Christan Kerr nails it today at crikey.com.au:
"The PM doesn’t seem to get it. Elections often have nothing to do with "the truth", but about how people feel. It’s ironic, given the way he’s used fears of terrorists, foreign others and interest rates to keep fearful battlers by his side at elections past. And his plays on feelings may have set up the circumstances that could defeat him."
I've also lately remembered something Paul Keating said when Labor lost the 1996 election after thirteen years in power. 'We weren't asking for three years, we were asking for sixteen.' Howard may also have been giving this excellent point some thought in recent weeks.