Was Jeff Kennett right to bow out of the race for the Liberal
leadership? We asked some of Australia’s leading pollsters and
psephologists about Kennett’s chances of winning the upcoming Victorian
election as Liberal leader, and, going on their advice, Kennett
definitely made the right call. He didn’t have a “chance in hell” of
leading the Libs to a win. No one does.

Peter Brent, from poll watching website Mumble, told Crikey a Kennett
victory would have been highly unlikely. “I don’t expect Kennett has a chance
in hell of winning an election this year”, he told us via email this
morning, saying party leaders don’t make as much of a difference as most people think.

Should Jeff have ascended to the
Liberal
throne this time there would have been two community sentiments out there, says Brent: ‘(1) ‘Jeff f**king rules! – those
were the days’; versus (2) ‘Hey, I thought we got rid of this
a*sehole!'”. And it’s not even certain whether Kennett could lead his
party to a better performance at the November election than if Doyle
remained leader – about a
50/50 chance, according to Brent.

“It would be unlikely (Kennett would have won)”, ABC election analyst
Antony Green told Crikey
this morning. And even if he became leader “I can’t see that they’re
going to improve their position much at all”, says Green. “Jeff Kennett
led the Liberal Party to five general elections and won two – and those
two were un-loseable.”

“From my observations the Liberals in Victoria are in disarray at the
moment”, AC Nielsen’s John Stirton told us this morning, saying it’s always tough to
win when a party’s in poor shape, no matter who the leader is.