Our beloved Kevin Rudd is a human pogo stick
Anyone wondering why Kevin Rudd continues to defy political gravity could do well to consider the latest Essential Report that drills down into the issues of importance to Australian voters.
Like a human pogo stick, Rudd just keeps bouncing back: it doesn’t seem to matter what he’s hit with – global financial meltdown, environmental destruction, even an influx of asylum seekers.
No matter the political issue – and we have tested 13 of them – Rudd has the Opposition covered – even the traditional Liberal strong points of economic management and interest rates can not deliver Turnbull a win.
Here is the league table – which rates issue importance and asks which party is better at managing the issue (for more detailed figures you can download the full report at www.essentialmedia.com.au
For those of you wanting to make sense of these numbers (that includes you, Malcolm) I’ll go through them issue by issue;
Health – Kevin Rudd has spent a lot of time visiting hospitals in recent months on an issue where Labor dominates and the public is becoming increasingly concerned. Also looming as a useful vehicle for attacking unpopular state governments.
Economic Management – There has been a financial crisis and while the Liberals may cry ‘debt’, Australia continues to cheat recession. The significant number here is line ball on party performance. Left-of-centre parties matching the conservatives on this issue is something that just doesn’t happen, anywhere.
Education – The roll-out of truckloads of dollars into the school system appears to be cutting through, delivering a strong advantage on another area of traditional Labor strength.
Water – The futurists say this will be the battleground of 21st century warfare and it seems like its already on Australia’s radar. While the ETS dominates the national political headlines, the punters just want to know where the next drop is coming from.
Jobs - Labor’s frame for its economic management credentials is holding ground and will deliver strong results for Rudd as long as he continues to cheat the doomsday unemployment scenarios.
Taxation – Surprisingly high on the agenda, but I guess it affects us all every day.
Environment – Interesting that the broad issue of environment rates higher than climate change. Evidence, perhaps, that people like the idea of the environment rather than the complexity of saving it?
Interest Rates – Remember them? They used to dominate the political agenda and deliver Coalition leaders huge political dividends. Constant rate cuts to stimulate the economy have dragged the issue down the league table.
Housing Affordability – A defining issue for the Rudd Government in its early days and one that continues to deliver a strong advantage even as the market begins to pick up.
Climate Change – The world is ending right? Not if you are an Australian voter who seems to get more bamboozled by the debate as it gets louder. One point worth noting is that the Liberal counter-attack has slightly diminished Labor’s advantage in managing the issue from a 25 point lead back to 18 points
Security and the war on terrorism – attempts to whip up fear and loathing around a new people smuggling season have only shifted this issue marginally – more people think it’s important but it is not generating the hysteria of 2001. Keep trying, Wilson.
Political Leadership – A huge advantage to Labor but when it’s not a contest, there is no reason why it needs to be an issue.
Industrial Relations – Anyone remember the last election? It seems voters have done a lap of the goldfish bowl. (Then again, who remembers who toured for the cricket in 07-08?)
So what does it all mean?
If I were Kevin Rudd – I would look into the mirror and repeat three times ‘the only poll that matters is the one on election day” and then continue to do what I am doing – managing policy on merits and exploiting the divisions on the Liberal side.
If I were Malcolm Turnbull – I would be beefing up my economic credentials – and that means using the word ‘debt’ 100 times every day. It’s not a great argument, but it’s all he’s got.
In summary, (and I’m sure it’s a sin) - I would rather be Kevin Rudd.
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