Abbott’s battles back, but will he make it?

Abbott has two big challenges right now. One is to settle his party, organisational and political, down and the other is to cream Labor in the polls.

On the latter it was one step forward with a long way to go. Morgan saw the LNP improve from 43-57 to 44-56. Still in wipe-out territory. The only demographic were the LNP heads Labor in the TPP vote is the 65+ group.

In Newspoll the LNP improved from 43-57 to 47-53, a difference worth writing about. Nevertheless it leaves Labor with a comfortable winning position.

The Greens were unchanged at 12 per cent.

The papers are making much of Bill Shorten’s net approval rating, which dipped from +2 to -14. Abbott’s ‘improved’ from -44 to -43.

Shorten still heads Abbott as preferred prime minister 43 to 35, with Abbott closing from a hopeless 48 to 30 thumping last time.

In personality terms Abbott is a shocker. The Abbott-Shorten scores are:

    Understands the major issues 52-68

    Cares for people 55-71

    Arrogant 77-46

    Likeable 40-64

    In touch with voters 33-63

    Trustworthy 43-59

They were remarkably similar on Experienced, Decisive and strong and Vision for Australia.

On handling issues they stack up Abbott-Shorten as follows:

Australia’s economy 45-37

National security 51-31

Health and Medicare 30-56

Education 33-53

Asylum seekers 51-32

Climate change 24-55

With that one the scores should add up to 100, with the shortfall made up of Neither and Uncommitted. These totalled from 14 to 21%.

Politically Abbott is playing to his strength with his ‘war on terror’ which I hope to post on soon.

It is possible to battle back from a desperately losing position, as Howard did in 2001, largely on the back of a war on asylum seekers.

He did have his party behind him.

True, after the liberals had lost the blue ribbon seat of Ryan in a by-election and party president Shane Stone sent him a memo accusing the government of being “mean and tricky”. Essentially Howard took notice.

The “mean and tricky” leak is now being compared to Fairfax’s publication of excerpts from two candid and blunt emails from party treasurer Phil Higginson. RN’s PM reporter James Glenday:

it’s now obvious the Prime Minister’s grasp on power is being actively undermined by a steady stream of leaks.


Plainly there is this desire on the part of some to damage and destroy this government.

But who? The Drum looks at the leaks that rocked Australian politics politics. All were damaging and the leakers were never discovered. Could be one of the seven ministers who are said to have Abbott on notice.

Guy Rundle in a delicious (for lefties) article at Crikey (paywalled, unfortunately) says we are we are watching the throes of a dying government:

Like Howard in 2007, Abbott is politically dead — he just doesn’t seem to have noticed yet.

How good is this? Seriously, how good is it? I know I should start a piece about the Abbott government in some more serious vein, about the new stuff about redrawing the line between security and freedom being the desperate act of a dying government but no less dangerous for that, but ehhhh …


3 thoughts on “Abbott’s battles back, but will he make it?”

  1. Yesterday’s demonstration of Good government from George Brandis was right up there – creating the impression that he might have attempted to induce a statutory officer to resign her position.

  2. It is worth noting that the lesson from both the Qld and Vic elections was that polls that assumed preference splits would be the same as they were at the last election got it badly wrong. In both cases the preferences split swung badly against the LNP.
    It is worth noting that Beazley played the small target against Howard and, in this case it didn’t work. It didn’t help that what Beazley did say tended to be light weight waffle.

  3. One of Rundle’s points is that in everything Abbott does, he gets it wrong. The latest is on foreign investors buying houses where the property industry says the scheme will backfire.

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