Dislike of Scott Morrison remains the dominant factor in this election campaign

And of course it is possible, in the way that anything is possible.


There is a divergence between the major parties on the general impact of Morrison’s latter-day conversion. In NSW, Liberals familiar with the latest polling report a narrowing, particularly in seats where housing affordability is a big issue.

Labor does not dispute a tightening in some seats, but insists its polling shows the Coalition’s housing /superannuation policy, coming six days out from the election, has been cynically received by voters in three key seats in three states, Victoria, NSW and Western Australia . They fear being left poor in retirement, that it would push up prices, and will do little to resolve affordability issues.

NSW Liberals were not claiming to be ahead, but they reported there had been some improvement in seats like Bennelong, Robertson, Page, Banks and Hughes, that they were just ahead in Gilmore, there were signs of movement in the Labor seats of Parramatta, Macquarie, Dobell and around the Hunter, and they have begun putting more resources into Eden Monaro.

According to Labor, Morrison got little or no bounce out of his launch, Bennelong still looks gettable, and as well as Chisholm and Higgins, Deakin has come into play, partly because of the stronger anti-Morrison sentiment in Victoria, and partly because of concerns over historical branch-stacking and bullying accusations against Michael Sukkar.

Meanwhile, polling by the independents in the inner-urban Liberal seats they are challenging shows climate change is still the number one issue, followed by integrity or the economy. In every one of those seats Morrison is a potential vote loser, particularly in Goldstein where his net negative is minus 23.9.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and independent Kooyong candidate Monique Ryan (left).

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and independent Kooyong candidate Monique Ryan (left). Credit:Luis Ascui

Conversely, all the publicity about Josh Frydenberg losing Kooyong appears to have driven Liberals back to him – not because they have stopped loathing Morrison but because they do not want to destroy the party’s future. Liberals were confident Frydenberg would win, but according to one the Coalition would not pick up a single seat in Victoria.

Liberals in the teal seats have had a terrible time trying to convince people that a vote for them is not a vote for Morrison, leading one MP on pre-poll duty, where there is a desperate shortage of volunteers, to graphically describe the task as the “real mind-f—“.

There has never been such an orchestrated disavowal of a leader by a party and its members as there has of Morrison in this campaign.


The only photos seen of Liberal candidates with Morrison have been put around by their opponents.

Overall, Labor believes it is better positioned this week than last week – which was better than the week before, partly thanks to their leader’s improved performance – but will not breathe out until vote counting finishes on Saturday night. That is sensible. The Resolve Strategic poll for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald was the first to show the inevitable narrowing of the gap.

Anthony Albanese fronted the National Press Club on Wednesday to make his final set-piece pitch. It has always been a vital part of every election, as much about the questions as it is the leader’s ability to handle them and to reach beyond them to the tens of thousands watching.

Albanese was solid, neither stumbling nor soaring. He would not have frightened off a single voter and might have even swung a few his way from him.

Morrison reached for a knife and sliced ​​off his nose to become the first leader in more than 50 years to spurn that platform. A strange unit for sure.

On one issue Liberal and Labor strategists are agreed: dislike of Morrison remains the dominant factor in the campaign.

The antipathy to Morrison is so embedded Labor is banking on it having the power to surmount any lingering doubts about Albanese, unless he stumbles between now and Saturday.

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