Last week's half-successful bid to replace Malcolm Turnbull with Peter Dutton was everything its backers purport to despise: an ideologically driven project imposed on an unwilling public by out-of-touch elites.

The immediate cost has been measured in polls conducted over the weekend, notwithstanding that public opinion at the present moment of agitation is an obviously imperfect guide to what will happen at an election now sure to be some time away.