ACNielsen pollster John Stirton reminded us last week on The 7:30 Report that Labor’s vote “has been remarkably consistent over a long period, now six to nine months where Labor’s primary vote has been on or around about 48 per cent”.

So, is there anything new in the Newspoll today? Not really. It’s more of the same old, same old – with the figures fine-tuned.

A shrewd poll watcher flicked me an interesting email this morning:

This election is going nowhere fast. The public have been rusted on to their positions for quite a while and nothing so far has shifted them.

Howard has been the problem all year why would more of him (and Costello) during a campaign change that? All the Libs are doing is giving the voters more of what has already turned them off.

The Coalition need to shift tack off an emphasis on Howard’s record and leadership and on to… That’s the problem, they’ve got nothing.

Rudd could still implode, but he seems to be very disciplined, except for the odd slip-up. All he needs to do is stay on message for four more weeks. Boring as bat sh-t, but effective.

They’re spot on – although, of course, this might mean that there’s a little more interest in and a little more focus on the seat by seat campaigns.

A very high stakes fight will still be going on. But it’s been going on for months and months – since December last year. Both leaders are already looking wearied. Both leaders missed opportunities in Sunday’s debate.

Rudd missed an opportunity to go in hard on a crucial policy difference when the Prime Minister announced his climate change fund. It starts in 2011. The PM announced something to show he was serious about climate change that wouldn’t come into operation until after he stands down as PM – not until after the next election – yet Rudd missed it.

The PM’s final statement was just odd. Sure, traditional educational values matter – but he set himself up for criticism from Labor that he’s not prepared to go beyond the basics.

Threats of an interest rate rise might make the campaign a little less dull. Peter Costello seemed keen to step into the ring with his Labor counterpart Wayne Swan – and a worm, as well as a rooster – and debate when he spoke to Macquarie Radio this morning.

Indeed, that may even raise the question of who would be Peter Costello’s treasurer if he became PM. Alexander Downer put up his hand.

That idea might make Newspoll and voters’ impression of better economic managers considerably more interesting.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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