During the last election it becamse apparent to me that the Liberal Party won the election on a small but very significant issue: interest rates. No other issue mattered at the time because the fear of rising interest rates lurked in the psyche of the voter. Today, in the current election campaign, the issue has returned.
The difference I note in this current round is that the polls are producing results that indicate the public does not entirely blame John Howard for the rising trend. In other words, many voters believe that interest rates would have risen whether Howard or Latham was in power. The effect of that is that (as some of today's papers are reporting) Rudd has neutralised the issue. Interest rates are not working in favour of the Liberals and are not working against the ALP. The only political mileage that anyone is getting from it is the ALP who are using it to attack Howard's promises from the previous election.
It seems apparent to me today (although it might change later) that the Liberals are fighting a general feeling that it's time for a change. Howard and Rudd are so similar in most policies that it won't make much difference to our economy. The flavour, on the other hand, is what will mark the difference. I suspect that the election will be won by the ALP. But there are three weeks to go before we know the result.
And yes, that's a horrible mental image to have: comparing the flavours of John Howard and Kevin Rudd.