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Advantage but no honeymoon

By Graham Young - posted Monday, 28 June 2010


Can Julia Gillard rescue Labor's fortunes in time for the next election, despite the fact she was one of four key decision-makers in everything the federal government has done since 2007?

Just posing this question exposes the fundamental weakness in her position.

It is the question that many electors are asking, but it assumes that this palace coup is just a brand-repositioning exercise.

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Labor is damaged as a brand, and if voters think Gillard is just a front for keeping the heavies in beer money, then her brand will be damaged, too.

She can rescue Labor only if she convinces electors to ignore this question entirely, instead providing an answer to the question: "Who is Julia Gillard and what can she do for Australia"?

On Thursday we conducted a detailed online qualitative poll of 2099 opinion-leading Australians.

It is difficult to make quantitative predictions from such a sample, but so far, there has been no honeymoon for the new leader.

In fact, support for the Liberals as well as Labor has declined since we last polled in May.

The only ones to improve are the Greens, whose vote is at an all-time high.

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Other statistics are more promising for Labor. Gillard has a significantly higher net approval rating than Rudd or Abbott.

That suggests the change was worth making, although she only marginally improves on Rudd's preferred prime minister lead.

These sample-wide statistics can be misleading. Rudd was ahead in the national polls when he was rolled.

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First published in The Weekend Australian on June 26-27, 2010.



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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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