On the menu today — a side serving of chart porn to go with your lunch.

A master in the dark art of the column graph, Possum Comitatus has picked over public perceptions on various attributes of politicians — including positive stuff like ‘Trust’, ‘Hard-working’ and ‘Visionary’, through to negatives like ‘Arrogant’, ‘Narrow-minded’ and ‘Superficial,’ based on two and a half years of Essential Research polling.

It boils down to this:

“…what the public believes about Rudd is much more important in terms of delivering votes to the ALP over the spectrum of 50-56% of TPP than what the public believe about the opposition leader. It also suggests that while oppositions can get away with running purely negative campaigns and have a fair level of success with them, governments can not — they also need to deal with the positive side of their leaders’ public perception ledger.”

In order to save his skin, the prime minister must avoid the micro. The public are craving cut-through. Rudd stuffed the ETS sell — a captive audience on climate change threw their hands up in confusion, and stopped listening. And now, bickering over the micro of the mining tax means the ordinary voting public is once again falling through the cracks on this issue.

Rudd’s got to accentuate the positives. Otherwise voters may call the whole thing off.