GhostWhoVotes tweets that the latest fortnightly Newspoll has the Coalition’s two-party preferred lead at 55-45, from primary votes of 32 per cent for Labor (up two on last time) and 46 per cent for the Coalition (up one). The personal ratings are good news for Tony Abbott: his approval rating is up four to 36 per cent and his disapproval is down three to 52 per cent, and he has opened up a lead over Julia Gillard as preferred prime minister of 40 per cent (up three) to 37 per cent (down three). Julia Gillard is respectively up down one to 32 per cent and up two to 57 per cent. Newspoll also ran a teaser last night showing Abbott favoured over Gillard for economic management 43 per cent to 34 per cent, and Wayne Swan and Joe Hockey in a statistical dead heat for preferred Treasurer (38 per cent to 37 per cent).
We also today had yet another 54-46 result from Essential Research. After losing a point on the primary vote over each of the two previous weeks, Labor was back up one to 34 per cent, with the Greens down one to 10 per cent and the Coalition steady on 47 per cent. Essential’s monthly measure of leadership approval found both leaders’ personal ratings essentially unchanged – Julia Gillard down one on approval to 36 per cent and up one on disapproval to 53 per cent, Tony Abbott steady on 35 per cent and up two to 53 per cent – but contrary to Newspoll, Gillard made a solid gain as preferred prime minister, her lead up from 39-36 to 41-34. However, only 31 per cent expected her to lead Labor to the next election against 47 per cent who said they didn’t (hats off to the 22 per cent who admitted they didn’t know); while for Tony Abbott the numbers were 47 per cent and 25 per cent.
A question on government control of media ownership has support for more control and less control tied on 24 per cent, with 34 per cent thinking it about right. There was also a question on the impact of Gina Rinehart on the independence of Fairfax newspapers, which I personally find a little odd – the issue would mean little outside of New South Wales and Victoria. I also had my doubts about the question on whether Australia is “fair and just”, but the question asking for comparison with other countries is interesting: Canada and New Zealand are seen as Australia’s main partners in freedom, the UK does less well, Japan and France less well again, and the United States worse still. China however sits well below the rest of the field.