9 March 2004

ALP rides Latham to poll lead

It is the first time in Newspoll history that an Opposition leader has got more than 60 per cent support.

Even on the question of who would make the better prime minister, Mr Latham has broken Mr Howard's three-year stranglehold and is within lethal striking distance on 39 per cent, up seven points, compared with Mr Howard's 44 per cent, down four.

Labor's primary vote is now the highest it has been since the middle of 2001, totally eclipsing Kim Beazley's last six months of leadership and Simon Crean's entire term as leader of the Opposition.

...In the final Newspoll survey under Mr Crean, Labor was trailing the Coalition by six points, but now leads by three on the key primary vote.

Despite the Prime Minister's declaration to his Coalition colleagues last week that "politics is back to normal", Mr Latham's honeymoon has continued as leadership bickering has broken out within the Coalition.

If you turn to Newspoll's own site you'll find their simultaneous poll on issues and that has almost as much bad news for the coalition government. The issues on which the Coalition now leads Labor are:

  • taxation by 7%
  • immigration by 9%
  • defence by 23%
  • interest rates by 26%
  • inflation by 28%

I would love to know what a strong campaign on the security issues might do to the government's remaining issue leads. While Howard may see them as a strength I suspect they're a soft area because there have to be a lot of voters there with a long record of voting for the ALP.

I wonder if Latham is thinking about doing something to call those people home?

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