Newspoll today mirrors the findings of the Crikey Morgan Poll. These are dark days for the Prime Minister.

The Crikey Morgan Poll has picked up significant discontent with John Howard’s policy gambles among his own constituents:

  • 64% of voters in the Prime Minister’s electorate want Australia’s Iraq forces brought home.
  • 62% think the Prime Minister and the government should ask the US to have David Hicks immediately returned to Australia, while 69% say that if Hicks is found guilty of the proposed charges against him, he should be allowed to serve his sentence in Australia.
  • 59% of Bennelong voters disagree with the Government’s industrial relations reforms.
  • 63% say the PM was wrong in saying that a victory at next year’s US election by Senator Barack Obama would be welcomed by terrorists because of his plan to withdraw American troops out of Iraq.

“Mr Howard’s lacklustre result in yesterday’s Crikey Morgan Poll can in part be attributed to discontent from Bennelong electors on a number of issues: David Hicks, Iraq, IR,” pollster Gary Morgan says. “If voters remain on issues such as Hicks, Iraq and IR, Mr Howard may not only find it difficult to win this year’s Federal Election, he may also have trouble winning his own seat of Bennelong.”

Kevin Rudd is obviously enjoying a honeymoon – but there is also an enormous amount of goodwill towards him. Will it last? Can he keep it?

Paul Kelly spelt out the PM’s plan on Saturday: “John Howard’s tactic to nail Kevin Rudd is clear – he will depict Rudd as a political chameleon without conviction, being all things to all people.”

There’s a neat riposte over at Mumble Politics today: “This was precisely how Paul Keating tried to bell Howard over 1995-6; he never could, people didn’t seem to care. That’s what Howard can expect this year. In our less than perfect world, successful politicians – particularly opposition leaders – do have their cake and eat it.”

John Howard has dined off cake for a decade. Will he soon be switching his diet to humble pie?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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