Don’t write him off just yet

John Kotsopoulos writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s campaign bites” (yesterday). I am not sure why Richard Farmer is so bearish about Labor’s chances. Essential has it 50/50, Morgan, which has the most thorough method  has 49/51 to the Libs after 0.5% lift in its first preferences, suggesting that the 54/46  Newspoll may be a rogue. An interesting development is the sudden rise in undecideds:

“Galaxy Research managing director David Briggs said the rise in undecided voters from 16 to 22 per cent was significant.

“‘The rising level of uncertainty could be a consequence of the Coalition being slow to release the detailed policy costings that would allow voters to better gauge their fiscal responsibility,” he said.”

On the score of financial credibility it is interesting that the Fin Review has hoed into the Libs big time especially in regard to the absurd parental leave rort. I reckon that when push comes to shove undecideds who are generally regarded as low-information consumers are likely to opt with the status quo. Couple this with the presence deal with Katter in Queensland, and Abbott is the one who has his work cut out.

Niall Clugston writes: Richard Farmer might be right in saying that Peter van Onselen is busy, but the stuff he’s putting out seems rushed, judging from the example given. The period of 1949-1966 was not “the entirety of Robert Menzies’ prime ministership”, as he was also PM from 1939 to 1941.  I’m sure this was also a deficit as war had broken out!

Hopping mad preference deals

Mark Riboldi writes: Re. “Poll Bludger: watch for WikiLeaks-led leakage in the Senate” (yesterday). Poll Bludger wrote yesterday that it is not “immediately obvious why something called the ‘Animal Justice Party’ would put the Greens in last place, as it has done in the Australian Capital Territory to the detriment of high-profile Greens candidate Simon Sheikh.”

That’s not entirely true. It’s all about the kangaroo culls in the ACT, which are seen as the “responsibility” of Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury. Recent action on the issue in response to animal activists was likely seen as too little too late.

And another thing …

Ava Hubble writes: A few years ago during Terry Lane’s ABC Radio program, In The National Interest, journalists covering the 2007  federal election bleated about being herded aboard campaign buses without being given any advance information by political handlers as to where they were headed or the day’s itinerary. So why, a listener called in to enquire, do members of our mainstream media behave like sheep? Little seems to have changed. Yesterday, on the ABC Radio’s The World Today program, during a segment about Tony Abbott’s recent allegedly s-xist remarks,  both the reporter travelling with Abbott and the show’s anchor seemed to accept, without challenge, that on the campaign trail follow-up questions are “ruled out” (see excerpt below):

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Well look, there hasn’t been a lot of reaction. I did try and follow up with a question with Tony Abbott on his comment there that Fiona Scott “isn’t just a pretty face”. But it’s quite often that these press conferences that each journalist gets one question, meaning that follow-up questions are completely ruled out.

But I suspect there might be some women out there … there might be a few responses to that comment as well as we did see last week.

ELEANOR HALL: That’s Samantha Hawley travelling with Tony Abbott …