THE interactive functionality of the original Newspoll graph cannot be replicated in this image but hovering over the point at which Anthony Albanese’s support begins to decline anew shows it was 13 March – the date of the Opposition Leader’s big reveal on 60 Minutes and the beginning of his pre-campaign campaign. The first time Australians really thought about him as a potential prime minister, their first read was negative. The date on which his popularity starts to decline at a yet steeper gradient is 10 April. That was the day of Albanese’s unemployment rate gaffe – which may go down in election chronicles as the worst contender’s blunder since economics professor John Hewson was ambushed by a birthday cake in 1993.
Funnily enough, I think the 1940s-looking Albo of old would have polled more solidly as preferred prime minister – especially if that stoutness of demeanor was combined with a certain degree of enigmatic aloofness. ‘To know me is to love me’ was a memorable lyric for Mac Davis but it doesn’t always work as a political strategy. Today’s 2PP split of 53-47 is not great news for the government. More worrying, the combined popular support for the Coalition and Labor (36-35 to Labor) is the lowest level on record during an election campaign. The electorate is right: neither of the majors has served the best interests of this country over the last three years. The battle for the balance of power is now the red letter event in an otherwise tiresome contest.