The senior Labor pol I was talking to yesterday was overjoyed by Saturday’s 45/55% Newspoll. Finally, something realistic, they said.
Heaven knows how they feel about the 60/40% two-party preferred split in the Newspoll today.
Labor has already developed an official line on the polls.
“We all know Labor has only won office from opposition twice since World War II,” deputy leader Julia Gillard said this morning. “It’s a hard, hard thing to do.”
Her boss had exactly the same line yesterday, too. Indeed, talking about the storm surrounding his wife’s business affairs, he warned “I expect as a result of the controversy that has occurred in the last several days that we’ll take a whacking.”
Labor is walking on eggshells at the moment. Poll after poll puts them in front.
Yet they are aware that this is the time that, in 2001 and 2004, the polls started to turn. They are aware of the billions that are going to start flowing back into voters’ pockets in the next few weeks thanks to Budget largesse
They know the polls will narrow between now and election day. They know that as a Labor win looks more certain, protest votes may not eventuate. Yet they also know that when governments change hands, the winning party often wins big.
They are hoping that even if the voters aren’t waiting for John Howard with baseball bats, they are studying the How to Buy a Baseball Bat guide.
“Today’s bats are made to address unique playing styles and hitting strengths,” it says.
“We’ll help you select what’s right.”