Heading in the Right Direction
Posted by Possum Comitatus on November 23, 2007
You might have noticed how over the last few days, Howard has really flicked the switch to the “heading in the right direction” slogan as his weapon of choice. This in itself says a fair bit about the problems the Coalition have had over the campaign. To get the gist of it, if we go back to the Crosby Textor OzTrack 33 document and look at the issue positioning chart (here it’s NSW because it has the Right/Wrong direction issue clearly marked):
If you look in the top right quadrant, you can see the “Right/Wrong Direction” issue sitting there. It’s a little box, representing a low confidence issue, or an issue that influences the vote, but is only a moderately weak issue in terms of how it resonated with the electorate as a key vote driver in the recent polling. (this document comes from June mind you).
Howard, by resorting to this “Right/Wrong Direction” issue is essentially abandoning the field when it comes to selling himself and his party to gain votes. It’s aimed squarely at saving the remaining votes he has in the more unsophisticated end of the electorate.
Likewise, to be using this issue without having any momentum behind him suggests that it is one of the few issues in that positioning chart that the Coalition still enjoys on their side of regression outcomes that has any resonance with the electorate at all. It suggests nearly all of the policy issues have been lost to the ALP, it suggests most of the meta-issues likewise have been lost to the ALP – and this is the issue that’s left.
The irony here is that it’s still probably a low confidence interval – and Howard seems to be just going through the motions trying to talk it up, hoping that it bites and becomes a high confidence issue. If it bites, it might stop a few voters from changing.
It basically says, “I’ve lost”.