NSW Liberal Leader Peter Debnam this morning wholeheartedly embraced the underdog strategy with the acknowledgement on his daily blog that “if the polls are right, the Labor Government will be easily re-elected on 24 March”.

Perhaps the poor man had no option but to stop pretending he expects to win with yet another opinion poll, this time in the Daily Telegraph, showing Labor unlikely to lose any of its 52 seats. Nevertheless this is one of those times when honesty is the best policy for a politician with the only hope of a surprise Liberal-National coalition victory being a last minute decision by voters to deliver a protest vote.

Mr Debnam should now show some real daring and take his acknowledgement of inevitable defeat to the next stage of including it in his party’s paid advertising.

Federal Labor did something similar in the 1980s when it aired commercials accepting that disillusioned voters would not give them their first preference vote but asked them for their second preference. That daring strategy worked well enough for the unpopular Hawke-Keating alliance to sneak back in so Mr Debnam should try something along these lines:

If you think Iemma Labor is arrogant and uncaring now, then wait until next Sunday.

The opinion pollsters say that this complacent 12 year old government will actually increase its majority.

At least let Labor know that New South Wales needs something better than four more years of the same train and traffic chaos.

At least give them a little kick in the butt. Make a protest vote on polling day.

Crikey readers have an opportunity to show their own psephological skills in our Bragging Rights tipping contest by putting a probability of a Labor victory in each of the 93 seats. Click for details here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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