Newspoll has given the Coalition its best result since early April, with Labor’s lead at 52-48 from primary votes of 40% for the Coalition (up four), 34% for Labor (down two) and 13% for the Greens (up one). This amounts to a two-point shift to the Coalition’s favour on two-party preferred although it should be noted that last fortnight’s result was above trend, whereas this one is right on it. Tony Abbott’s 41-37 lead as preferred prime minister puts him ahead of Bill Shorten for the first time since early May, the result a fortnight ago having been 38-38. This reflects a worsening in Shorten’s personal ratings, with approval down two to 36% and disapproval up three to 44%, rather than an improvement in Abbott’s, which are little changed at 36% (steady) and 54% (up one).
Also out today was a result from Roy Morgan that supports the proposition that Newspoll’s fluctuations are largely statistical noise. Both major parties are down fractionally on the primary vote, the Coalition by half a point to 37.5% and Labor by one to 38%, with the Greens and Palmer United both gaining half a point to 11% and 5.5% respectively. An improvement in Labor’s respondent-allocated preferences gives them an impressive headline lead of 56-44 on two-party preferred, up from 54.5-45.5 a fortnight ago, but the two-party result based on preference flows from the previous election is unchanged at 54-46.
UPDATE (Essential Research): Also a quiet result from Essential Research, which has the major parties steady on 41% for the Coalition, 39% for Labor and 51-49 to Labor on two-party preferred. The only change is that the Greens are down a point to 8%, and Palmer United up one to 5%. We also get Essential’s monthly leadership ratings, which are the first to record Tony Abbott’s MH17 bounce up three on approval to 37% and down four on disapproval to 54%, and back in front on preferred prime minister for the first time since April at 37-36, compared with a 37-34 deficit last time. Bill Shorten’s personal ratings are little changed, his approval down two to 34% and disapproval up one to 40%.
The most interesting finding from the supplementary questions is that 51% oppose the government’s internet surveillance proposals with only 39% in support, while 68% profess little or no trust in the government and ISPs to protect the stored information from abuse. The survey also asked respondents to rank a series of environmental issues as either important or not important, and while all scored strongly, it’s perhaps curious to note that climate change scored lowest at 71% important and 27% not important, with protecting the Great Barrier Reef highest at 91% and 7%. Respondents were also asked to assess the government’s record on asylum seekers according to a range of criteria, with pleasing results for the government in that responsible and fair (along with too secretive and just playing politics) topped the list at 45%, while too hard and too soft were bottom at 29% and 26%.