That sinking feeling … Prime Minster Kevin Rudd. Source: The Daily Telegraph
THE chance of Australia going to an early election has lessened, with internal Labor research exposing a negative shift in mood toward Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in key marginal seats in Sydney’s west.
A separate poll has also revealed that a growing number of voters believe that the Prime Minister was complacent and superficial.
While Labor sits comfortably ahead in the national polls, senior Labor Party officials have confirmed that there had been a softening of support for Mr Rudd in the marginal seats of western Sydney where Labor must hold ground to win an election.
There was an overriding message of “deliverability” and “believability”, said a senior Labor source, particularly on health.
“While they give him credit for his handling of the global financial crisis, there was a strong undercurrent of dissatisfaction around the idea of broken promises, particularly on health.”
The party’s national secretariat would not comment, however, several senior Labor sources confirmed that MPs have been partially briefed on ongoing focus group research which began late last year and continued over Christmas and into the new year.
“It is the first time we’ve seen a dual message come through in the research,” they said.
It is also understood that a secret strategy meeting was held in Canberra last Wednesday night between Mr Rudd and NSW powerbroker Senator Mark Arbib over concerns about the Government’s flagging credibility – where it was decided that the axe would fall on Environment Minister Peter Garrett over the failed home insulation scheme.
The research, which is believed to have been conducted across key marginal Labor held seats including Lindsay and Macquarie as well as marginal Coalition seats of Greenway and Macarthur, also revealed that women had also begun to sour on Mr Rudd and that mixed messages were now starting to show up on the Government’s climate change policy.
Yesterday Mr Rudd continued his theme of getting “whacked” in the polls, despite a Newspoll proving not to be as dire as he had predicted.
“The bottom line is this, as I’ve said yesterday and the day before, the Government needs to do better, needs to deliver more, and get back to basics,” he said.