Interesting perspective from Gerard Henderson that many have massively exaggerated the significance of Labor’s leadership shenanigans and also Tony Abbott’s very ugly poll numbers..
Gerard Henderson is sometimes very good. This is one of those times.
The problem is not the ALP infighting over the leadership – such matters are irrelevant unless they impact on the party’s overall vote. It seems PM Gillard’s relative unpopularity is depressing the ALP vote somewhat. This is what is significant. It may change if PM Gillard can regain public confidence and trust. The Kennett factor in 1999 was a similar negative for the Coalition government in Victoria and it did not turn around.
Abbott is safe while the Coalition primary vote remains above 45% and the two-party vote above 52% which is a comfortable victory at a general election. His relative personal unpopularity is irrelvant because it is not impacting the party vote significantly.
Indeed, it is possible, probably likely, that a move to Turnbull would increase the leader’s vote but depress the party vote. This is what happened last time Turnbull was leader. He always lost to Rudd as preferred Prime Minister but had a high approval rating as Leader of the Opposition – people liked his non-negative opposing – it was a love fest in Canberra with Turnbull being a Ruddite without wearing the Rudd T-shirt. The Liberal vote remained in the same doldrums as it had under Brendan Nelson – a fake ALP is never as popular as the real ALP.