No ‘knockout blow’ in election stoush

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

Despite gaffes and controversies, there has been no “knockout blow” in the 21 May federal election sparring so far, says a politics expert.

Monash University politics senior lecturer Dr Zareh Ghazarian says election polls seem to have been locked in for a comfortable Labor win for some months.

Labor’s two-party preferred polling hadn’t dipped below 53 since last year.

“It suggests there is not much volatility in the electorate and that people already made up their minds a while back – which is particularly troubling for the Government.”

The major parties still have ‘fairly unpopular leaders”, Dr Ghazarian said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s popularity has elevated slightly in the opening weeks, despite controversy around Warringah candidate Katherine Deves.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s isolation from the campaign due to Covid illness – after a first week dominated by his unemployment rate gaffe – was so far having little impact.

“Unless (the illness) had gone on a bit longer I can’t see it having an impact on Labor’s performance in the polls.

“Because it was in the second week, there’s still plenty of time for the Opposition leader to take part in the final weeks of the campaign.”

So far, the campaign themes followed a “fairly standard policy pattern”. The Coalition had hammered issues such as the economy and jobs, and the ALP also the economy, cost of living, health and education.

After a subdued Easter and Anzac Day period, Dr Ghazarian expects campaigning and advertising to be “frenzied” ahead of 9 May – when early voting centres open.

“I’d expect a lot of people to vote early like the last time around. “

In the meantime, voters can expect a barrage of campaign ads across TV, social media, print, and radio.

“This will be when the campaign budget will be largely spent, in that goal to attract as many voters as they can.

“It will focus on what the Government has done, and what it will do in the future.”