Ignore all the hype about Twitter and Facebook and Google Hangouts. Forget about the PM's cosy chats with "mummy bloggers". When the official election campaign begins in mid-August, the nightly news will still be the key battleground for the two major political parties.

"Despite all the talk of the 24-hour news cycle, everyone in the campaign will be sitting down at 6 o'clock to see who 'won' the night," veteran Labor campaigner Bruce Hawker told The Power Index. "That is still the number one priority of the election campaign ... During the campaign, pollsters usually poll after the 6 o'clock news and you'll see reflected in polling how we and our opponents went on the news that night. If there is a bad story for us, our polling will drop."