The only reason that Julia Gillard could be calling a leadership ballot is because her challenger could force one. Which means that Kevin Rudd must have more than a third of the votes because that is what you need to force a spill.
That’s more votes than the Gillard people have been telling us he has. When you combine that with the bullying that has been going on, including claims that Rudd is inflating his numbers, then it tells you that the contest is actually quite close – certainly closer than the Gillard people have been letting on.
But will a Rudd victory lead on to electoral victory?
Probably not – for two reasons.
First Rudd has not changed and that means he is unattractive to the Howard battlers that he suckered into voting for him in 2007.
When you look at Rudd’s polling figures just before he was deposed he was travelling almost as well as he had been at the election. For Rudd that makes it inexplicable that he was dumped, but the averages always hide the true meaning of any sample.
When you look more closely at the polling his support had fallen significantly in Queensland and New South Wales. This was a blue-collar conservative effect, which was confirmed for federal Labor when they lost the Penrith state by-election with anecdotal evidence from booth workers that Rudd was one of the problems.
That’s why he was removed. He had barely won the 2007 election, having a margin of only 8 seats, and the movements in two of Australia’s largest states more than cancelled that out. What’s more his position was starting to run downhill at an accelerating rate.
Why is he unattractive to blue-collars conservatives? Probably because he looks fake. I’ve watched the YouTube video of him being angry and he can’t even do angry well.
Second, the damage from his win will lead to ongoing recriminations within Labor. He won’t be allowed to do his job anymore than he allowed Gillard to do hers.
Interesting that daughter Jessica and wife Therese have been tweeting their support of him and that erstwhile mates like Wayne Swan and Craig Emerson who both go back to the Goss days, have been putting the boot in. This is going to be one willing family fight.
But you’ve got to feel sorry for Anna Bligh. She needs the space to try to establish a message against Campbell Newman. At the moment she is losing, and to win she needs something to change. It’s difficult for that to happen when Rudd and federal Labor are hogging all the oxygen.