Opposition leader Tony Abbott has this week reclaimed top spot on our media mentions leader board for the first time since May, buoyed by poll results suggesting the honeymoon period for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s return to power is over. That, along with headlines generated by the “s-x appeal” gaffe which both vilified and humanised Abbott in different parts of the media, his paid parental leave scheme, and his comments to John Laws about same-s-x marriage, have put the challenger back in the box seat as the federal election looms.

K-Rudd’s dwindling coverage (down 20% on last week) includes plenty of negative reporting, predominantly along “he hasn’t changed” lines. Case in point: media suggestions that Rudd’s plan to introduce a lower company tax rate in the Northern Territory was never discussed with cabinet and had all the hallmarks of the Rudd it sacked in 2010; and more generally, reports of a communication breakdown between ALP campaign central in Melbourne and Rudd out on the stump. This, along with coverage about the switch to negative advertising against Abbott, saw an about face in some of the optimism reported up until the first televised leader’s debate.

With the economy a central election plank, the treasurer’s debate on ABC TV’s Q&A saw Chris Bowen and Joe Hockey remain in the mix this week. Other movers include Peter Slipper, who announced he’ll re-contest the seat of Fisher; Foreign Minister Bob Carr over the crisis in Egypt; Scott Morrison announcing the Coalition’s new hardline asylum policy; and Green Sarah Hanson-Young in danger of losing her seat after preference flows were released. And, for once, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman well down our top 20.

Crikey Political Index: August 15-21

A clean sweep for Abbott this week, puts him out in front on talkback radio and social media, as well as all mainstream media mentions.

Talkback top five

Abbott’s same-s-x marriage comments drove a flurry of social media activity this week — using our BuzzNumbers social media listening platform, we analysed the conversations surrounding the issue and found 50% of conversations were in favour of same-s-x marriage, 40% neutral (including news headlines and retweets) and 10% against.

Social media top five

Vale Chris Lane, the Melbourne baseballer senselessly shot dead while jogging in Oklahoma.

Comparisons on media mentions

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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