THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Monday, August 13, 2007

8. Howard faces Defeat

Australian Prime Minister John Howard may be facing defeat in his own seat of Bennelong at the hands of glamour Labour candidate Maxine McKew, according to a new poll.

A Galaxy Poll conducted for The Sunday Telegraph after last week's interest-rate rise shows voters have solidified their support for former journalist McKew, reflecting national polls that show Howard has been unable to substantially cut Opposition Labour leader Kevin Rudd's big lead.

The poll shows the Prime Minister is now facing a seven per cent swing in Bennelong, putting McKew in a commanding position with 53 per cent of the vote, after distribution of preferences.
The seat needs only a four per cent two-party preferred swing to change hands.

If he was beaten by McKew, Howard will be the first serving prime minister to lose his seat since Stanley Melbourne Bruce in 1929.

The Sunday Telegraph/SBS Insight Galaxy Poll was conducted on the evenings of Aug 8 and 9, based on a large sample of 800 voters. Primary support for Howard is at 44 per cent, unchanged since May and down about six points since the last election.

In contrast, support for McKew is now 47 per cent -- little changed since May but a huge 19 points higher than the vote achieved by the ALP candidate at the last federal election.

The Sunday Telegraph says the fact that Howard has been unable to claw back McKew's lead -- despite Budget tax cuts and family benefits coming on stream and initiatives such as the intervention in indigenous child abuse in the Northern Territory - will reinforce perceptions that voters are no longer listening to the Prime Minister.

Analysts say if Bennelong voters feel the Howard Government will be defeated in the federal elections, which is due before the end of this year, then they may vote in bigger numbers against the Prime Minister because they don't expect him to stay in Parliament if his party loses and they don't want a by-election - by Neville D'Cruz, BERNAMA.