Voters feeling let down by Kevin 07’s great promise
As Kevin Rudd’s approval ratings slide in the polls many Australians are growing disillusioned with the Prime Minister and sceptical about his promises.
In a survey The Punch conducted in Sydney city last week testing public opinion of Kevin Rudd, many respondents dismissed him as “a typical politician.”
Respondents were asked to describe the Prime Minister in three words. Some of the descriptions offered have long been used to characterise him: “bland”, “boring”, and “intelligent”.
Others were surprising, but in their own way, spot on. Luke, 31, from Ryde, said he was like the “Milky Bar kid.” Kevin Rudd reminded Amelia, 19, from Surry Hills of a “big marshmallow man.”
But Tracey, 48, from Razorback summed up the views of many people who had grown disappointed with Kevin Rudd. Her three words to describe the Prime Minister were: “unfortunately becoming typical.”
Labor and Greens voters held this view most commonly.
Many were disappointed by Kevin Rudd’s decision to shelve the emissions trading scheme until 2013. But many respondents also said that climate change was not an issue that would sway their vote in this year’s federal election.
Chloe, 27, from Paddington, said she wasn’t bothered when the federal government shelved the ETS: “I don’t care. I care that [Kevin Rudd] said he’d do it, but backflipped on it. But I didn’t vote on it.”
She went on to describe Kevin Rudd as: “Ineffective. Weak. Populist.” She was planning to change her vote from Labor to the Liberal party in this year’s federal election.
Many respondents didn’t buy Kevin Rudd’s message that he shelved the ETS partly in response to the lack of international consensus on climate change action.
“He’s only doing it to protect his electoral prospects,” said Richard, 61, of Waitara.
Nicki, 40, from Vaucluse said: “It was political, tactical. But I’m not overly worried by it.”
Bryce, 38, of Rose Bay was more disappointed: “The man has no backbone. A complete lack of conviction.”
Asked what Kevin Rudd has done well since he was elected Prime Minister, many respondents cited decisions he made early in his term. His apology to Aborigines and the stolen generations in 2008 and his response to the global financial crisis were his most popular actions.
But some people believed his apology was meaningless: “It was only symbolic. [Aborigines are] still struggling as far as I’m aware. Words and just words,” said John, 56, from Leichhardt.
Ashley, 36 of Thornleigh said the apology in 2008 was an important symbolic gesture. “But it was not backed up with action. [Kevin Rudd] tends to go for symbolism rather than action.”
Many respondents had raised their hopes when Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister. Some had looked forward to action to help prevent climate change, and equality for same-sex couples. Now they felt let down on both.
The high expectations voters initially had for Kevin Rudd explain the disappointment many are now feeling with him, said Mike, 30, from Glebe. He said voters hoped for too much after the 2007 federal election and that it was inevitable they’d be let down on so many fronts.
“It’s like Obama. You expected a lot coming into the first term after the Howard years,” he said.
More than any policy or message the Prime Minister had, it was his manner that irritated many people. Kevin Rudd’s well-known mannerisms were beginning to grate on some respondents.
“I don’t like the way he speaks. I hate the way he keeps on using these Ruddisms like, ‘You know what?’ and ‘I tell you one thing!’” said Chris, 61, from Blaxland.
Julie, age withheld, from Darlinghurst agreed. “If he utters one more time ‘And you know something’, I might change my vote. It’s such a position of arrogance.”
Asked to describe Kevin Rudd in three words, Pat, 35, of Helensburgh offered two: “Working families.” He said the Prime Minister uses the phrase so much that he can’t help thinking of it when describing Kevin Rudd.
Mark, 49, from Rose Bay, said: “I don’t like his style. I voted for him, but I think he’s a hard man to like.”
Liberal voters were more likely to describe him as vain and egotistical.
“He’s trying to leave his own mark for his own vanity. He has all these big schemes,” said Luke, 31 of Ryde.
Most striking was that the people The Punch spoke to often found it difficult to describe Kevin Rudd.
The descriptions people gave of the Prime Minister often contradicted those given by others. Respondents gave opposite views on many points of Kevin Rudd’s personality: for some he was “boring” and “humble”, and for others he was “charismatic” and “egotistical”.
Some saw him as “sincere”, others as “deceptive”. He was both “down to earth” and a “dreamer” for Deborah, 46, from Darlinghurst. Toby, 32, of Leichhardt said he was both “funny” and “serious.”
Robert, 39, of St Ives said he was undecided about who he’d vote for this year. His description of Kevin Rudd was careful and considered: “Unknown. Unpredictable.”
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
@Drag0nista Can't see it bring re l 'ship Cos lots of Ruddites don't back gay marriage (Joel, Bowen) and lot of Gillardians do.
KRudd gives marriage equality folk hope, but odds still against it passing on June 6. http://t.co/QmQffMkSvH
ACL says gay marriage would lead to gay sex (how to do it) being taught in schools. You really haver to credit them with vivid imagination.
Welcome to your wombiverse. On orgasmic births and being so happy you could cry http://t.co/7JrbQSCV6j
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…