Nine Political Editor Chris Uhlmann said it was “certainly the worst start to a campaign I’ve ever seen”.
“I still feel yesterday, for example, there were still signs of the yips on the campaign trail,” Uhlmann told Today.
“Certainly the people around him are very worried about it. The criticism from his own MPs is that he is not match fit.”
But, he said, the outcome of the election at this point was anybody’s guess.
A survey in the Australian Financial Review this week showed that neither Mr Albanese or Prime Minister Scott Morrison were particularly popular with the electorate, but that Mr Morrison carried the advantage of greater familiarity.
“If (Mr Morrison) is the least bad option, that might mean that they might plump for him when election day finally comes,” Uhlmann said.
“The best guess we can take at the moment is on the published polls.”
He pointed out that Labor remained “a long way ahead” on recent polls, which would put it on track for victory if the trend continued.
“That’s if people have made up their minds about Scott Morrison. And that’s what I think the Labor Party believes is the case, after three years of scar tissue,” Uhlmann said.
“But if they haven’t, if people are actually considering the alternatives and weighing them in the balance, then the mistake that Anthony Albanese made on Monday becomes a very big error, because it will be made into Coalition ads, and it went to the heart of the criticism that they have of him, that he is not up to managing the economy.”
The focus is likely to remain on personalities and character through a “policy-light” campaign.
“The government would say to you, the policy is our budget, but at the heart of that is the cost of living pitch, and that pitch was essentially for the election and the election only,” Uhlmann said.
“The Labor Party has put up policies on childcare, it has a health policy, but not the suite of policies they took last time because what happened then, the Coalition began picking them off one by one, like the franking credit.
“(Labor) tried to divest themselves of the baggage, have a simple campaign and unfortunately Anthony Albanese drew a large target on his head this week and the government pounced, and the government’s campaign is a very well-oiled machine.”