Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Thinking the Unthinkable

Posted by Possum Comitatus on September 2, 2007

Just a short, quick post.

I was reading around the usual pollyblogging and MSM political commentary today and there is this meme that anchors nearly every discussion about how the polls are panning out; Come the election campaign, the polls will narrow and the ultimate winner of the election will enjoy a 52-48, or a 51-49 victory.

“The Narrowing” may well turn out to be the case.

But let me be contrarian for a second and ask; “what happens if Rudd actually wins the campaign itself?”


32 Responses to “Thinking the Unthinkable”

  1. Dinsdale Piranha said

    Precisely. Howard has actually only won one campaign during his time in government: 2004. In 1998 the coalition hemorrhaged 18 seats to Labor (only stemming the flow by winning 4 off independents). And in 2001 Beazley turned a thumping at the beginning of the campaign into a minor retreat. I read that at one point Labor was expecting to lose 30 seats.

    Howard is a poor campaigner. Labor has headline policy announcements still to come. Labor also has about 100 million bucks in the bank ready to roll into TV advertising (none for Catherine King, I expect).

    What is this “narrowing” going to consist of? Why would it happen? What’s left for the government to jump up and down about?

  2. John Withheld said

    Clearly that could never happen, because . . . ah, well. Erm.

    Yes, good question.

  3. Greensborough Growler said

    Possum, your article about Howard’s Movement convinced me. The notion of a Liberal comeback is all, as the old song says, make believe.

  4. There still seems to be some myth of Howard’s invincibility out there. It seems that people are not prepared to entertain the idea that it is all over bar the shouting.

    The polls look absolutely devastating, they don’t appear to be moving, Kruddy seems able to deflect any and everything thrown at him (even the blithering idiot Garrett doesn’t seem to be hurting him).

    I think it is odds on that the final result will be further for Labor than the polls indicate. The contrarian hypothesis does not look out of order – it seems to be the best fit for the available data.

    Howard looks old and tired, Kruddy looks young and invigorated and non-threatening.

  5. bmwofoz said

    I think the only way Howard can win from now is if one of the following happens.

    1 – 17 Billion dollar worth of tax cut for all workers on less than $60,000
    2- A major Terror attack on Australian soil
    3- A major funding hole in the ALP policies
    4- An Interest rate cut
    5- The Govt slashes 17 Billion dollars at Health and Schools
    6- Howard resigns
    7- The unions dismiss ALP IR policy and say Howards is better
    8- Peace is decleared in Iraq
    9- Osama is caughted or killed
    10- Kevin Rudd runs a shocking campaign

  6. Alan H said

    Love the new real genuine brushtail possum. Much nicer than the American imposter.

  7. Fozzy said

    First the least serious – I preferred the old possum. Will he ever return? This one is a little too cute. The other one better suited the cut and thrust of politics.

    Now, to the substantial matter: I think my concern is not so much of the gap closing, but if (by some miracle) Howard gets over the line. If we thought we had an arrogant out of touch government now, what would it be like if he does win?

    Whilst others have suggested Howard is a poor campaigner and has not really done much good in many of the campaigns he’s contested. I think it’s important to keep in mind that this is one area where Rudd is yet to be tested. What happens if he implodes like Latham?

    Having given the nay-sayer’s view. I do hope that Rudd manages to improve the TPP lead. It will be a fitting end to the Howard years to see the re-writing of Liberal History that occurs if Howards loses the election, his seat, and the TPP margin goes further Labor’s way during the campaign. Maybe not quite the Mal Coulston of the Liberal party, but “great” and “leader” won’t be used in the same sentence too often.

    Here’s hoping …

  8. Enemy Combatant said

    “There still seems to be some myth of Howard’s invincibility out there.”

    Peter, there is a parrallel myth surrounding Bush43 in the US, but the only people buying it are “Bush’s Base” which is around 25% of those who vote. Bush’s current approval rating is a shameful 29%.
    Only Coalition die-hards believe that Howard has a realistic chance. Sure, World War 111 might ignite over Iran, Wall St. might slide spectacularly (maybe both?) but they appear to be longshots at best.

    A critical auger of Citizen Rupert’s organs since The Ruddster first shaped up, indcicates that the shifty old Fox is keen to NOT be seen backing a loser. Bad for News, bad for business.

