Well, now it’s official. The Sunday Tasmanian has told us so. Rupert Murdoch is known to publicly support world leaders, including Britain’s Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair and US President George W Bush.

So consider that when evaluating the Murdoch reply after the proprietor of the Tasmanian Sunday and other newspapers around the world was asked whether Kevin Rudd would be a good Prime Minister. “Oh, I’m sure” was the encouraging comment.

Not that a Sydney Daily Telegraph reader this morning would swallow a conspiracy theory that the might of News Corp was about to be put behind the new Labor Leader. Rudd “not trusted on economy” was the less than flattering version of a Galaxy opinion poll showing Labor leading 58% to 42% but with Mr Rudd trailing Prime Minister John Howard when it comes to being best at running the nation’s finances.

The Tele political correspondent Malcolm Farr was not joined by his Melbourne Herald Sun colleague Gerard McManus in trying to find the poll interpretation least flattering to Labor.

The McManus version of the Galaxy findings, Young Rudd’s poll boost, had voters preferring a younger and less experienced Kevin Rudd as prime minister over John Howard. Now that was more like a story written by a man taking note of the after dinner endorsement from New York!

For Brisbane readers, Clinton Porteous, under the headline “New poll has PM losing his grip“, had Howard with a major credibility problem as the Courier-Mail opinion poll showed “twice as many voters believe Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is more honest” than the PM.

The Advertiser’s Mark Kenny looked on the bright side for Labor with “Voters want a fresh-faced PM” as “a new poll conducted for The Advertiser reveals his long time in office could even damage the Government’s vote at the next election. The result is likely to send shock waves through the Government, which has long believed Mr Howard’s dozen years in office would give him the edge when voters went to the ballot box.”

The Galaxy poll does not appear to have reached down to Hobart this morning with no version appearing on The Mercury website. Perhaps the budget is tight in a city where there is no world leader to support.

At Crikey our contribution to the welter of this morning’s predictions about the election outcome is to update our election indicator based on what the betting money says. Labor is now marginally more favoured than it was a month ago – a 53.4% chance of winning with the Howard coalition at 46.6%:

The Crikey Federal Election Indicator

ALP

Coalition

16-Aug-06

43.2%

56.8%

9-Oct-06

42.9%

57.1%

7-Dec-06

39.0%

61.0%

12-Dec-06

40.9%

59.1%

2-Feb-07

45.8%

54.2%

7-Feb-07

49.0%

51.0%

19-Feb-07

50.5%

49.5%

26-Feb-07

50.8%

49.2%

20-Mar-07

51.5%

48.5%

23-Apr-07

53.4%

46.6%

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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