Campaign reading: the bad polls for Labor keep coming. As the bad opinion polls keep coming for Labor, Dennis Shanahan in The Australian comes close to declaring the contest over in "Presidential campaign bet backfires"
"Labor's election strategy of using the 'popular' Kevin Rudd against the 'unpopular' Tony Abbott in a presidential-style campaign has failed. The Prime Minister is going backwards and so is the boost Labor got from dumping Julia Gillard as Labor leader."
In the light of the accompanying Newspoll showing Labor's two-party preferred vote down to 46%, it is hard to disagree with that assessment. Another feature of the Newspoll is increased support for minor parties and independents -- running at 10% compared with 6.6% back at the 2010 election. With the Greens apparently down a couple of percentage points that makes competition for the final Senate seat in each state more of a lottery than normal. Tim Colebatch in the Fairfax papers points to one possibility --"Hanson could win on back of right-wing preferences". "Neither party's policy offers a real solution" -- Michael Gordon of Fairfax compares boat people policies and concludes that if you are among the 30,000 asylum seekers who arrived between August 13 last year, when ex-PMJulia Gillard introduced the ''no advantage'' principle, and July 19 this year, when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the PNG solution, your prospects are bleak whoever wins. In the Age's "Rudd's running out of time and needs to do a Keating" Michel Gordon goes out on the trail with Labor pollie Anna Burke and finds many of those approached in the privacy of their homes nominated no particular issue of concern and gave the distinct impression that they are yet to tune into the election campaign, if they are to tune in at all. It's not just relevance to this election campaign that makes the Saturday Herald piece "The devil's in the detail of Treasury data" by Ross Gittins especially worth reading. It puts all those stories we keep seeing about future budget deficits into a helpful perspective by explaining what we should make of Treasury estimates. No attempt by the Murdoch business shrieker Terry McCrann to explain what that PEFO thing actually is and the failings built into it by the Liberal treasurer who enacted it into law. "Treasury fails itself and us" wailed Terry in the Sunday Herald Sun.

Doing the double act of writing politics for The Australian with your serious hat on and for the tabloids with a jaunty one is no easy task, as I well know, having done it for several years. Toss in giving university lectures, regularly appearing on Sky television and being an inveterate tweeter and you have to think that Peter van Onselen runs on the same kind of batteries as Kevin Rudd. From his Sunday Telegraph column: