Those punters are an unsentimental lot. Not a trace of a honeymoon for the Labor dream team. John Howard is now a shorter priced favourite to win the next election than he was a couple of months back when Kim Beazley was to be his opponent!

I did a survey this morning of the three main internet bookies – Centrebet, Sportingbet and IAS. According to them the Coalition is a 59% chance to win the next election to Labor’s 41% chance. There was a very marginal improvement for Labor as a result of this morning’s Newspoll which puts Kevin Rudd’s team well in front but back in August the chances were rated 57% Coalition to 43% Labor.

Newspoll back in August had Labor’s primary vote averaging 40% and just over 50% on a two party preferred basis. This morning’s version put the primary vote at 46% and the two party figure at 55%.

That is the highest primary vote recorded by Newspoll since March 2004 and two party support of 55% is the highest in the period since October 2001 when my records stop.

Why then the lack of reaction from the people who put their money where their mouth is? I can but put it down to a belief that inexperience will count against Kevin Rudd in the end.

That may prove to be so but the lack of form might also be disguising a new Labor champion.

Whatever view you take of the future, Newspoll does suggest that we have a real race for the next election.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey