Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

The Smear O’ Meter

Posted by Possum Comitatus on September 20, 2007


There’s just nothing quite like a good smear. The latest addition to the Shock-O-Rama circus is the revelation that Rudd needed a valve change. If you stick your head out the window, I’m sure you’ll be able to smell the public outrage at Rudds deceptive omission hanging thick in the air.



But none-the-less, colourful characters across the land, not necessarily always bald ones at that, continue to ply their tawdry trade in the political zoo. So let’s break out the Smear O’ Meter and see how Rudd is going compared to Mark Latham, and what we can expect in the future.

Looking at Rudds performance on the Smear O’ Meter we see he started out strong. The Inexperience smear soon made way for the Association smear; “I saw Goody Rudd having dinner with the Devil, and the devil was wearing a Panama hat!”. Latham on the other hand, he just skipped the Association smear altogether – a different kettle of fish that bloke. But not to be outdone by previous Labor leaders, Rudd quickly followed by receiving a barrage of the Personal History smear with a quick chaser of the old Family smear. Now we’ve come to the next rung in the ladder of opprobrium – the Health smear.

That’s right good folk, Cardiac Kevin went to hospital.


He had a valve job.


He didn’t tell us!



Well, not quite. But that’s the meme, and as far as memes go that’s pretty tacky.

But if we look at the Smear O’ Meter, we can all see what comes next; the Sex smear.

Now that will be kind of awkward for everyone when you think about it 😉

This hint of rogering provides a nice segue way into something more serious – marginal seat polling, particularly the governments’ current position. It was only days ago we had Howard talking up the governments marginal seat polling to the fearful masses of the party room. “No” he said, “Our polling is good”. “We are still competitive in Eden Monaro” he said, or words to the effect.

There’s nothing quite like trying to shore up the gullible. Then along comes Morgan to burst the bubble (62/38 to ALP) with an Eden-Monaro analysis and today we have the ALP playing mischief by releasing UMR polling done on Monday night.

58/42 to the ALP on 2PP with an ALP primary of 51.

If the PM considers that to be competitive, things aren’t looking too good in Camp Conservative.

Not to be left out of the polling avalanche going on, Galaxy also has a Senate poll predicting that the minors will gain the balance of power. I’m not one for Senate polls myself, but some of you folk may find it interesting .

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19 Responses to “The Smear O’ Meter”

  1. Burgey said


    With Rudd having his little tax gaffe yesterday, I can’t believe the Tories followed up with this on the same day, unless Labor leaked it to divert attention from the tax gaffe.

    I suspect it wasn’the ALP though, as Oakes referred to it as an anti-Rudd source outside federal parliament, which means either Downer or Abbott on the steps of parliament house compared with inside the front door, or it was the state branch of the Libs, not federal.

    For what it’s worth, I can’t see this having a negative impact on Cardiac Kev. He walked Kokoda last year for god’s sake, which is a fair bit harder than an early morning stroll around the lake in Canberra.

  2. Lord D said

    Latham had far too much wrong with him, and could be easily smeared. Smears against Rudd are more likely to rebound.

  3. Guido said

    I agree with Burgey. This heart stuff was very good for Rudd on a day when his tax gaffe could have been far more damaging.

    Now people will concentrate on the heart smear, rather the self-inflicted wound of not knowing the tax rates. And Rudd will get sympathy from it.

    For opposition leaders such relative minor ‘slip ups’ are death. Remember Hewson and his birthday cake and here in Victoria the shadow treasurer not living in his electorate.

    People like Rudd, but he is still an unknown. People liked Beazley but the majority still did not vote for him.

  4. stevet said


    Shame on you! You completely forgot about the Scores Stripclub Shock! Horror! Ohmigod! Scandal.

  5. stevet said

    So Rudd has a heart problem? At least we know he has a heart which is more than I can say for some of those on the benches opposite.

  6. Aristotle said

    What the Govt is hoping for in Eden-Monaro, and I suspect in all their marginal seats, is the belief that polling reflecting which party you say you are going to vote for is misleading. They believe, when the names of the candidates are mentioned, the vote shifts in favour of the incumbent, by 6-8% according to Andrew Robb.

    So in Eden-Monaro’s case, if we take the 51/39 as correct, adjusting for the name of the candidate would lead to primaries of ALP 43-45 and L/NP 45-47. Assuming a 47/43 primary as the best result for Nairn, it gives him a TPP 51/49 and hence he wins the seat. It’s a stretch, a real stretch, but that’s what they believe, and that’s what they’re talking about when they say they are in front in all their marginals.

    3 things to point out:

    1, Andrew Robb, is still waiting for the bounce as a result of the Burke Affair, which was going to make Rudd un-electable. He is also the genius behind the 1996 campaign, where he is still convinced that every little thing they did that year was crucial to the outcome and without his brilliant strategy, it coud have resulted in an ALP win. They polled 2000 people every night of that election campaign, every bloody night, can you believe it? All published polling shows, that election was lost the moment John Howard came to the leadership. And we all forget what a buffoon he was, what mistakes and gaffes he made, continuously, but it wasn’t relevant, except to the political industry.

    2, when you start making adjustments to polling data like that, you may as well call yourself Nostradamus.

