Rudd rockets into league of political stars says the Sydney Morning Herald today.
KEVIN RUDD is the most popular opposition leader in the past 35 years and the first Labor leader in six years to be preferred over John Howard as prime minister.
In the first Herald/ACNielsen poll this year – and the first since Mr Rudd became Labor leader on December 4 – his approval rating is 65 per cent, the best for an opposition leader in the history of the poll.
It outstrips by one point Malcolm Fraser’s popularity in the months before he defeated the Whitlam Labor government in the 1975, post-dismissal election. And he is three points higher than Bob Hawke’s rating in March 1983, when he became Labor leader and toppled Mr Fraser.
Mr Rudd is leading Mr Howard as preferred prime minister by 48 per cent to 43 per cent, according to the poll of 1412 voters, taken from last Thursday to Saturday, at the end of the first parliamentary sitting week for the year.
This is all good, as far as I am concerned, and probably reflects something substantial in the shift of public opinion. I’ll reflect a bit more on this later on Journalspace where I am tending to put the Aussie election stuff rather than letting it take over this blog.
Mind you I am not totally partisan. For example, I think there really is a good case for Howard’s current move to take control of the nation’s water, even if I am suspicious of the way he has attempted to steamroller it through. (See Wombat’s Waffles on that for a different view from the rural sector, and see Jim Belshaw on Water, New States,… Federalism.) I also think there are very good reasons for the Commonwealth to take control of the hospital systems. On the other hand, their moves in the area of education worry me because the thrust of their education policy over the past few years seems to me, as you would know if you are a regular here, to be driven by some of the worst thinking on education I can ever remember in forty years of teaching. Strangely, I do not object to the recent report given the government on the subject of schooling — I will return to that — but I don’t like what they extrapolate from it.
The Herald offers another graphic:
After those performances Fraser, Hawke and Howard went on to win elections; the others of course did not. So we do need to be cautious.