The one thing that will be said about this campaign is that Mogadon was never needed. Well, not for the polling results anyway. I’m sure Howard could have done with a dose after those silly bogans from Lindsay started throwing race grenades. I’m sure that episode just went down a treat in multicultural Bennelong.
If we look at a rolling four poll average of Newspoll, ACNielsen, Morgan and Galaxy, the story of the campaign is one of the absence of movement, as it has been for months.
The average four poll two-party preferred results have wandered between 54.1 and 55.4 for the ALP and the seats delivered on that uniform swing have moved between 91 and 95, with 91 becoming the popular choice.
The State results have been a bit more active – with up to a 6% movement in the TPP result for the ALP from poll to poll, but with a margin of error on those Newspoll State breakdowns of 4%, it’s what a stable voting pattern looks like.
When you look back over the campaign, the strategies and tactics deployed by the ALP pretty much reflected that stability. They were simply playing the game of hanging on to the voters they had. Strict discipline, highly managed messages and the continued projection of “that nice man Kevin”. With the ALP running on a platform of being all the things people like about Howard and none of the things they don’t, the polling results were always going to be business as usual as we’ve been banging on about for months.
The Coalition on the other hand were caught in the difficult position of trying to turn around an immovable block of public opinion. Even if their campaign wasn’t a fiasco, that still would have been a near impossible task. They hadn’t managed to do it in nine months, the chances of pulling it off in six weeks were always going to be remote.
So the campaign comes to end exactly as it had started – the ALP with a 10 point lead that’s impossible to tear down. Likewise, Kevin Rudd goes into the election tomorrow in the same position he was enjoying in February. Preferred PM, high satisfaction ratings… “that nice man Kevin” – the next Prime Minister.
The only big question remaining is whether the Lindsay business will hurt the Coalition in their wet liberal seats. Those seats are already swinging by all reports, and if the Lindsay business is an act of disgust too far for some of the wet Liberal voters, we might see “The Narrowing” we’ve heard so much about, finally make an appearance. Not in terms of the polls mind you, but in terms of the breadth of the views of the members that make up the broad church of the Liberal party.
The last thing the Libs need in Opposition is to have the broadness of their Church narrowed to a bunch of unelectable, ultra-conservative rabble as happened in NSW.