15 Reasons Why Malcolm Turnbull Will Never Be PM
There is a national consensus that Malcolm Turnbull had a shocker last week, but dig below the surface and the story is even grimmer.
While a string of opinion polls have chronicled the fall in support for the Opposition leader, Essential Research has conducted detailed character research into the two leaders to find his leadership entering the terminal phase.
In 14 out of 15 categories, we find Kevin Rudd enjoying advantages on the positives and disadvantages on the negatives. And the one category where Turnbull has a better rating - ‘demanding’ - may well be the one that bought him undone last week.
This list will make depressing reading for the Liberals, still licking their wounds from last week’s impersonation by their leader of a political suicide bomber.
The only solace I can offer the Tories is that you can’t blame Utegate for everything – Turnbull’s slide in popularity began early in the New Year when he began opposing the Government’s stimulus package.
In fact the hike in Turnbull’s disapproval this week from 49 to 58 per cent is mild in comparison to the hit he took in January when disapproval rose from 30 to 43 per cent, And it’s been growing ever since.
Indeed, the real story in this week’s poll is that Kevin Rudd has proven his leadership in both an economic and a political crisis and he is now established as a formidable leader, who plays to his strengths and deals with his public weaknesses.
Intelligence – Rudd 84, Turnbull 75. OK, we know they are both smart guys, although somehow it will stick in Turnbull’s craw that Rudd is seen as moreso. Then again dumb is as dumb does.
Hard-working – Rudd 83, Turnbull 68. As above, they are politicians and despite the prejudices in the press most people give them credit for putting in the hard yards. In Rudd’s case, it’s just that he has turned it into an elite sport.
Capable – Rudd 72, Turnbull 39. Here’s where things start coming undone for Malcolm. Since we last polled this indicator in September, Turnbull’s capability rating has fallen 21 points from a respectable 60 per cent. Of all the good things you can be bad at as national leader, capable is probably at the end of the queue.
Demanding – Rudd 67, Turnbull 62. While you would accuse neither of being happy go lucky types, Rudd has harnessed this negative into a virtue, he is always on the job for the nation. Turnbull, in contrast appeared sloppy last week and in dire need of a bit of rigour when it came to taking the counsel of Eric Abetz.
Arrogant – Rudd 46- Turnbull 69. The story here is that Turnbull has the ratings you usually only get from a PM entering his third term. Rudd’s rating is on the rise (up from 25 per cent last June), but way below Keatingesque levels. If the Libs are hoping for a repeat of that silver bullet they will be sorely disappointed.
Out of Touch With Ordinary People – Rudd 41, Turnbull 65. A key indicator in US politics, Turnbull is in dangerous territory here and shows how vulnerable he would be to Labor attacks on his business background should he make it to the next election.
Understands problems facing Australia – Rudd 67, Turnbull 48. This is a strong vote of confidence in the Government’s handling of the financial crisis, as Rudd was at pains to point out over the weekend, when he released this video claiming the real story last week was not Ute-Gate .
Visionary – Rudd 49, Turnbull 26. The only indicator where Rudd has had a real dip (down from 60 per cent in the last poll). I put this down to the slow progress on climate change, where the government has managed to totally confuse the Australian public to the extent that now ‘don’t know’ is the top response to questions about the way forward (more on this next week). As for Turnbull, if you don’t have positions, you can hardly have vision.
Superficial – Rudd 40, Turnbull 51. Another political KPI but Rudd still manages to hold it in check, while Turnbull is on the up and up.
Good in a crisis – Rudd 60, Turnbull 32. Rudd’s rating is improving as the evidence of Australian withstanding the worst of the GFC continues to mount, while Turnbull’s is in freefall. The sort of attribute that sits alongside Capability as a threshold issue for voters.
Narrow-minded – Rudd 32, Turnbull 51. I can’t help thinking that continuing to call defeat a glorious victory can’t be helping the Member for Wentworth.
Down to Earth – Rudd 56, Turnbull 25. You see, Kev, those appearances on Sunrise and Rove keep paying and paying and paying. Doubling an opponent’s positive is akin to a ten-goal win.
Too Inflexible – Rudd 32, Turnbull 47. And for evidence, go no further than last week. One player fleet of foot, the other led of foot,
Complacent – Rudd 28, Turnbull 38. A bit surprising that neither rated highly here, wonder what would have been the result if the attribute was ‘smug’?
More Honest Than Most Politicians – Rudd 47, Turnbull 16. The fifteenth, final and most damning indicator. Starting from the base that politicians are inherently dishonest, 50 per cent is an A+. In comparison Turnbull is in the dangerous territory where not even a majority of his own supporters believes what he says anymore.
So what does it all mean? Elections are not policy debates – they are tests of leaders’ character, their skill at managing agendas and their ability to connect with the electorate. If you are behind in a few categories you can play to your strengths, but when you are Malcolm Turnbull, today, you look in the mirror and realise you have no strengths to play to. End of story.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…