Very true, but in this case, John Howard openly said that he would not stay for the full term and that there would be a leadership transition midterm to the Treasurer, Peter Costello. The election, therefore became Rudd vs Howard/Costello. This is where he shot himself in the foot. The other main issue for losing is that his Industrial Relations plan 'Workchoices" was brought in after the last election without anyone knowing he had these plans. And, 'Workchoices' is a BIG loser in the electorate. So, there was a huge trust issue as John Howard said that once Costello was PM nothing would change (Workchoices wouldn't be toughened) - well, how could he guarantee that if he wasn't there anymore? Now, the Libs are in deep water. Howard reaffirmed his belief in Costello to lead the Libs in Oppossition as his natural 'Heir' in his concession speech. The next day, Costello announced that he didn't want the job and isn't staying on til the next election - he couldn't be PM so he won't fight for it as an Oppossition Leader? - just showed us what he is made of and I'm glad he is walking.