Michael Costello offers a strict but fair guide to the polls in The Australian today:

Some things are so predictable. The sun rises in the east. Collingwood promises much but delivers little to its ever-loyal fans (who quite frankly are getting sick of all the money and talk – how about winning, guys!). And then there is the phenomenon of the young inexperienced white knight riding to the rescue of a political party. The media goes nuts, the polls go through the roof for months on end – and it all ends in tears.

Take today’s Morgan Poll. It’s a mixed bag.

Labor is 14 points ahead on the two party preferred vote – 57 to 43% – but they’ve dropped 0.5% while the government’s vote has risen by the same amount. Labor’s primary vote is up 1% to 48% – but Government support has also risen by the same amount, to 38%.

The two party preferred vote moved the Government’s way in Newspoll this week, too.

For the second Federal Morgan Poll in a row, a higher proportion of electors think Labor will win the next election than those who think the Coalition will be returned – 45.5% to 40%. This cuts both ways with wobblers.

Special Roy Morgan Qualitative Research conducted on 10-11 February gives insights into what voters see in the new Labor leader:

  • “I think Kevin Rudd is an honest man”
  • “The ALP has a good new leader — I like Kevin Rudd, he seems like a nice person and seems human”
  • “I like Rudd, I believe he has leadership potential.”
  • “Kevin Rudd seems like he is on the ball”
  • “Kevin Rudd is likely to do a better job than John Howard.”

But the question really is if Rudd can do a better job than Kim Beazley and Mark Latham, maintain momentum – and prevent the tears.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey