Liberal MPs have been given plenty to chew on by polling agencies as they prepare for tomorrow’s leadership moment of truth. The Australian have unleashed Newspoll a day earlier: it finds Labor’s two-party lead up to 57-43 from 56-44 last fortnight and 52-48 in the famous rogue poll of a month ago. The Fairfax broadsheets have also seized the day by sending Nielsen out into the field a week ahead of schedule, finding Labor’s lead unchanged from three weeks ago at 56-44. Both polls were conducted on Friday and Saturday. (UPDATE: Dennis Shanahan has been in touch to point out that Newspoll continued to survey throughout Sunday, with The Australian releasing the result at the end of the day.) Interestingly, Nielsen has the Greens vote up four points to 13 per cent, with Labor down three to 42 per cent and the Coalition down one to 37 per cent. We’ll have to wait and see if this is reflected in Newspoll.
On the question of who should be Liberal leader, Joe Hockey is on 33 per cent in Newspoll and 36 per cent in Nielsen; Malcolm Turnbull is on 30 per cent and 32 per cent; and Tony Abbott is on 19 per cent and 20 per cent. There was less accord between the two pollsters when respondents were asked to choose between the two declared candidates, Turnbull and Abbott: Newspoll had Turnbull with a slender lead of 42-41, but Nielsen had it at 51-37. Both Nielsen and a small sample (400) Galaxy poll published in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph indicate Hockey is particularly favoured among Coalition voters, his lead among them respectively registered at 41-27 and 39-25. Galaxy’s total result was somewhat more favourable for Turnbull than the others, putting him equal with Hockey on 29 per cent and ahead of Abbott on 22 per cent.
Another theme to emerge is that Turnbull’s stocks have risen among Labor voters and slumped among Coalition voters. Hockey’s aforementioned 41-27 Nielsen lead compared with a 35-36 deficit three weeks ago, while Turnbull’s approval rating has gone from 57 per cent to 45 per cent among Coalition voters and from 24 per cent to 39 per cent among Labor voters. Overall, Turnbull’s ratings have risen slightly: Newspoll has his approval up two to 36 per cent per cent, while Nielsen has it up four to 41 per cent. His disapproval is steady at 50 per cent from Newspoll and up two to 51 per cent from Nielsen. However, his preferred prime minister rating has slumped to a new low of 14 per cent (two points beneath his Utegate nadir), no doubt reflecting the fact that Labor voters have driven his improved personal ratings.
On the question of an emissions trading scheme, Nielsen had 49 per cent supporting a delay until after Copenhagen and 39 per cent wanting it introduced as soon as possible. Galaxy advanced only the former proposition for a result of 60 per cent. Newspoll found 53 per cent supported Turnbull’s backing of the legislation against 26 per cent opposed, but there was a wide gulf between Labor and Coalition supporters, the latter opposing the move 48 per cent to 35 per cent. Nielsen had overall support for an emissions trading scheme at 66 per cent.
On top of all that, The Weekend Australian reported breakdowns on a question Newspoll posed in September regarding the scheme, which found 63 per cent of metropolitan Coalition voters believing the government’s bill should be passed against 28 per cent, whereas in rural areas the figures were 50 per cent and 41 per cent.
UPDATE: Essential Research has Labor’s lead at 58-42, up from 55-45 in the past two weeks. However, a question on prime ministerial approval has Kevin Rudd’s strongly approve rating down five points to a new low of 9 per cent, with strongly disapprove up two points to a new high of 15 per cent. Malcolm Turnbull’s ratings are surprisingly static, although mildly approve is down three points to 23 per cent and mildly disapprove is up three to 33 per cent. Joe Hockey is clearly favoured as Liberal leader 22 per cent to Turnbull’s 14 per cent with 9 per cent for Tony Abbott. The partisan divide here is less sharp than the other pollsters.