The latest weekly Essential Research poll shows Labor’s mega-lead remaining impervious to anything domestic or international push or pull factors might throw at it. Supplementary questions show respondents considering just about everything to be important in deciding their vote, though “political leadership” is down seven points since March and “security and the war on terrorism” is up ten. The latter is sort of good news for the Coalition, as it’s one of only three issues on which they are competitive with Labor on a “best party to handle” measure (the others are interest rates and economic management). However, it’s unlikely to do them much good if, as I suspect, it’s actually registering disquiet over Afghanistan. There’s also a question suggesting the electorate is to the left of the government on emissions trading.

In other news, December 5 has been set as the date for the by-elections in Higgins and Bradfield. Keep following developments, if any, on the dedicated posts – Higgins here, Bradfield here. The former is probably going to prove more fruitful, thanks to Greens candidate Clive Hamilton. Speaking of Greens candidates, note that the comments thread for Western Australia’s Willagee by-election has taken on a life of its own.