The Seven Network brings us a ReachTEL automated phone poll of federal voting intention, which was conducted on Thursday from a sample of 2532, showing Labor’s two-party lead unchanged at 54-46, from primary votes of 39.8% for the Coalition, 39.3% for Labor, 11.9% for the Greens and 2.2% for Palmer United. Further questions find strong support for increasing the tax rate on superannuation contributions for high-income earners, at 57.2% with 22.1% opposed, but an even balance of 30.7% support and 31.8% opposition for removing negative gearing on future property purchases. The poll also records 56.1% support for imposing the GST on purchases from overseas companies with 22.3% opposed. Leadership approval questions find a shift for Tony Abbott from very poor to satisfactory, with Bill Shorten’s numbers broadly unchanged. Hat tip to Leroy Lynch.
There’s considerably less good news for Bill Shorten in a Morgan phone poll on party leadership, which shows Tony Abbott leading him 44-39 as preferred prime minister the first poll to show Abbott in the lead since November. Tony Abbott’s personal ratings are little changed since the last such poll conducted in mid-January, before the Prince Philip knighthood and leadership spill vote, with his approval steady on 37% and disapproval up one to 53%. Bill Shorten, however, is respectively down three to 34% and up eight to 48%.
With respect to preferred Labor and Liberal leaders, Morgan finds Shorten losing his lead over Tanya Plibersek, who now has 23% support (up five) to Shorten’s 21% (down four), with Anthony Albanese up three to 13% and Wayne Swan steady on 10%. Tony Abbott has lost still more ground in comparison with Malcolm Turnbull (up two points as preferred Liberal leader to 38%) and Julie Bishop (up one to 27%), with his own rating down two to 12%. Scott Morrison is up three to 5%, putting him level with Joe Hockey, who has fallen heavily from favour since the government came to power.
UPDATE (Essential Research): The weekly Essential Research result has Labor gaining a point on two-party preferred, putting their lead at 53-47. The Coalition and the Greens are both down a point on the primary vote, to 40% and 10%, while Labor is steady on 39% and Palmer United is up one to 2%. Other findings:
The poll shows 40% support for changes to the Senate electoral system to make it harder for micro-parties to get elected, with 33% opposed. Forty-two per cent said minor parties in the Senate were good for democracy, while 35% favoured the alternative proposition that they made government too unstable.
Fifty-two per cent say they are not confident the government is on track to return the budget to surplus, with 36% confident; 31% believe doing so is very important, 40% somewhat important, and 14% not important.
Seventy-seven per cent approve of government measures to withhold benefits from parents who do not get their children vaccinated.
Seventy per cent say the gap between rich and poor in Australia is getting bigger, only 5% say smaller, and 17% say it is about the same.
UPDATE 2: Greens supporters on Twitter are taking umbrage at the wording of the following Essential Research question:
The Coalition, Labor and the Greens all support changes that would make it harder for small parties to be elected to Senate. Would you approve or disapprove of such changes?
And I agree to the extent that I don’t think they should be providing partisan respondents with cues as to what their party’s position is.