As former treasurer Peter Costello said last week, when the momentum’s with you the momentum’s with you – and all the momentum was with Tony Abbott in the final week of the 2013 election campaign.
As the Rudd campaign ran out of puff, the opposition leader looked confident and energised, and barely put a foot wrong – with the exception of the internet filtering bungle.
As the polls increasingly pointed towards a thumping coalition win, the man once mocked as Tony “people skills” Abbott looked more and more prime ministerial.
He tried to play down the polls, repeatedly saying he doesn’t believe them and Labor could still “sneak” back into power.
But as the final week wore on, these protestations rang more and more hollow.
Mr Abbott’s popularity has clearly been on the rise.
He was mobbed during a campaign appearance at Sydney Markets on Wednesday, with one man even getting on bended knee and kissing the opposition leader on the forehead.
He mixed easily with workers at the Austral Bricks factory near Launceston, and at a leather factory in outer Brisbane.
Blue-collar Penrice Soda workers in Port Adelaide, one of the safest of Labor seats, even gave the Liberal blueblood a warm reception.
As did shoppers in former treasurer Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley, where he provocatively conducted a mall walk on the second last day of campaigning.
Mr Abbott hit a host of Labor marginals in week five of the campaign. Hindmarsh in Adelaide, Lyons in Tasmania, Reid, Kingsford Smith and Lindsay in Sydney.
In Brisbane, where Kevin Rudd was supposed to sweep all before him, the opposition leader stopped in at Petrie in the outer north, and in neighbouring Lilley.
The headline in that city’s only metro paper on Thursday summed up just how far ahead the coalition is.
“RUDD FREE ZONE” blared the Murdoch-owned Courier-Mail, predicting the prime minister would lose even his own seat of Griffith on Saturday.
Rudd had all the momentum in 2007, when John Howard became only the second sitting prime minister to lose his seat at an election.
The tide is with Mr Abbott this time – and Rudd could well suffer the same indignity he visited upon Howard six years ago.
It would be sweet revenge, delivered by Mr Abbott on behalf of his former boss and mentor.Read More