Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is back on top in the media coverage stakes, just where he wants to be as he ratchets up campaign mode (we’re tipping an August 31 election, announced next Tuesday). He continues to smash the opposition for mentions; even with only half of the record coverage he received last week he still more than doubles Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

While Julia Gillard holds third place, her overall numbers have dropped by 35% since last week and will continue to slide — which just shows you how much the political conversation is dominated by those at the top. Fittingly, new Treasurer Chris Bowen is gradually ascending toward our top three, where history suggests he can expect to spend a fair deal of time, at least until election day.

Big movers this week include Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, up 23 places, in large part for having to convince the media she “gets on well” with Kevin. She’s tailed by former speaker Peter Slipper following news the government will cover his legal costs if he is left out of pocket defending proceedings by former staffer James Ashby. And for the first time we welcome to our measurement milestones the new Mental Health and Aged Care Minister Jacinta Collins, who will run with the heavy lifting reforms of her predecessor, Mark Butler, himself now central to selling the “it’s not a carbon tax anymore” message as Environment Minister.

Speaking of which, the media are starting to ask some far more detailed questions of the opposition on the “Direct Action” scheme, with shadow treasurer Joe Hockey admitting this morning that it would involve penalties for businesses that increase their emissions. Ahem, carbon tax, anyone?

Also of note as we arrive at the pointy end of the season is that aside from Slipper, a state premier and a solitary Green, political oxygen is going straight to the major parties with barely an independent in sight. And you can expect it to stay that way until we go the polls.

Crikey Political Index: July 11-17

iSentia Index

K-Rudd is dominating the media landscape, with favorable sentiment toward him on talkback almost matching that of Abbott.

Talkback top five

iSentia Index

Not as big as last week, but still huge social media numbers for Kevin.

Social media top five

iSentia Index

He wrote himself into Ashes folklore on debut — and outstripped all but two local pollies for media coverage.

Comparisons on media mentions

iSentia Index

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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