John Howard easily won re-election in Australia, even picking up a few seats. I think this makes life harder for Kerry for two reasons. First, Howard is a devoted ally in the War on Terror and a close ally of Bush. His re-election, as one of the groups described by Kerry as the alliance of the coerced and the bribed, makes it harder for Kerry to argue that Bush has no allies. Or, conversely, if Howard had lost, it would have provided a golden opportunity for Kerry to show that Bush had alienated even the Australians, our most loyal ally for the past 150 years. Kerry will now be unable to utilize that argument.
The second reason that Howard's re-election is bad news for Kerry is that the polls and media in Australia were predicting a very close race, with several of the them predicting a Howard loss. Instead, it was a strong Howard win.
The bloggers at Polipundit.com do extensive poll analysis and have shown numerous examples of polls and media predictions favoring democrats only to have the republicans do far better in the actual election. I've always taken their analysis with a grain of salt since they want Bush to win. However, in the light of seeing something similar occur in Australia, I'm begining to wonder. I'm not sure why this phenomenon exists, if it does, but it may be that the Left does better in polls and the media than they do in actual elections. That would imply that Bush is doing better than the polls are telling us.
The Bush futures contract on Tradesports rallied yesterday and today, perhaps reflecting the Australian election news. Of course, the elections in Afghanistan also occured yesterday and seem to me to be moderately successful, though it will take months before the full impact is known.