Tony Abbott will be a relieved man after the weekend, not because things went so terribly well for him but because for his Liberal Party they didn’t get any worse. The two by-elections comfortably returned the party candidates and there was no evidence of any extraordinary reaction to the shenanigans in Canberra during the previous week. Whatever else is happening in the electorate, the heartland hasn’t deserted yet.
The opinion polls pointed to the pre-Abbott status quo remaining, too. Perhaps Friday’s Morgan phone poll can be interpreted as holding out hope of better things to come but Newspoll this morning with a two-party preferred 56% for Labor suggests there will be no large and immediate honeymoon jump. Morgan face-to-face and the next Newspoll will give a more reliable indication.
The market has moved slightly in the direction of a Liberal improvement with the Crikey election indicator now putting Labor as a 77% probability to the coalition’s 23%.