Bob Hawke, in his new role as political pundit for a bookmaker’s website, is a cautious analyst of political events but his review published this week for Sportsbet is clearly pointing the punters towards a Labor victory. This is how the longest-serving and most electorally successful Labor Prime Minister assesses the form:

Three issues since my last report are relevant to the election outcome.

First, Mondays A.C. Nielson Age – Sydney Morning Herald poll confirming bad news for the Government.

Labor’s primary vote rose 3 points to 49; the Coalition fell 2 points to 39. In two party preferred terms Labor rose 2 points to 57, the Coalition fell 2 points to 43 – a Labor lead of 14 points. And as to preferred Prime Minister, Rudd rose 4 points to 52 and Howard fell 3 points to 39 – a lead for Rudd of 13 points.

This poll is remarkably consistent, particularly in terms of trend, with last weeks Newspoll as illustrated below:


Lab. (Nielson) 49 + 3 (Newspol) 51 + 5
Coal. (Nielson) 39 – 2 (Newspoll ) 37 – 2

Two Party Preferred

Lab. (Nielson) 57 + 2 (Newspoll) 59 + 4
Coal. (Nielson) 43 – 2 (Newspoll) 41 – 4

Preferred PM

Rudd (Nielson) 52 + 4 (Newspoll) 48 + 2
Howard (Nielson) 39 – 3 (Newspoll) 37 – 2

Second, APEC has now come and gone and the question is; who did it help most, Howard or Rudd? Howard, I think, didn’t get the boost from it that he hoped for but it didn’t do him any harm. Rudd on the other hand probably benefited more than had been expected due to the wide publicity given to his remarks in mandarin addressed to Hu Jintao at the Prime Minister’s lunch in the Chinese leader’s honour, and his subsequent conduct of his entire meeting with Hu Jintao in that language.

Third, the fact that the media for the last few days has been full of reports and speculation about questioning in Coalition ranks as to whether Howard should remain as leader cannot be helping their cause.