“Labor has welcomed a Newspoll showing the
party in an election-winning position as nervous voters turn on John Howard and
his Government’s workplace changes,” The Australianreports today.
Yup. It’s Tuesday.

The Coalition’s primary vote is down four
points to 40%. Labor’s is up three to 41. The two party preferred
splits 53/47 in favour of the ALP. Voter satisfaction with the Prime Minister
has dropped seven points. More people are dissatisfied with his performance
than approve.

Labor’s strong leap ahead of the Government
in the latest Newspoll is proof voters are worried about industrial relations
changes, Shadow Treasurer Wayne Swan has said on ABC Radio this morning.

Is it? The poll was taken over the weekend,
as the Government talked up the tax cuts that began with the financial year. Once
again, there’s no Budget bounce – but talking about bouncing, have a look at
the chart of Newspoll results since the last election at Bryan Palmer’s Oz
Politics blog
.
The results are all over the place.

What’s more interesting is the long term
trend line. It’s gently sloping away from the Government.

Yesterday, the prime minister left open
whether or not he would stand for re-election in his seat of Bennelong next year
in an interview with 2UE. Instead, all he would say was that he expected the
Liberal Party to retain the seat, even though its margin has been reduced by a
draft redistribution.

This is an anxious time for the government
– but it’s had anxious times before, held its nerve and recovered. Of course,
they were all before WorkChoices.

Peter Fray

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