It’s worth recalling that NSW Premier Morris Iemma’s election slogan in March 2007 was: “More to do, but heading in the right direction.”

Clearly, he took a wrong turn somewhere. Or perhaps he was relying on a road map supplied by the Roads and Traffic Authority, the Stalinist-style institution that has logjammed the city’s traffic and crippled public transport.

It matters not how he got into this cul de sac but there he sits.

Today’s Newspoll in The Australian shows the scale of Labor’s political implosion in NSW:

  • Preferred premier is Coalition leader Barry O’Farrell on 39 per cent to Iemma’s 32 per cent.
  • Iemma’s approval rating has slumped to 26 per cent while his disapproval rating is a crushing 63 per cent.
  • The ALP’s primary vote trails the Coalition by 41 per cent to 32 per cent.
  • After preferences, the Coalition sneaks ahead of Labor 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

How does The Australian analyse its own polling? “Numbers bad for Iemma, worse for Opposition”, says its NSW political reporter Imre Salusinszky.

The bizarre Salusinszky, a John Howard blue kelpie who was awarded the chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council for his services to the dark side, tells readers: “The conclusion from this Newspoll is inescapable — Labor is on the nose. But voters are not yet convinced the Coalition is fit to govern.”

Clearly, Salusinszky has left behind the rigours of academia where he once taught and is following the training model used by other Oz commentators like Dennis Shanahan, Greg Sheridan and Janet Albrechtsen.

At the beginning of May, Salusinszky hailed Iemma’s decision to reject the ALP conference decision to oppose energy privatisation by a thumping seven-to-one majority and heralded his “strong man” approach would rebuild his popularity.

No such thing happened. Iemma’s public esteem has plummeted while O’Farrell’s has grown.

The Oz oracle writes: “O’Farrell, temperamentally a pessimist, will be sobered by the fact that, even after a horror run, Iemma could win an election on these Newspoll numbers.”

Oh really? But the Newspoll second preference numbers are predicated on the way preferences were allocated at the March 2007 election when The Greens showered Labor with its support in two dozen seats and helped ALP candidates get elected.

But after the $2 billion desalination plant, the attempt to privatise electricity, the commitment to coal and gas-fired power stations, the frontal assault on state planning and other environmental atrocities, does anyone seriously believe the preference allocation in 2011 will be the same as in 2007?

How piquant that when the voters have deserted Iemma in droves and his own party has turned on him, he has one man standing waving support — the fevered anti-communist and hard right ideologue from Quadrant, Salusinszky. Not exactly a solid base from which to launch a comeback, and more reason to conclude that Iemma is a dead duck.