Female voters are lining up for Morrison, and it could get really ugly

One of the tenets of election campaigns is image control: make sure every night on the commercial evening bulletins there are images of the leader doing something positive.

There is a long-standing belief that if you combine positive imagery with positive analysis and reporting, you will win the day. Win enough days, you win the campaign. And winning the campaign may be enough to close a polling hole that existed before the campaign started.

2019 was a classic case showing that Scott Morrison was a master of the art. Now he follows the same strategy. Every day he makes a small announcement – often a new handout – and is then filmed on the spot. The role of hi-vis vests and helmets in campaigns has long been derided, but Morrison is undeterred and loves to dress up for the cameras wherever he goes.

Mock if you will, but it’s about the images, about the small number of indifferent and indecisive/disinterested voters who pay no attention to politics, but maybe catch a glimpse of a politician on the news. That glimpse, that brief moment, is the chance to convey a positive or negative image.

But as colleague Cam Wilson has pointed out, it seems that the more Morrison is involved in generating those images, the less voters like him. All polls show that the coalition vote and Morrison’s net approval score fell during the campaign after a brief rise at the start following Albania’s gaffe on day one.

And female voters seem very hostile to Morrison.

if the Australian Financial Reviews Phil Coorey pointed out after the latest Ipsos poll that Morrison’s female voter count is appalling and not changing.

The majority of Labour’s votes among women is eight, compared to five among men. His net disapproval is 23 in women and 16 in men. Albanian’s lead as prime minister elected is seven among women and he has led the entire campaign among women. Only in the latest poll, 41-38, have men tilted the way of Albanians.

When did the collapse of female support for Morrison occur? Roy Morgan’s poll provides some clues. It tracks male and female two-party-preferred results. Both male and female support for Labor dropped dramatically from support for the coalition in 2021 – but on different dates. Male support shifted suddenly in November-December, starting a steep trajectory of increasing support for the ALP.

That coincides with the period when the government’s failure to obtain rapid antigen tests, and people’s inability to find one, dominated the news.

But women turned to Labor in the Roy Morgan data much earlier: in February, when Brittany Higgins came forward to reveal her ordeal and government treatment. At that point, female voters – who were roughly evenly split between parties during the pandemic – shifted to Labour, and things only got worse after that.

Morrison’s extensive tampering with the Higgins case – will we ever find out who in his office informed her partner, or will that investigation disappear with Phil Gaetjens? — and the astonishing failure of both he and Christian Porter to properly deal with historic rape allegations against the latter (which Porter denies) drove female voters out of the coalition en masse.

The resurgence of the allegedly disgusting treatment of Rachelle Miller during the campaign — with Morrison confirming that the unseen Alan Tudge would return as Education Secretary after the election, despite an alleged massive payout to Miller — will only serve to bolster the view. that Morrison has a deeply disturbing view of women and their right to safety at work.

The gap in the Morgan poll is still wide, despite narrowing during the campaign: Labor leads by 16 points on a two-party basis among women, compared to just two points among men.

The lengthy campaign Morrison had planned was aimed at dismantling the Labor leadership so that he could exploit his alleged campaign genius. But he seems to have confirmed to only half of voters what they came up with more than a year ago.

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