Dare we discern a trend in today’s ACNielsen poll that has Labor’s primary vote at its highest level since the wake of Paul Keating’s defeat of John Hewson?

It’s probably too early, but this is emerging as the first election since John Howard became PM where he’ll have to actually fight about what the government is doing.

In office, John Howard has campaigned on fear. His pitch has essentially been “Let’s just sit here and hang on to what we have. You can’t trust Labor.”

Events, however, move on. There comes a time when hanging on is not enough. This is where “the vision thing” comes in.

Rudd can articulate one where Beazley couldn’t — not because he didn’t have one, but because it too had been left behind.

What the polls are showing now is a real competition. The premiership team have suddenly discovered their captain has lost his touch for tactics. Playing the man isn’t working. The vice captain simply can’t lead.

The game is changing. The punters are excited. Rudd has to keep them yelling for him.