Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 November 2007Call: ALPJohn Howard has blown his best chance to turn around his failing election campaign. Facing opinions polls of chilling steadiness and deadly intent, Howard needed to use Monday’s formal campaign launch to do something dramatic to change voting intentions…Rudd exercised the restraint of a leader with judgment and confidence. And that is why Howard’s campaign launch has only helped persuade Australia to entrust power not to Howard but to Rudd…. Alan Ramsey, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 November 2007Call: ALPAnd have no shred of doubt, a week out, that Labor is going to romp this one, just as Howard did almost 12 years ago. The Coalition swept 29 seats off Labor in 1996 before losing 18 of them 2½ years later in the election that gave us the GST Howard had pledged, as opposition leader, he would “never, ever” introduce.This time, with this leader, after all these Howard years, Labor is going to reverse 1996…

So who says victory is assured? The numbers do…

Peter Coorey, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 November 2007
Call: ALP (implied)
The Coalition can win on Saturday with about 49 per cent of the two-party vote. Accepting its present average is 46 per cent, it needs another 3 per cent before Saturday. That equates to about 400,000 voters who need to be swayed. Tough but not impossible.

Right now, if these blokes [Howard and Costello] had a duck, it would drown.

George Megalogenis, The Australian, 19 November 2007 and 16 November 2007
Call: ALP (implied)
AT the risk of putting the landslide before the mountain, who should the Coalition hold responsible in the event that Labor winds up running every government in the nation, federal, state and territory?

Imre Saluzinsky, The Australian, 12 November 2007 (Hoi Polloi)
Call: ALP
AS the world now knows, this column called the election for Labor a week ago.
Note: this is not a statement of what we wish to happen, but of what we believe will happen.

Phillip Adams, The Australian, 13 November 2007
Call: ALP (quelle surprise!)
REMEMBER them changing the guard at Buckingham Palace? Christopher Robin went down with Alice. Will we enjoy a similar spectacle in Australia when guards of all sorts change after a Rudd victory on Saturday week?

Glenn Milne, Herald Sun, 18 November 2007
Call: ALP (kinda)
If Kevin Rudd wins on Saturday – as now seems increasingly likely…

Jason Koutsoukis, Sunday Age, 18 November 2007
Call: ALP
Headline: Brace for a Rudd-slide (’nuff said, really)
I also believe Howard will lose his seat of Bennelong, on the basis that voters will reason that with the Coalition set to lose the election, there is little point returning Howard to Canberra…

Shaun Carney, The Age, 17 November 2007
Call: ALP likely
Does all this mean that Labor is home and hosed? Definitely not. But it is in the box seat. I do not believe it had to be this way. If Howard had handed over to Costello last year, the sense of ennui that pervades voter reactions to the Prime Minister would not exist. Even if there had been no handover, the Government still could have given a much better account of itself this year, and had a much better chance of re-election, if it had remembered the lessons of its own heady experience in 1996…

Rod Cameron, chairman of ANOP Research Services, The Age, 17 November 2007
Call: ALP (implied)
The Liberal effort, despite two moderate gaffes from Tony Abbott, has been shambolic, unstructured and mostly “off message”. Although Labor has clearly won the campaign, its lead in the marginals — especially in WA and NSW — is probably not as great as the national swing is recording. And it must be remembered that Labor will need a national preferred vote of 51% or even 52% to win because of the unevenness of the vote.

So John Howard still has a chance but he will need to conjure up one of those truly exceptional final weeks.

MIchelle Grattan, The Age, 16 November 2007
Call: ALP
If the PM can fight his way out of this one he’ll be Houdini as well as Lazarus.

Simon Benson, Daily Telegraph, 18 November 2007 (blog)
Call: ALP
Howard, clearly, has well and truly passed his use-by date and that, above all else, is the reason the Coalition will lose the election…

Malcolm Farr, Daily Telegraph, November 19 2007
Call: ALP
It is difficult to imagine that 10 months of polling will be reversed in a final week of campaigning.

Jack Waterford, Canberra Times, 17 November 2007
Call: ALP (implied)
John Howard and the Liberal Party have run a disastrous election campaign. If the polls are anywhere near correct, the Government faces annihilation next Saturday. Over the past few months, Howard has had events and, perhaps, luck run against him. But the heavy defeat will represent more than ill-chance or bad luck. It will also reflect bad strategy and tactics, and professional failure as much as a message that, at the time, simply could not be sold.

Peter Fray

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