The second week of Essential Research polling under Julia Gillard has perfectly replicated the first, with Labor and the Coalition steady on 42 per cent and 39 per cent of the primary vote and Labor maintaining its 54-46 two-party lead. This compares with a Coalition primary vote lead of 40 per cent to 38 per cent in the final poll under Kevin Rudd, when Labor’s two-party lead was 52-48. Essential has also surveyed on approval of Julia Gillard for the first time, finding her approval rating at 48 per cent (seven points higher than Rudd’s final result from May 31) and disapproval at 27 per cent (20 points lower). Approval of Tony Abbott has been gauged for the second week running, and it does not replicate the result of the previous week which was itself reflected in Newspoll showing a bounce in the wake of the leadership change. His approval has gone from 35 per cent on May 31 to 40 per cent on June 28 to 37 per cent on July 5, while his disapproval has gone from 50 per cent to 39 per cent to 47 per cent. Gillard leads as preferred prime minister 49-29, which is little different from the 47-30 lead Rudd recorded in his final poll. Also canvassed are best party to deal with various issues, which finds Labor gaining ground on every measure since three weeks ago (the interesting exceptions are being honest and ethical and handling environmental and climate change issues, which are stable). Attributes to describe the Prime Minister allow comparisons with Gillard on July 5 with Rudd on May 10, which are uniformly favourable to Gillard (who scores 21 points higher on being down to earth”). Further questions show clear hostility to any notion of a big Australia.