The Australian has brought us the first Newspoll result of the year, and it supports the trend of other polling in suggesting nothing much has changed over the new year break. The Coalition’s two-party lead remains at 53-47, from primary votes of Coalition 46% (up one), Labor 34% (up one) and Greens 11% (down one). Bill Shorten has at least made up ground on preferred prime minister, which Malcolm Turnbull now leads 59-20, down from 60-14 in the last poll in December. The poll also records 54% opposition to an increase in the goods and services tax to 15% accompanied by tax cuts and compensation, with 37% in support. Stay tuned for Turnbull’s and Shorten’s personal ratings.
UPDATE: The Australian’s report relates that Turnbull is on 53% approval and 31% disapproval, which is up a point on both counts since the last poll, while Shorten is up two to 25% and down one to 60%.
UPDATE 2: A second tranche of results from the poll finds 71% favouring an election late in the year compared with only 21% for an election in the first half of the year. Opinions on Tony Abbott’s future are finely balanced: 46% would have him remain in politics (26% on the front bench, 20% on the back bench), while 45% want him to bow out at the next election.
UPDATE 3 (Essential Research): The latest two-week rolling average from Essential Research has the Coalition lead back to 51-49 after its brief stay at 52-48 last week, from primary votes of Coalition 44% (steady), Labor 35% (steady) and Greens 11% (up one). Further results suggest a curious drop in support for a republic since Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister, with support down three since September to 36% and opposition up two to 31%. When specified that the change might occur at the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, support goes up to 45%, with opposition at 29%. Fifty-six per cent think it likely that Australia will one day be a republic, compared with 24% unlikely. Despite this, there is broad opposition to changing the flag (33% support, 55% oppose), the national anthem (28% support, 54% oppose) and the date of Australia Day (23% support, 59% oppose).
A semi-regular question on trust in various media sources finds a slight across-the-board improvement since June last year, without disturbing the usual pattern of public broadcasting being viewed more favourably than the commercial media, and straight news being rated higher than opinion in its various forms. However, a question on individual newspapers finds opinions of The Australian, the Daily Telegraph and the Herald-Sun have improved, while the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Courier-Mail have not. This all but eliminates the gap between The Australian and the Fairfax titles, although the News Corp tabloids (particularly the Courier-Mail) continue to trail the pack.