It’s been another week of bad polls for Kevin Rudd.

Yesterday’s Nielsen poll was the worst poll for the ALP in nearly a decade, with a two party preferred of 53-47 to the Coalition. Kevin Rudd and co fared a little better in the Essential Research polling, which put Labor ahead at 52-48 on two-party preferred, an increase of one point from last week.

As Bernard Keane noted yesterday:

The only small consolation for the Government is that Labor’s leadership team is rated much higher than Tony Abbott’s team, 47-31%, and is ahead in nearly all demographics except the elderly and Liberal voters — although 25% of the latter didn’t believe Tony Abbott and his team were better than Labor’s line-up.

Yesterday’s Newspoll had questions on the RSPT, with 48% against the RSPT and 28% in favour.

So the government’s popularity is done in some polls, up in others. Both Tony Abbott and Rudd’s personal popularity is down. The Greens are increasing in popularity.

The RSPT is unpopular (or voters just don’t understand it), voters are ignorant about asylum seekers and everyone seems a bit confused about the power of the Greens. What’s happening with voters?

It’s a difficult time for Kevin. Should he panic about the power of the Greens? Negotiate with miners of the RSPT? Continue his scare campaign of the possibility of Tony Abbott as PM? What can he do to get the polls back under control?

Here’s what the pundits are saying:

The Australian

George Megalogenis: Party needs to heed lessons of history

For Rudd to repeat the history of 1998, he needs to forget about the Greens. If he follows them to the Left, he risks making Abbott appear the safer option.

Peter van Onselen and Matthew Franklin: Kevin Rudd’s tilt to Left risks ALP voter base

As Labor reeled from two more bad opinion polls showing it well behind the Coalition, party insiders warned that Labor’s real political peril lay in losing its right-wing support base – moderates attracted to its social policies but nervous about higher taxes.

Peter van Onselen: Leader can’t save his bacon and the ALP’s

Kevin Rudd needs to choose between protecting his own brand and that of the government. He can’t do both because they are increasingly at cross-purposes.

Nick Dyrenfurth: A bit of Keatingesque passion needed

Finally, the PM could do well to learn from a Keatingism. As painful as present events are, this is the crisis Rudd had to have.

Sydney Morning Herald

Lenore Taylor: Rudd forced into a tricky manoeuvre with one leg in a cast

But most – although not all – in the Labor Party now agree that within those confinements Rudd has to somehow manage a climbdown that will require a lot more political dexterity than Labor has been showing lately.

Andrew Stevenson: Fickle voters desert Labor in search of greener pastures

The sudden, massive – and for Kevin Rudd, potentially catastrophic – departure of more than 1.1 million voters from Labor’s camp in only three months is anything but an overnight sensation. The power and reach of the two great political tribes has been in decline in Australia for four decades.

The Age

Michelle Grattan: You know something? Polls are crook

While the mining row is damaging Labor, some MPs blame the retreat on the emissions trading scheme and community concern over asylum seekers for much of the loss of support in the polls.

Michelle Grattan: Hitting Abbott may backfire

Rudd’s attack on Tony Abbott, though it was a crude tactic to deal with the situation, is instinctively right. He needs to sharpen the contrast, to get voters who are reacting against what they don’t like about Rudd, to consider whether they really want Abbott.

Tim Colebatch: You can’t call the election on what’s said in June

Beware the polls of June. Polling in June is a poor guide to who will win an election due at the end of the year.

The Daily Telegraph

Simon Benson: PM may end up dumped in a ditch

Kevin Rudd is in serious trouble. And it’s not the electorate he should be worried about.

It’s a cabal of powerbrokers and his own MPs.

Malcolm Farr: On-the-nose Rudd hits the panic button

A merciless collapse in voter satisfaction with his job as PM, and in support for the Government generally, has forced Mr Rudd to commit to what will amount to a high-intensity pre-election campaign.

The Courier Mail

Dennis Atkins: Ruddy lot of work needed from here as Kevin pulls his sleeves up and demonises Tony Abbott

Voters want Rudd to get back to doing what they believed they sent him to Canberra for – the trophy symbol for this was tackling climate change, now shunted into the distant future, trashing his credibility on the way.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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