Howard and co have satisfactorily tested the fear factor and law and order. The little noticed, recent Morgan poll will give them hope. It showed clearly that the spook factor is still alive, well and working. Grabbing on to the right sought of issue, at the right time, might still work to get them over the line.
Important for their chances is a compliant press. This appears to have faded, a little, presently, under the force of facts and a history catch-up. Media tarts like to be on the side that wins and know manipulation , at the correct moment, can swing an election. Editorials will be cheering on the little dictator when the time is right, with the bound and gagged Aunty flailing in all directions.... forced to present Ruppy's lead line, while Fairfax does what's best for the shareholders and prepared for the carving.
APEC is Howard country. Australia on the world stage with visiting indignitaries like his great mate, shrub. All happening in Sydney. Guaranteed a large local protest community with the added advantage of an overseas contingent. We are are looking at serious huffing and puffing opportunities.
A major crisis in the wake of this meeting, with helicopters whirling, huge numbers in jail and Labor supporting a strong stand against 'good for nothing' radicals, troublemakers and extremists. Plus a peppering of a possible Al-Queda plot against Sydney , just uncovered... no chance for investigations into why the police acted so pre-emptively to clear the streets. Yep, terrorism laws might easily provide the type of cover that Howard needs to pull in that crucial strong leader vote.
He has the perfect stage for a quick, dumbed down, election.
Update.... the follow up to the Morgan poll and Haneef pick up, via a most reputable oz journo, who has inside knowledge on everything Howard loving.