Scott Morrison will be under pressure to win the centre, the base and the right. But he will be trying to appeal these very disparate audiences from the position of a politician who polls tell us is less well regarded than the man he will replace.
Malcolm Turnbull probably put it best himself in the prime ministerial courtyard on Thursday.
“It’s been described by many people, including those who feel they cannot resist it, as a form of madness, and it is remarkable we’re at this point where only a month ago we were, as you all know being avid readers of polls, just a little bit behind Labor, and in our own polls a little bit ahead, but in any view thoroughly competitive,” he said.
And here is the irony: despite all the talk about 38 consecutive bad polls, the Government was gradually finding its feet, getting its agenda in order.
That is, getting its agenda in order when it was not being regularly firebombed by the malevolent, ever shifting, revengeful anarchy of Tony Abbott. And sometimes even despite that.
The Longman by-election was enough to unnerve a few Queenslanders, then a rumble went about over the prime minister’s political judgements.
And that is about as far as it goes when you are looking for any rational reason why the country has to go through the paralysis of another leadership change.
The deep ravine in the Coalition
We tend to focus on the personal winners and losers of such change, and less on the policy paralysis, the carefully crafted agendas and alliances and meetings on policy that have to be jettisoned, while new ministers start learning their portfolios from scratch.