especially after the election. Rudd doesn't have that sort of appeal. He has more the Give someone else a go type feel. Very different to Its Time. Same result I know but I am sure you know what I am getting at.
Oddly enough I feel that most people when they go to the booths will be voting for a economic future of Oz. Climate change, health, Wars, Aboriginals and other things will not decide the undecided.
The undecided will mostly vote for jobs. The devil you know. And of course in the end they will fear having Labor in all states and Federally.
Funny though a lot of these polls don't take into consideration that people vote for their local member because they actually think that they will do a good job for the local community. Lots of people don't base their votes on Rudd vs Howard scenarios. This is where the applying stats from one area to another falls down.
I myself know my local people and always on the day vote for the one that I regard will be the best worker regardless of what shirt they wear.

Lyn,
I thought that the Latham factor was crucial in Queensland, more so than elsewhere.

Nan,
The Age continues with its analysis of the marginals in the different states. Today it is SA. Howard is currently here for a couple of days.

1. The Liberals have given away Kingston. A local Galaxy poll showed Labor's Amanda Rishworth with a 6 per cent lead in Kingston.The Advertiser poll shows Labor’s Amanda Rishworth leading Liberal incumbent Kym Richardson 45 per cent to 34 per cent on the primary vote and 56-44 on two-party preferred.There is little point in defending Kingston.

2. Wakefield is still being defended strongly by the Libs.
3.Makin is not featuring much in the media.

The Liberals are going to rely on Family First (FF) to help them defend these marginals. Thus the ex-state Liberal Minister Brokenshire running for Family First, who are likely to direct preferences to the Liberal. Could this hurt Labor? FF---‘lower petrol tax’ is their slogan --- is polling at 5% in Kingston. FF are strong in outer-metropolitan middle class and working class suburbs that are socially messed up.

There has been no publiv polliing in Boothby and Sturt.

The Age article by Penelope Debelle says nothing much at all about the issues in SA eg., water, SA is reported to be swinging 5-6 % to the ALP.

Howard has backed the construction of a desalination plant in Adelaide to cut the city's dependence on the Murray River and he promised $10 million for a feasibility study into the proposed plant.


Gary,

Yes, according to bloggers the biggest swing away from the ALP was in Qld - the biggest in an overall swing. I can't remember whether there was anything else going on in Qld at the same time that could have contributed. It seems a bit weird that one state should react so much more than anywhere else. Anniversary of the Bali attack maybe?

Les,
John Stirton stated last week on The 7:30 Report that Labor’s vote “has been remarkably consistent over a long period, now six to nine months where Labor's primary vote has been on or around about 48 per cent”.

The Newspoll today is more of the same.

So where is your circuit breaker? Waiting for Rudd to blow it? Time is running out to Narrow the Gap. Wasn't calling the election meant to achjeve that?

5 weeks to go.....see what happens.

I see Rudd headed off a debate with Costello vs Swan. That was a great move. It still may happen though.

I'm having a month off blog commenting. Have fun Y'all.

Gary,

I don't know whether this is interesting or not, but since the election was called there have been a couple of trends I guess you'd call them, in blog comments.

Comments from likely political staffers have dropped away dramatically which you'd expect since they're no doubt rather busy. Comments from Liberal supporters have also declined on either leftish or middle ground blogs. The volume at, say, Andrew Bolt hasn't changed much, but the tone has.

I'm putting this down to Liberal supporters being demoralised which is understandable. The leftish are well acquainted with disappointment and the experience of being ostracised for a decade now.

I wonder whether, given a Rudd victory, the left would be any more kind or accommodating than the right has been during the Howard years?