Posted by Possum Comitatus on October 14, 2007
Yes, it’s true – it really has been called.Six weeks of bliss for the pollyjunkies, 6 weeks of inconvenience and predatory baby kissing for everyone else.
The timing couldn’t have been worse – with the Sun Herald/Taverner poll showing a creaming in NSW and Melbourne today, Galaxy out tomorrow apparently not looking too crash hot either, followed by Newspoll Tuesday.
If Newspoll is the same or worse than last fortnights result, that will make it three bad polls for the Coalition on the first three days of the campaign.
That would kill any Claytons momentum that Howard might have reckoned he’d generated from the reconciliation backflip. But worse than that, the overall message from the first three days of the campaign that most politically disengaged voter’s will see will be “Howard on a Hiding to Nothing”.
Considering the widespread negative views on Workchoices in the community (which the Taverner poll today touches on), Howard must be praying that the punters reaction to that initial message isn’t “Good, he deserves it”.
There’s also a longer term problem with three bad polls starting off the campaign in that it will also define to a large extent the prism though which the media narrative forms. The problem with these types of narratives is that they generate their own inertia – once formed, you need a fairly sizeable exogenous shock to change it. Being seen as an underdog is one thing, but when you are seen as so far behind, every Coalition attempt to generate that exogenous shock that’s needed to change the narrative and generate momentum risks being looked upon as desperation. That desperation then flows through to reinforce the original narrative that you are heading for a creaming.
This is exactly what happened to Latham in the final half of the 2004 campaign. The more things he did to grab attention, like sign 15ft cardboard pledges to try and break the narrative, the more desperate he looked, which reinforced the fact that he was getting creamed.
Crosby/Textor are right in the way they place importance on the power of “Win expectations” (or rather the way their survey respondents place that focus on ‘Win Expectations’). When politicians describe themselves as the underdog in an election, its not because they actually believe that being an underdog is important – far, far from it. The reason they say it is simply to dampen any perceptions of arrogance. Arrogance kills, but punters like winners. That’s the fine line of political balance that political parties have to walk. You won’t find a political leader in the country that wouldn’t want to be heading into an election with a majority of the electorate thinking they will win.
On Another Matter.
Starting from Monday, I’ll be blogging over at Crikey as well as here over the election, so things will work a little differently over the campaign. The posts that go up at Crikey on their Election 07 site will appear here as the headline and the first few lines of the post. There will be a link that you can click on that will take you through to the Crikey blog where you can then read and interact with that article (fear not, it’s in the free part) .So while you’re hanging out at Crikey, click around and enjoy the fruits of political chaos on offer.
After a few days or so, the full text of that Crikey article will then be re-published here under its original heading. The plan is to have two to three posts a day being the norm for the campaign.
As always, your commentary will be important both here and at Crikey, the info and insights (not to mention the cracking one liners) you lot bring to the table in the comments section make this blog, and provide unlimited ammo for further articles.
As an aside, did anyone watch Insiders this morning? The whole commentary read like an overview of the last weeks worth of content at here and Pollbludger. Yet again, the bloggers and our community of participants are leading the analysis. If they want us to write their scripts for them, they only have to ask politely.
And let’s face it, we’re much better looking than the jouno’s 😉