Are we in a Rudd political bubble?

Ruddmania may have worn off for RAAF flight crew, but not it seems for the Australian public. Last week’s Nielsen poll showed approval for Kevin Rudd’s performance as PM at 74%, only one percentage point behind Bob Hawke at his peak. Newspoll’s respondents, reported in today’s Australian, are not quite so effusive, but at 68% satisfaction this is still higher than any other PM has received in the 22 years Newspoll has been asking the question.

Newspoll’s survey of leadership characteristics finds that he has the highest ever ratings (since 1992, when the question began) on the characteristic of ‘likeable’, higher even than Kim Beazley, who really was likeable. He’s off his peak for trustworthy, but it was 10 percentage points higher than anyone else had ever received (also since 1992). Though off his peak as well for cares for people, he is still very high on that, though not as high as obvious softy Kim Beazley.

I don’t think it is just my own political biases that prevent me from seeing what so many voters are seeing. He has none of Hawke’s charisma, none of Keating’s style and wit, none (OK, little) of Howard’s Australian everyman persona. He is our first nerd Prime Minister. I’ve got nothing against nerds. I am one. But I’m amazed that 74% of the Australian public approve of a man who must remind them of the annoying kid in grade 4 who answered all the teacher’s questions.
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