The latest weekly Essential Research survey has Labor’s two-party lead steady on 55-45 after the previous week’s sharp drop from 59-41. Further questions probe “firmness of vote” (slightly stronger among Coalition voters); satisfaction with Labor and Coalition positions on asylum seekers, climate change, the economy and things in general; relative impact thereof in determining vote choice; and party with which respondents most closely identify (37 per cent Labor, 31 per cent Coalition).

Other news:

• The Mike Rann situation is sufficiently volatile that alternative leadership scenarios are being discussed. Writing in Crikey, Hendrik Gout of Adelaide’s Independent Weekly indicates Treasurer and Deputy Premier Kevin Foley may have ruled himself out with his recent revelations of personal problems: a deal between Left and Right could instead see the job go to Patrick Conlon of the Left.

George Megalogenis of The Australian probes recent Newspoll data for trends since the start of the Oceanic Viking saga:

In the three Newspolls that followed, Rudd shed a little more skin each time. By last weekend, the score was 56 per cent to 34 per cent. In other words, his net rating—the gap between those who like and loathe him—had almost halved from plus 43 per cent to plus 22 per cent. Scary stuff until you consider the unpublished splits for Labor and Coalition voters. Rudd’s net rating among Labor voters has barely moved. It was plus 84 per cent six weeks ago, now it is plus 81 per cent. All the loathing has been on the Coalition side. His net rating among those who were already voting Liberal or National was minus 13 per cent six weeks ago; now it is minus 38 per cent. Incidentally, Greens voters are also down on Rudd, with his net rating crashing from plus 60 per cent to plus 18 per cent in the same period. This isn’t the first time Rudd has antagonised people other than Labor voters. The same ripple of disrespect was detected after Labor’s first two budgets, in May last year and again this year. He arouses the enemy when he is forced to defend a specific policy.

• A Galaxy poll commissioned by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry finds “nearly six in 10” respondents believe an emissions trading scheme would cost jobs and force up electricity prices, and 54 per cent believe legislation should be delayed until after Copenhagen.

Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports the Right is expected to throw its weight behind Adam Searle, Blue Mountains mayor and member of the “soft Left”, in the battle to succeed the retiring Bob Debus in his federal seat of Macquarie. Debus and the hard Left want the seat to go to Susan Templeman, with Debus in particular having a long record of conflict with Searle.

• Salusinszky also reports state party secretary and rising Left figure Luke Foley has denied suggestions he might seek to fill a casual vacancy created by the expected departure of the Right’s Henry Tsang from the state upper house later this year. The Right would have the seat go to Shaoquett Moselmane, a Rockdale councillor and Lebanese community leader who has in the past sought to unseat Frank Sartor from Rockdale.

• The NSW Liberals have eyebrow-raisingly preselected Chris Spence, former One Nation candidate and president of its national youth wing, in the highly winnable state seat of The Entrance. Andrew Clennell of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Spence worked for David Oldfield in his time as a state MP, and is currently a staffer to Terrigal MP Chris Hartcher. Spence also took statutory declarations in his capacity as a justice of the peace from Iguanas staff who complained about John Della Bosca and Belinda Neal. He describes his past involvement with One Nation as “a mistake”.

• The ABC further reports local mayor Chris Holstein, who ran unsuccessfully in 2007, has been endorsed as the Liberal candidate for Gosford.

• The ABC reports four candidates have nominated for Liberal preselection in Bennelong, with Steven Foley and Melanie Matthewson joining the previously discussed John Alexander and Mark Chan.

• The Manly Daily reports Bronwyn Bishop has not been opposed for preselection in Mackellar.

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