The Australian’s latest fortnightly Newspoll is a minor breakthrough for Labor, putting them ahead 53-47 after a series of 52-48s. Labor is up one on the primary vote to 38%, with the Coalition and Greens steady on 39% and 10%. Malcolm Turnbull is up one on approval to 30% and one on disapproval to 51%, with Bill Shorten unchanged at 36% and 51%, and Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister unchanged at 42-32. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1846.
UPDATE (Essential Research): The latest reading of the Essential Research fortnight rolling average likewise has Labor moving to a lead of 53-47, after two weeks of respite for the Coalition at 52-48. However, the primary votes are all but unchanged after rounding, with the Coalition on 38%, Labor on 37%, the Greens on 10%, One Nation on 6%, and the Nick Xenophon Team up a point to 3%. Monthly leadership ratings find Malcolm Turnbull down two on approval to 36% and up three on disapproval to 44%, Bill Shorten down three to 34% and up three to 43%, and Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister shifting from 41-28 to 40-28.
The poll also ventures into American matters, with some fascinating results. Respondents overwhelmingly perceived things as being better in Australia than the United States over a range of issue areas, the biggest gap being 78% to 5% for access to health care, and the smallest being 38% to 19% for opportunities to succeed in business. Only on international influence was the US granted to be “better”, by 46% to 24%. Fifty-two per cent thought American influence to be weakening, with only 19% taking the opposite view. Hillary Clinton was favoured by 59% compared with 19% for Donald Trump, and Clinton was heavily favoured for all listed issues, with the strongest being relations with Australia (54% to 10%) and the weakest being preventing terrorist attacks in Australia (33% to 15%, with a particularly high 38% for makes no difference).
The government’s contentious new law on boat arrivals have strong support, with 56% approval and 29% disapproval. The view that the government is too tough on asylum seekers is up three points since August to 23%, while too soft is down five to 24%, but “the right approach” gains six to 37%, with don’t know down four to 15%.