There’s an asterisk on a lot of political analysis, a rider at the end of deliberations about the impact of this or that event: “So long as the voters haven’t stopped listening.”
When Malcolm Turnbull pulled off a budget policy flip that would have made Nadia Comăneci proud, we all pondered whether he had outmanoeuvred Bill Shorten. When Shorten opposed some of the measures, we analysed whether he should have made more of the fact that Turnbull had landed well to the left of the Coalition’s usual positioning.
But it was all predicated on the asterisk, accepting the idea that changes in policy, or reactions to them, could make a difference to voters’ views one way or the other if they were just done well enough. So far, that hasn’t happened.