The sorry state of Liberals. It would be hard to imagine how a State Government could be more laughed at by its people than that of Morris Iemma in New South Wales, but the Newspoll published in The Australian this morning shows not only that Labor would win an election but its lead over the Liberal-National Coalition is actually higher now than it was three months ago. Newspoll puts the two party preferred shares at 51% for Labor to 49% for the Coalition. Not that the failings of the Government have escaped public attention. The satisfaction rating of Premier Iemma has dropped from 47% at the time of the election in March last year to 28% in the polling conducted during March and April. The Opposition parties, however, have not been able to turn the dissatisfaction with Labor into support for themselves with the Greens being the real beneficiaries with their share of the primary vote up five points from election day to 14% now. Clearly something is fundamentally wrong with the public image of the Liberal and National parties.

Sniffing the breeze in WA. Things are hardly any better for the Coalition parties in West Australia where the bra snapping Liberal Party Leader Troy Buswell has managed a tear or two while ‘fessing up to being a seat sniffer. This unique political practice is a radio talk show host’s delight and will make it difficult for voters to take Mr Buswell seriously when the State election comes. Despite all the odour surrounding the influence of lobbyists Brian Burke and Julian Grill, and there were new accusations on that score at the weekend, Labor remains a firm favourite to win again.

The real reason to support Hillary. Presumably the Democratic Party chose the system of super delegates for exactly the kind of circumstance that now confronts it. The national popular vote as measured in the primaries and caucuses might be supporting Barack Obama but the evidence is mounting that Hillary Clinton is more likely to win the Presidency in a contest with the Republican Senator John McCain. This is the kind of information that those super delegates will surely take into account:

The Economist’s finding is similar to that shown on the Real Clear Politics site where a myriad of individual polls are summarized:

General Election McCain v Obama McCain v Clinton
National Obama +1.5 Clinton +3.5
Pennsylvania Tie Clinton +5.2
Ohio McCain +2.6 Clinton +5.0
Florida McCain +11.7 McCain +0.3
Wisconsin Obama +4.3 McCain +3.3

Not only nationally but in three of four state wide polls Clinton is shown to be doing better than Obama. Nevertheless, the Crikey Election Indicator based on prediction markets still has Obama favourite to secure the nomination with a probability of 74% to 22% for Clinton and 4% for Al Gore.

The Daily Reality Check

The Miley Cyrus phenomenon had passed me by until this morning. I had never heard of the “15 year old superstar” until she joined the Austrian incest victims as the internet story of the day. The grand children in my family have not yet started watching Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel so I guess I can be forgiven and I hope they are too young to understand the goings on in the Viennese cellar. Both stories topped the readership poll with six mentions each followed this morning by the nude pictures of the small Big Brother person and the Frankston murder both on four. Politics came in fifth of the favourites, with the three versions of The West Australian chair-sniffing story still having me confused as to the exact significance of the gesture. Perhaps Glenn Milne will explain all at the weekend — it reads like his kind of story. The only other items to rate in more than one of the 10 top five most read story lists we survey dealt with Harbajhan Singh and his face slapping and Sam Newman being criticised for bad taste, which surely isn’t really news. It was reassuring to see ABC readers at their serious best with “Sex group wants prostitutes on skilled visa list”.

The Pick of this Morning’s Political Coverage

Quote of the Day

A friend, who is a teacher, lamented to me recently: “For years we have been told that bankers were paid so much because you were cleverer than the rest of us. Now it turns out you were not clever at all and we are all suffering for your stupidity.” — Former investment banker Abigail Hoffman writing in The Financial Times of London