Julia Gillard has had appalling polling figures this last week. Nielsen shows her losing, Galaxy has it 50/50 and only Newspoll has her ahead. All this when a week ago she apparently had a 6 point margin over the opposition. Could the Weekly photoshoot have anything to do with this?
It could. Gillard’s biggest appeal in our polling is to women because she is a woman. It shows in the quantitative polls in a huge gender gap. But Abbott is winning over women at a faster rate than he is winning over men. Why are women pulling back from Gillard?
Perhaps it is because when seriously thinking about your vote there are more important considerations than gender in voting.
It could also be that Julia has alienated a lot of women by, amongst other things, her Weekly photo shoot.
Cheryl Kernot has nominated for the New South Wales senate this election. This reminded me of her photo shoot for the Weekly where she appeared in red dress with a boa. That’s the moment from which I trace Kernot’s political fall.
This self-indulgent moment sent the message that she had gotten above herself and that it was all about her. It cast her defection from the Australian Democrats to Labor in an entirely different light.
Now Julia has done it.
Piers Akerman totes up the cost of her clobber – $15,185. That’s a lot of money to the average mum when her budget is bursting. It might just make her think again.
Then there is the unfortunate symbolism. Here is Labor airbrushing the Rudd government from its past and now the Weekly is waving its fairy godmother wand over the assassin. Will it all turn to rags in the end?
Exactly how does this photo shoot and the accompanying article fit in with Labor’s campaign message?
The election is meant to be a referendum on sustainability. What does the Weekly article say about this?
One of the absolute rules of campaigning is that you have 4 or so weeks to tell a good story to the electorate. It must be simple, straight and compelling. Everything you do must reinforce that story.
Another absolute rule of campaigning is that it is about the electors, not about you. Your election is in their hands, and you are suitably humble. There is nothing humble about this photoshoot.
I’m tempted to ask who advised Gillard to do this, but the suspicion is starting to dawn on me that she doesn’t need to get advice to make these sorts of basic mistakes. She is quite capable of coming up with them herself.
Perhaps that is what is starting to dawn on electors too. She might survive, but she may need to pack a hairshirt or two in her suitcase to make sure.