When minds are made up, just change the author. Dennis Shanahan knows that things are getting better for the Coalition Government. The political editor of The Australian told us so yesterday under a headline “Howard closes gap: Newspoll” all across the top of page one. John Howard and the Coalition have got a polling breather going into the crucial last week of the parliamentary session is how he put it.

Today the evidence from Newspoll of a continuing rally by the Liberal and National Parties was not so clear cut. On the contrary, the pollster reported, voters seem to have made up their minds on how they plan to vote at the elections. So what is a political commentator to do?

Well first of all you have a helpful editor who mentions this interesting snippet of information about voting intentions right down the bottom of page one under the smallest of headlines saying “Minds made up, say voters”.

Then you flick pass the story not even to your number two, chief political correspondent Steve Lewis, but to the number three ranked political correspondent Samantha Maiden to explain on page two that Newspoll has found voter commitment is at “unusually high levels considering the time of the next election.” Newspoll chief executive Martin O’Shannessy was quoted saying “It is going to be hard for the Government to turn these voters; they are pretty rusted on.”

It was a very different interpretation of a poll finding that Labor leads 56% to 44%, but never fear. Our political editor Dennis was able to find solace in his own finding that voters now have “real choices and different policies in the three areas that have captured their attention” – industrial relations, climate change and broadband.

And one final comment on the Newspoll: Euan Robertson is the winner of our second pick the Newspoll contest and will receive his dozen Bragging Rights wines as a reward.

You can enter competition number three here.