The latest fortnightly Newspoll in tomorrow’s Australian gives the Coalition its best result since September, with Labor’s two-party lead of 51-49 comparing with 55-45 last time. The Coalition is up three on the primary vote to 41%, Labor is down two to 37%, and the Greens are down one to 11%. Amid a general picture of weakening personal ratings for Bill Shorten, Newspoll has him down three on approval to 36% and up five on disapproval to 47% after a spike in his favour a fortnight ago. Tony Abbott is up one to 29% and down two to 61% dismal as those figures are, they’re his best since Australia Day. Bill Shorten’s lead as preferred prime minister has closed from 44-33 to 41-36.
Also today, Morgan’s latest poll combining face-to-face and SMS polling from the past two weekends has Labor up on last fortnight and level with the fortnight before, leaving the intervening poll looking like something of an aberration. On the primary vote, Labor is up two to 40% with the Coalition down one to 38%, while the Greens and Palmer United are both down half a point to 11% and 1.5%. There’s a big shift to Labor on respondent-allocated preferences, their lead widening from 53.5-46.5 to 56-44, but a surprisingly modest one on previous election preferences, from 53.5-46.5 to 54-46, some of the difference evidently being obscured by rounding.
UPDATE (Essential Research): To reinforce the point that polling moves in mysterious ways, the normally sedate Essential Research fortnightly rolling average has moved two points to Labor, putting its lead at 54-46. Labor is up two on the primary vote to 41%, with the Coalition steady on 40%, the Greens up one to 10% and Palmer United down to an all-time low of 1%. The poll also finds a big downturn in the assessment of Joe Hockey’s performance as Treasurer even since the months after the budget, with approval at 27% (down eight points since August) and disapproval at 51% (up seven). Chris Bowen has all but caught up with him as preferred Treasurer, Hockey’s 34-23 lead in August now at 26-25. Relatedly, there is a poor result on economic sentiment, with 27% describing the state of the Australian economy as good (down 10% since last August) and 33% as poor (up 7%).
A question on data retention suggests dissatisfaction with the protections provided in the government’s policy, with 58% believing a warrant should be required to access data in any case, only 10% considering it should only apply to journalists and 12% believing no warrant should be required. Also featured are a semi-regular question on climate change, thought to be caused by human activity by 54% (down three since December) with 31% favouring the skeptical option (up two); 52% professing greater concern than two years ago (up one) with 8% less concerned (down one); 45% favouring incentives for renewable energy in response (up five since September), 12% an emissions trading scheme (up two), 10% the government’s direct action policy (steady) and 11% believing no action is required (steady). The 20% renewable energy target is thought too high by 8% (down five since last July), too low by 33% (up four) and about right by 32% (down four).