March 17, 2006 | Graham

Last word on South Australia

There is a standard script for party leaders who are expected to lose. Embrace that expectation, predict a wipe-out and say you’re doing your best to hang on, but you are afraid things will be worse than any of the polls suggest. That stiffens the nerves of supporters and brings back some who were thinking of giving you a kick.
Readers with long memories may remember that in 1993 Paul Keating wasn’t able to read from that script so in the last week Wayne Goss, Premier of Queensland, read it for him. Without that bit of understudy insubordination the “true believers” might never have had their victory. A variation on it was what produced the “Queensland Effect” in 1995 leading to the expected loser in that state election becoming the marginal winner.
Rob Kerin is heading for a hiding, but either isn’t getting good advice, or is just not tough enough to run the right lines. This morning on AM he was predicting that his party might even do better than the polls suggest. He was posed a “gimme” proposition by the interviewer. Given the lack of party loyalty of the modern voter won’t this make it harder to hold the marginals? Kerin responded that he wasn’t too concerned about the marginals and thought the Liberals would do OK.
The only real issue in this SA election has been the likely size of Rann’s majority – nothing else has reached any critical mass. If voters think something close to the status quo, but with a small majority to Rann is likely to obtain, they are more likely than not to put a 1 next to the name of their local Labor candidate. Kerin’s doing his best to make this scenario seem more credible.

Posted by Graham at 7:51 am | Comments Off on Last word on South Australia |
Filed under: Australian Politics

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