The Prime Ministerial pride has suffered a little in recent days with all the suggestions that the best thing he can do for his Liberal Party is to step down and give some one else a go. The Daily Telegraph on Saturday reported John Howard comparing the dismal Liberal rating in opinion polls to his own popularity.

The paper reported Mr Howard saying that his personal popularity was “quite high”, despite having been Prime Minister for 11½ years.

“In fact my level of personal support is significantly higher than that of the party’s,” he said. “If the party’s level of support in the opinion polls was as high as mine is, it would be a different story. I’m not drawing any particular comfort from that. I’m just making the observation.”

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Which makes you wonder why Mr Howard has agreed to share the limelight during the forthcoming election campaign with his team. For if Mr Howard is not the reason for the unpopularity of his Government, who is? Presumably other members of the team!

Mr Howard should also hope that the Newspoll out on Tuesday does not show a drop in his personal approval rating. While a dramatic fall is perhaps unlikely, the days of exceptional popularity for Mr Howard are long gone.

It is a long time since more than 50% of Australians as measured by Newspoll have approved of his performance as Prime Minister.


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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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