Now the one and only debate is over, and both sides have launched the bulk of their policies (there are presumably some last-minute goodies, but the big money has been spent), what are we going to do for the next five weeks? The Policy Speeches could normally be relied on to inject at least some interest, but not when the policies get announced in the first week.
After the endless pre-campaign, five more weeks of pointless stumping about will have people turning off in droves, I imagine. If it weren’t for compulsory voting, I suspect we’d see a big drop in turnout. Normally, boredom is good for the incumbents, but I’m not sure how it will play out this time.
A couple of random thoughts:
The first week of the campaign has been pretty much a draw, I would say. Rudd’s win in the debate pretty much offsets Howard’s wins in having the debate on the conditions he demanded (though the worm got in through the backdoor anyway) and in setting the terms of the tax debate. The government got enough of a bounce in the polls to stay in the race, but it needs another good set of polls to avoid the narrative switching to loss of momentum.
I’m surprised at the extent to which the government is pushing the anti-union line. I’m sure it plays well in the small business heartland of the Liberal party, but I doubt that it resonates with the average undecided voter. The strike wave of the 1970s polarised attitudes, but anyone for whom this is still a vivid memory is pretty sure to be a rusted-on supporter of the Liberals unless they’re a diehard union militant.