17 August 2004

Latham wrestles back a poll lead

But the poll also shows Labor's primary vote has fallen for the third consecutive month, drifting down from 43 per cent in May to 39 per cent this month. Over the same period, the Coalition's primary vote has increased from 39 per cent to 42 per cent - although it dropped two percentage points this month from its July high of 44 per cent.

Underpinning Labor's rising two-party-preferred vote in the face of a falling primary support is the growing vote for the Greens and the strong flow of preferences to the ALP.

The Herald Poll shows support for Greens is now at 9 per cent - almost twice as high as the 5 per cent it attracted in the last election three years ago. It also shows a surprise 10 per cent surge in support for One Nation in Queensland, but Mr Stirton urged caution because of the small sample size of 300 in that state.

Mr Howard hinted yesterday that the election could be as far away as late November.

Although the two leaders are now level-pegging on their personal approval ratings, Mr Latham has not been able to topple Mr Howard as preferred prime minister all year. Mr Howard is still preferred by a margin of eight percentage points.

The gap between Labor's primary vote and their two party preferred vote is interesting. It's what happens to a party that persuades itself (for example) all those lovely religious right voters are just dying to vote Labor so the gay vote can get screwed because they have nowhere else have to go. It also opens a danger for Labor for the rest of the campaign.

I doubt that the Man of Steel is ever going to have much luck with scare campaigns again. The Scrafton evidence is just too damning. That will not stop him putting a lot of energy into finding a way to drive a wedge straight through the triangulation gap between the primaries and the preferences.

No comments: