First, primary voting intentions are fairly consistent with previous polls and elections, for third parties. The vote for the Greens in particular, always spikes down come election time; outside elections, people are happy to say they support the Greens. Two possible readings (not incompatible):
- either people say what they think is right for polls, but at elections they have a panic attack and retreat to safe ground (despite the existence of preferential voting);
- or major parties benefit from Green leaners, and so should heed green issues more.
Conversely, people have got to know Brendan Nelson better as Opposition leader and are again polarising - but to his detriment: the more they know the less they like.
Preferred Prime Minister looks more or less stable. Those few who prefer Nelson are probably the remnant rusted-on conservatives.
"Best Liberal Leader" is hard to read. Peter Costello is now on the list, but is that because he wasn't given as an option in December? Costello took a swathe from each other option by April, but it can't necessarily be said that Turnbull, for example, is less liked.
"Best Liberal Party Team" is a waste of space. Some of the options for leader/deputy just wouldn't happen, considering the people involved.
"Better Treasurer" can be misleading. Our actual treasurer, Wayne Swan, has had a much smaller profile to date than his opposite number, Malcolm Turnbull. And the uncommitted vote is higher than for any other question listed.
However, it may be worth noting that in the significant(ly economically active) 35 to 49 age group, Swan is slightly ahead of Turnbull. That would be within the margin of error, but it would give some indication.
In general, the signs do suggest that Rudd is embedded as Prime Minister well past the next election. And that, come next election, he will be facing off against Turnbull rather than Nelson.
Ya gotta laugh. Malcolm Turnbull is simply unable to properly shake himself of that arrogance that is the death knell for a politician. Much worse, fundamentally, than Keating ever was (methinks Keating's ultimate arrogance was more a product of his success, whereas Turnbull's is the stuff of bedrock). Not the sort of thing that could ever get him voted into office.