    Since ’96, Rupe’s always been in Johnny’s corner when the campaign action hotted up. So has that seasoned second, Arthur Sinodinis. Not anymore. Rupert’s bets are hedged for Election 07. This will make it much harder for Howard to sustain an effective “Fear Campaign”, commonly the last desperate ploy of all uber-authoritarian leaders facing election defeat.

    BOXING; Chavez Caught By Age and Tszyu In Sixth Round. July 30, 2000.
    The “King”, Julio Cesar Chavez had never been dropped in over 100 professional fights till he was devastated by the Right hand of the new “King”, Kostya Tszyu.”

    And so it goes.

  9. Enemy Combatant said

    parallel, Sinodinos. *squirm*

  10. bryce said

    Possum, could you tell us what your new possum’s front page story says.

    I believe that Labor, barring a Tampa or 9/11 scale crisis, will very likely retain all (or most) of its current polling margin come election day.

    The Coalition does seem to improve its position in the final 8/12 weeks before an election (whether in govt or opposition) and this may happen again, but there are circumstances now which sets this election apart from others.

    After being elected as leader, Kevin Rudd’s honeymoon period just wouldn’t die. It was touted by the MSM as being over many times, but it never eventuated.
    By April/May this presented John Howard with a major problem – and winning the election was secondary. Howard’s continued leadership was now being discussed and, for someone driven to topple Menzies’ record, retaining the leadership was all that mattered. This had to be secured.

    It was at this stage that the future well-being of the Liberal Party and John Howard’s future were divergent.

    The parliamentary party had a problem.
    If Howard leads them to a devestating loss it could take a decade to recover from.
    If Costello became leader the Howard baggage could be offloaded and a new, fresh agenda set by the man who, as Treasurer, delivered unprecedented prosperity. The election may still be lost, but losses would very likely be reduced.
    They chose Howard.

    Leadership threat now out of the way, Howard had to give the troops something to cheer about and the phony campaign began.
    But Labor didn’t receive a scratch! And Labor, for their part, just continued right along talking policy and vision. And the polls largely stayed put with at least a 10 point lead to Labor.
    How infuriating.
    Howard then had no option but to continue to campaign strenuously from a long way out. He revisited Workchoices (after saying that no changes were necessary), became a Climate Change devotee, began a programme of pork-barrelling, ramp-up of Govt ads etc and to exquisitely demonstrate his anxiety, started to campaign hard in his own electorate (only been token in the past). Bear in mind that the election could be more than six months away!

    The campaign for the election this year has been going on for months – the public have sensed this and become focused – and it is for this reason that the current polls would reflect voting intention more akin to polls much closer to election day. Polls now show high numbers of “made up my mind” which is unusual this far out from the election.

    There will, of course, be ups and downs for both sides during the campaign proper, but Labor has ALREADY established itself as calm, competent, visionary and more than a match for anything the Coalition throws at it.

    This is so different from the opposition Howard faced in the last three campaigns.
    In 2007 Labor has gravitas.

  11. John Withheld said

    bryce, I think the headline on the front page the little fella is holding says “Polls Polls Polls”

  12. John Withheld said

    And the masthead head might be “The Daily Possum”

  13. Neil Cammack said

    So far I’ve tactfully refrained from pointing out that the former mascot was not even an American opossum but a gopher or groundhog. I can’t actually tell the difference between the latter two, but I understand they’re both rodents, whereas the American possum is a marsupial with a rat-like face.

    In a less trivial vein, I too am hoping that a big Labor win will have the effect of moving the Liberal Party back towards the centre and discrediting Howard’s one-eyed ideological assault on the public sector, especially in education and health. Of course, that will mean that the incoming Labor government will have to resist the temptation to accept the status quo in such areas.

  14. Gus said

    What is the ‘MSM’?

  15. Possum Comitatus said

    John got it right on the newspaper headlines and masthead.

    Gus, MSM=”mainstream media”.. The Oz, the Tele – that sort of thing.

  16. steve said


    If the margin between the TPP is above 10% when the Polls close for the 2007 Election, then despite the complexity of the issue, we will need to consider the Senate and how it will be composed.

    Any change in newly elected Senators will be deferred until the following year (July 2008 is when new Senators first sit) so a “status quo” will apply to the Senate and this could impact on the passage of new legislation. Any impasse of legislation could lead to a Double Dissolution, so the next year could be interesting.

  17. John Witheld said

    steve, the new Senators from the territories take their seats when parliament first sits.
    The ACT has two senators, usually one Lab, one Lib.

    It’s a longshot, but if Labour wins both, or the Greens win one, then the balance would shift a little.

