You know things are bad for a political party when they are happy with only being 16 points behind in the polls.
After the week the Libs had, they must have been worried things would start to get silly in the Newspoll - 60-40 was looking realistic, 62-38 a possibility.
As it is, 58-42 is just horrible. Historically horrible. No chance in any election horrible.
In the last 4 Newspolls have given the ALP on two party preferred terms, 59%, 54%, 58% and 58%. When a result of 54% looks the odd one out, you know you're in big trouble if you're sailing on the good ship LNP. The iceberg has been hit, the life jackets are in short supply, and that shifty first mate next to the lifeboat doesn't look like he's all that keen on making sure everyone gets off safely.
The last couple of days in Question Time have been pretty childish. What with Joe Hockey trying his super-over-the-top-best to rattle Wayne Swan, Christopher Pyne trying to show off that he had spent the whole of last weekend swotting up on the Standing Orders, and Peter Dutton trying to show that he was the one who should have been opposition manager of business and not Pyne, it was all a bit try-hardy from the LNP side.
On the Government side, Julia Gillard baited Pyne by calling him a poodle in comparison to the pit bull of Tony Abbott.
This morning Abbott responded by calling Kevin Rudd a "toxic bore".
No doubt next someone will accuse the other of having cooties.
Tony Abbott's response was a bit odd really; I'm not sure if something can be both boring and toxic. Has any one ever said - "Oh look, don't touch that chemical solution, it's highly toxic"; and been given a response of "Toxic, oh how boring." Surely toxicity is inversely proportional to levels of boredom.
Perhaps Abbott just delights in oxymorons. Given his love of Workchoices you have to assume he does.
But who cares, I says. Kevin Rudd knows he's boring and he doesn't give a stuff - in fact he'll probably bore you while telling you why he doesn't give a stuff. When you can point to a satisfaction rating of 66%, do you think he would be worrying about his image?
What the Libs don't get is that he is like John Howard. And no not as in John Howard-lite; I mean that in the same way ALP supporters just did not understand how Howard could be popular, and how anyone could ever vote for him, so now Liberals don't get Rudd's popularity - they are sure this is just some long honeymoon that will blow over soon.
They've been thinking that for well over two years now...
To be honest, I don't understand Kevin Rudd's popularity either, but I know it isn't a short term romance. The Australian public are not a fickle bunch - they are into political monogamy. They don't divorce easily, and once they do, they don't sleep around, they commit again - for better or worse.
At the moment Rudd leads Turnbull as preferred PM 64%-20%. Essential Research released a poll on Monday which had the figure at a remarkably similar 60%-20%. They also asked who did voters prefer as PM - Rudd or Peter Costello. The result was Rudd ahead 62%-21%.
So no salvation there for the Libs either; and the sooner they all realise it, the better for them.
I didn't get to see much of today's QT, but I did get to see the first few questions from Turnbull to Rudd.
They were pathetic.
One of his questions quoted Wayne Swan saying that some of the pink bats that would be used in the Government's insulation rebate would likely be imported. Turnbull wanted to know if the 90,000 jobs the Government said were going to be supported by the stimulus were including overseas ones.
It was a very dumb question because the premise behind it is that buying imports is bad for our economy (which I'm sure the companies who sell imported products in Australia, and the people employed in those companies, would be a tad surprised to hear), it also implies that Turnbull logically believes that there should be some protectionist measures connected with the stimulus package; which is all the more odd given Australia's huge dependence on free trade, and the general dismay at the protectionist noises being made by Obama recently.
The question in effect reduces Turnbull's competency on macroeconomic policy to Year 10 levels - and a C Minus Year 10 student at that.
The Libs then spent the rest of QT trying to get Rudd or Swan to tell them where is a job that has been created by the stimulus packages. It's all rather odd given the Lib's penchant for ignoring any stats to do with Workchoices before the 2007 election, that suddenly now they want proof of job creation.
But still, as Rudd or Swan could point to a job that has been created by the stimulus package that hasn't even gone out yet - and December is also a short time ago economic data wise.
If the Libs think this will win them points, they are going to be sadly mistaken. The voters may think the package isn't working as well as Rudd would like, but can any of you think of one thing the Libs have said they would do? Anything? Just one thing? C'mon try harder...
Nope. They may have said something, but the message isn't getting through. All I know is they proposed something that cost about $15billion (I think???), but I could not tell you one thing about it. - And I'm a politics junky!
So here's the lesson for the Liberal Party: start coming up with something for the Australian public to think is better, because just criticising the Government ain't gonna do it. Until they realise this, they'll be stuck in the lower 40s.
Though the really scary news for the Libs is that given Rudd's popularity even this might not help.
So get used to opposition, and start clearing out the dead wood. I seriously doubt the next Liberal Party PM is on the opposition front bench at the moment - heck, he (or she) might not even be in parliament yet.