Jon Corzine & David Bartlett

The recent woes of the NSW Labor government and the opinion poll slippage of other Labor governments, such as David Bartlett in Tasmania,  have posed the question of whether Labor’s ascendant position in Australian politics is under threat. America conservatives take heart from Obama’s declining support and the woes of Democratic governors such as Jon Corzine (who should instead perhaps have been Treasury secretary).  On the Pollbludger outnumbered Liberal partisans are taking heart and challenge those such as Possum who argue that the skew of Liberal support to older voters suggests that the future for the party is bleak. Both are wrong. Possum is prone to a hypostatization (inspired by della Volpe here) that takes existing polls and extracts from them a supposed underlying trend, with no attempt to address why this is occuring, but Liberal partisans also dismiss recent history. My guide here are the comments of Don Aitkin made 26 years ago when he argued that unlike in the 1960s:

In the 1980s the balance of benefit has shifted towards the Labor Party. As was true in the 1930s and 1940s it now enjoys a handsome margin of support among the young. It now gets the greater part of the votes of the two main immigrant groups…it now does much better among female voters…while organised religion is still powerful, its influence has declined…despite a dreadful defeat in 1975…Labor’s prospects are more promising than they haealmost 40 years been for

History has vindicated Aitkin’s prediction. Labor like the US Democrats is now the electorally favoured party. The Australian electorate is now predisposed to evaluate Labor more favourably. Both parties can lose, Labor will lose NSW the Democrats will probably lose New Jersey. We need more analysis of the political cycle, analysts substitute description for analysis when they talk of government’s wearing out their welcome, there are overseas examples such as Alberta and Bavaria of very long eras of  one-party rule. Unprecedented Australian electoral landslides don’t led to 20+ year eras in power. Why?

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