There has been a lot of speculation about the causes of the big drop in the government’s popularity in the latest Newspoll. As someone with a strong interest in this type of research, I was curious to explain why it should be such a major drop. After all, the net result of Kevin’s Asylum seeker utterances was that he sounded very like Howard, with some minor difference. These did not seem enough to cause the big drop per se. It needs a much bigger issue than the relatively minor differences.

Even being seen as weak, as such, is not necessarily enough. But there are clues in there. Think about the so far extra-ordinary difference between the party votes. What if it was based on seeing Rudd as more ethical than Howard? Maybe it was the glow of him appealing to our better angels by at least appearing to take the high moral ground. Now he has tried being amorally tough to appeal to conservative voters.

So I suspect the loss of the exceptional difference was the slip back to earth of those voters who now realise he is just another expedient political animal!

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After all, closer two party preferred is the norm for voters who see little difference, and maybe we are now back to the reality: whoever you vote for a politician gets in