  18. gus said

    Thanks Possum
    In the HIV/AIDS area MSM stands for Men who have Sex with Men, so I was very confused.

  19. Greensborough Growler said

    Given all the political correctness with regard to your possum logo, there are some further questions which you should consider.

    1. Is Possum actually a plural. Should not the correct spelling be Possa like with agenda/agendum, stadia/stadium and ma/mum.
    2. I’m sure there should be an apostrphe either before or after the s.

    An icons work is never done.

  20. Felix the Cassowary said

    Greensborough Growler, “Possum” in fact comes from a Native American word (Virginia Algonquian opossom according to Dictionary.com), so it would not pluralise like a classical Latin word.

    And proper nouns are permitted to skip the apostrophe. Think of the Princes Highway.

  21. Alan H said

    Greensborough G, the singular/plural in Latin are the other way round. ie One stadium, two stadia, one referendum, two referenda. Sorry to be a smart-a-se.

    Possum is what Banks called them, when he saw them with Captain Cook. He almost certainly knew the American animal, and left off the o at the beginning. I expect he figured out that they were marsupials, (the opossum is unique in that regard in the Americas), but he would have presumably seen the pouch, which is a giveaway.

    By the way, in Concord, in Sydney, the local council has put up signs asking motorists to look out for ‘opossums’. I wonder how they got loose.

  22. Possum Comitatus said

    Jesus Greeny,
    You’ve taken the piss and been rolled by pedants!

    Good work Felix and Alan 😈

  23. Greensborough Growler said

    Thank goodness there is a blogospehere. Otherwise they might be out interfering with furry cuddly creatures.

  24. Dare I say it, but the contrarian hypothesis now seems to fit even more of the <href=”http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22356737-601,00.html”available data

    (hope html works!)

  25. Dare I say it, but the contrarian hypothesis now seems to fit even more of the <a href=”http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22356737-601,00.html”available data

    (last attempt)

  26. swio said

    Please bring back the old Possum. He was the coolest logo in the Australian blogosphere. Or if he was a gopher or something make up another picture of a headset wearing, gun toting little Possum.

    I had to wear those damn headsets for years when I worked in a helpdesk. Watching the little guy looking like a revolutionary callcentre worker that’s been pushed too far always made me smile.

    On your major question, at this point I reckon Rudd is the clear favourite to “win the campaign”. He’s new and people just seem to like him. That’s only going to help as he gets his mug on TV more during the election campaign. The government has thrown the kitchen sink at him already and are back where they started. The odds of him having a meltdown seem pretty low as lets not forget he’s a former diplomat and he’ll have Latham’s example fresh in the mind. In fact I think we’re more likely to see a brain explosion from Howard if the result looks like rout close to election day.

  27. Evan said

    I agree with swio. The old Possum was cool and should be resurrected.

    I know he was a Yank, but you could always pop a Che Guevara beret on his noggin and make him a Revolutionary Opossum.

    That should annoy someone in Washington.

    BTW the latest 59/41 Newspoll looks uber-healthy for Labor
    and I’m looking forward to seeing your take on it (not to mention the conniptions that take may cause Anthony Green).

  28. […] gap actually appears to be widening, which makes Possum’s question a very pertinent one indeed. […]

  29. canberra boy said

    Edited by Possum. Spit it out CB 😉

    Peter Nicol – you need to close the hyperlink url by putting a > after the closing quotation marks, and then after the following text close off the html by putting in….

    ….sorry – to complete comment 29 – close off the html by putting in (with spaces removed) – given it was an html instruction it didn’t show up when I put it at the end of comment 29!

    ……..alright that didn’t work either – close off the html by putting (removing all the hyphens) after the text which will form the link.

    ………….Alright, I promise this is the last html lesson attempt – put (/a) at the end, using the pointy brackets rather than round ones!

    Ed. alternatively, just paste the link in without the fancy stuff.Works just as well 😉

  30. Neil Cammack said

    Pretty astute contrarianism, by the way Possum. I’m guessing that Howard won’t be looking forward to the TV debate, given how nervous he was when he went up against both Beazley and Latham – contests he invariably lost. Rudd will be even more dangerous.

  31. smokey said

    I’ve been wondering for a while about this supposed magic Rodent poll turnaround as soon as the election is called. Been true in the past, but why should it be this time? Nothing has worked, yet we’re to think simply by calling the election Howard will get a major move to him? Not sure if I buy that at all the way it’s been.

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