The government got its bounce last week, but it looks to have been of the dead cat variety, with the latest Newspoll (taken before the debate) showing Labor ahead 58-42 on 2PP. Of course, the usual warnings about margin of error apply to both this poll and the previous one. There’s nothing to suggest, with any certainty, that there has been any movement away from the average of 56-44 that’s prevailed all year.
The big problem is the perception that the government has fired off all its big guns and achieved nothing. We’re already seeing backdowns on a bunch of issues (Turnbull on nuclear power for example), but they’ll need more than this, or another bounce, to stave off the view that disaster is inevitable. it might not be too late for Howard to pull back a few points by ratifying Kyoto, but he needs to do something quickly.