Scott Morrison is toast – or maybe not

Caption: One opinion poll, two very different interpretations.

Despite the silly conspiracy theories of the Murdoch-hating left, of all the mainstream media The Australian at least has the virtue of canvassing a wide range of commentary. Where on the ABC, after all, is the conservative equivalent of waffling old communist Philip Adams? The Oz regularly gives a platform to the misandrist gibbering of feminist Nikki Gemmel, while critics like Bettina Arndt are never given space at The Age or The Guardian.

So, it?s no surprise to see two different writers give completely different analyses of the latest Newspoll.

In the glass-half-empty corner is National Affairs editor Simon Benson. Quote:

Scott Morrison will head to the Christmas break with the titanic task of turning around a damaged government before the May election, with the Coalition ending 2018 in the grip of a poll slump.

An exclusive Newspoll conducted for The Australian shows the Coalition now battling the same electoral crisis Malcolm Turnbull was faced with at the end of last year, with popular support remaining historically low.

The results of the final Newspoll of the year show the Coalition?s primary vote at 35 per cent, Labor?s at 41 per cent and a two-party-preferred split of 45-55, which would equate on a uniform basis to the loss of 21 seats for the government?

?Voters have all but written the government off as a chance of ?securing a third term, with the poll revealing less than a quarter believe the Coalition will win the next election and a third of ?Coalition voters believing Labor has it in the bag. End of quote.

But even Benson concedes that there is the faintest glimmer of hope for Morrison. Shorten?s rush to capitulate to the open borders policies of watermelon ?independent? Kerryn Phelps, coupled with an increasingly feral far-left backbench, could be ominous for Labor. Morrison knows Labor?s obvious weakness could be its Achilles heel. Quote:

Mr Morrison yesterday continued the attack on Labor over its decisi?on last week to soften its borde?r protection policy to support a Greens bill to fast-track the removal of refugees from Nauru to Australia on medical grounds.

?You can?t trust Labor on border protection. You never could. You couldn?t when they were in government, you can?t when they?re in opposition,? he said. End of quote.

There is a danger, though, that the Libs could repeat the mistake they made in Victoria, by hammering away at a single perceived negative, while Labor dazzles voters with truckloads of Chinese cash. The Victorian election was the Liberals? to lose until they showed just how critical a poor campaign can be. In 1993, Labor won the unwinnable election due almost solely to the inept campaigning of John Hewson. In ?96, despite being dismissed as ?Lazarus with a triple-bypass?, John Howard trounced Labor.

Shorten is not a good campaigner. Voters know he?s shifty. How effective Morrison will be, remains to be seen. Quote:

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said this morning that the government can reverse the polls because the Prime Minister has ?the attributes of John Howard? and is a superior campaigner to Malcolm Turnbull??People have a real hesitation about Bill Shorten. They think there is something dodgy in his past, and that is the case.? End of quote.

Dutton?s glass-half-full thinking is echoed by Australian columnist Jennifer Oriel. Quote:

The Liberal Coalition tested its policy prowess and tactical intelligence during the last sitting week of the year. Scott Morrison seized the opportunity to challenge Labor on national security, religious freedom, border protection and counter-terrorism.

The Prime Minister introduced a new rule to neutralise the most powerful weapon left in Labor?s arsenal, Liberal leadership instability. By the end of the week the promise of a landslide Labor victory in the coming federal election was no longer assured. The Coalition is back in business?The era of despondency is over. The fight to win the unwinnable election has begun. End of quote.

Still, the danger for the nation remains similar to that facing Britain. The government is weak and divided. The opposition is a far-left rabble, pandering to the most loathsome identity politics, especially anti-semitism. Quote:

Weak borders, divisive identity politics, the attack on core freedoms and undemocratic rule by PC elites are the hallmarks of government by green-left MPs. Elect them at your peril. End of quote.

What may be telling differences is that Australia?s Theresa May, the weak, treacherous Turnbull, has been replaced by a competent conservative moderate. On the opposition benches, Shorten is a protean snake-oil salesman who, outside of easy leftist virtue-signalling on refugees and Aboriginal constitutional recognition, remains a policy-free zone at the mercy of a demented far-left backbench.