Curious contrast of priorities at Uncle Rupert’s national rag this morning.

The Australian’s hoarding outside newsagents says, “Newspoll: No rates bounce for Beazley”. But in cyberspace there’s no sign of the story; it’s not on the Oz website, and as of lunchtime it still hadn’t appeared on the Newspoll site.

You have to buy The Australian, and even then there’s only a teaser on page one, with the story relegated to page four. When you read it, you can see why: it shows very little movement in anything.

Two-party preferred has Coalition 52 to Labor 48, a swing to Labor of 1% since the previous poll and 0.8% since the election – statistically insignificant. Primary votes are stable as well, except for a big jump in “others” (from 9% to 15%) – perhaps a Democrats revival (only joking!).

Beazley’s approval rating is up very slightly to 45%; most of the movement in his undecideds has been to disapproval, now at 32% (up from 22% a month ago). Preferred-PM numbers are pretty much unchanged.

So Labor remains competitive, but hasn’t made any startling gain from the change in leadership or (yet) from the rise in interest rates. On the numbers, of course, Simon Crean was competitive as well, but that didn’t save him.

In the accompanying article, Steve Lewis remarks that “Mr Beazley faces his first electoral test on March 19 in the Werriwa by-election”. That’s a brave effort to drum up some excitement, but on today’s evidence the electorate just isn’t very interested.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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