So the Liberal Party has taken the lead for the first time since 2006 in the Newspoll.
This is a big shift – given that the last Newspoll had the ALP in front 54-46. Such a fall is almost cause to make one think it is a bit of an outlier, but to be honest, given the week the ALP had in dumping the ETS, the fall is not totally surprising (though I am surprised they fell so far).
The fall is based mainly on a fall in Kevin Rudd’s popularity. I’ll give this a closer look when all the figures come out in The Oz tomorrow, but the Preferred PM score is Rudd 50% (down 6%) Abbott 32%.
Back in mid 2008 I wrote that so long as Rudd stays above 50% on Preferred PM and the opposition leader can’t get above 35% the election will be a rout. I still agree, but Abbott is getting very close to that margin.
Given the Budget comes out next week, had the ALP kept the lead on this poll, it would have disappeared. But this is a big change, and will cause a big scare to the ALP. They are still the favourite to win (and I still can’t see them losing – this is just one poll), but it certainly shows that the public are not buying the argument that the ALP was justified in dumping the ETS. Also the dumping of the 260 childcare centres and the scrapping of the insulation scheme all in one week meant (as Possum wrote) if the Libs were ever going to be in front it was to be this week.
The political landscape has suddenly got very interesting – even if it doesn’t hold up. This poll will be interesting if only to see how the ALP reacts.
It also shows that despite complete lunacy in terms of policies from Abbott – eg the no dole for Under 30s – the people are mostly watching and judging the Government.
During an actual election the heat goes equally on both parties, but for now it is up to the Government to prove its worth, and this poll shows that in the last two weeks at least, the voters got a bit annoyed with them.