    3, I live in Eden-Monaro, and I don’t know anyone who gives a rats about Gary Nairn, but they are very excited about Mike Kelly, that’s for sure.

  7. Adrian of Nowra said

    This heart stuff was very good for Rudd on a day when his tax gaffe could have been far more damaging.

    Nah not really, as Costello had just made a large mistake on the amount of tax cuts he gave in the last budget, and it turns out Howard early in this term made a gaff on the amount one of the lower tax brackets comes in. I’m sure Labor were just waiting to roll out these gaffs even though the media were only running with Rudd’s.

  8. passthepopcorn said

    just a passing thought: if rudd received a mechanical mitral valve (as opposed to a tissue valve), he’d be on ratsak (aka warfarin)for the rest of his life. maybe that’s his secret weapon against howard.

  9. Rex said

    As soon as I heard the “Rudd’s had heart surgery” stuff, and how it came from “anti-Labor sources”,I thought gosh how stupid is that, it will only get him sympathy votes! All the polls so far this year have shown that the (wide variety of) anti-Rudd “smears” haven’t worked for the coalition, and hence they need to seriously re-think the negative strategy because voters are obviously turned off by it and not responding. (You could argue that the strategy is just aimed at voters “at the bottom end of the bell curve” in intelligence, but such voters can probably grasp the simple concept of a government desperate to stay in power, also.)

  10. J-D said

    Aristotle, I’ll be visiting friends in Queanbeyan soon. Is your report of attitudes to the Eden-Monaro candidates based on Queanbeyan or other parts of the electorate?

  11. lurker said

    So where would you place this Heiner affair stuff that Barnaby Joyce has been trying to rake up all week?

  12. canberra boy said

    Possum, thanks for drawing attention to the new polling. The Oz doesn’t give any info on the sample size for Labor’s Eden-Monaro poll, but I’d guess it to be 400 or 600-odd voters for a one-night poll, with an error margin of just under 5% and just under 4% respectively (on the 2pp estimate). Allowing for the error margins, its a result that’s pretty consistent with the Morgan figures gleaned over about 8 months up to mid-year.

    The thing that I like best of all about this poll is the figures for ‘better team’ and ‘more divided team’. The Libs have been running hard for about a week on ‘team’, I guess mainly to overcome their leadership problem, but the Galaxy results suggest that it is not a positive point of differentiation for them. That leaves me with two possible conclusions: the Liberal campaign is being run by dolts and dunderheads, or alternatively that they are armed with better information which shows that a narrower segment of the population (swinging voters generally or those in marginal seats) do see the Howard team as better. [I know, I know, the next comment is going to point out that they may have better info and be dolts and dunderheads.]

  13. Enemy Combatant said

    Dig the Smear-O-Meter. Why didn’t Mackerras think of that?

    If one pauses for a moment to absorb the heart smear, tactically it was a mistake.
    The central role that the human heart plays in our physiology, and more importantly our psyche, makes it a nebulous target for negative propaganda purposes. This goes way beyond notions of mechanical cardiac defect. Any voter with a blemish let alone a health problem is going to feel uneasy about this anonymous smear and “show a little heart” towards the person being attacked. It is a very human thing, in the coolness of reflection, to empathise with the target of such intimidation. Perhaps even more so on a primal/subconscious level.

    Seems to be the scuttlebutt of the Exclusive Swiftboater Bretheren. These swine are oblivious to common human decency. First they take the money. Then they trawl the dirty river deep within their very own Hearts of Darkness.

  14. CJ said

    Kevlar Kev has withstood all manner of mudpie making from the Man of Smear and his bovver boys. Not only has it not dented his popularity it has improved it. People are awake to the fact that the government have nothing positive to say about themselves so fill the void by saying negative things about Labor.

  15. Avidwatcher said

    Laurie Oakes had already interviewed Rudd in the morning..before he had the tax question put to him. It was at the same time as Nairn’s chief of staff was being quoted on ABC AM program with his stupid Nazi comment towards Col. Kelly. It had to be the libs trying to move the focus off Nairn’s donkey.

    As for 6-8% personal vote in the marginals I think that is a huge ask…the question is do you want rudd or howard? Having a good local candidate is essential but there aren’t many idependants gracing the green carpet… majority of people voting on leader/party.

    Howard thought he was the liberals strength – now he is their Achilles heel..bring on the election.

  16. steve said

    Why people in glass houses…


  17. Charles said

    The Liberals are clearly not after my vote, after this lot of rubbish I’m thinking about volunteering to hand out how to vote cards for Labor, last time I did that was 20 years ago for the Liberals. The Liberals really have become an absolute embarrassment.

  18. Iain said

    Aah… Now the Liberal Party dirt unit, blogging subsection, has commenced smearing Eden-Monaro candidate Col. Michael kelly as “not having put his arse on the line like a real digger…” etc. etc. [That’s on Bolt’s blog, though I won’t befoul Possum’s lovely site with a hyperlink to it]. I think I’m channelling Dubya somehow, because I’m really beginning to see this election as a struggle between ‘good’ and ‘evil’. 🙂

  19. Northern Observer said

    To lurker — September 20, 2007, The Heiner affair is yet another beat up conspiracy story. Even ex National party premier Rob Borbidge today said as much in this Australian article; http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22455194-5006786,00.html

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