Friday, November 30, 2007

Winds of Change in Down Under

The turn of the cycle

Is the Howard government running against the issue cycle?

In his book Tides of Consent, the American political scientist James Stimson argues that in US politics the issue cycle turns against those in power. I think this is an interesting idea in the Australian context. In areas where a party enjoys success in the public’s eyes, as the Liberals have with the economy and immigration, the issue stops becoming so important and so becomes less of an advantage. And with the Opposition and interest groups constantly emphasising - and perhaps reality partly matching - the government’s weaknesses in areas of Opposition strength the issue cycle starts to turn.

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