Labor’s lead remains steady at 52-48 in this week’s reading of the Essential Research fortnight rolling average, from primary votes of 38% for the Coalition (steady), 35% for Labor 35% (down one), 9% for Greens 9% (down one) and 9% for One Nation (up one), whose curious resurgence was the subject of an article I had in Crikey on Monday. Also featured are Essential’s monthly leadership ratings, which find Malcolm Turnbull down one on approval to 36% and down three on disapproval to 45%; Bill Shorten steady at 34% and down two to 43%; and Turnbull leading 39-26 on preferred prime minister, up from 39-31 last month. In other findings, the poll also records only 17% saying the recent budget improved their perception of the government, compared with 30% saying it made it worse; a 41-32 majority in favour of a clean energy target if it resulted in price rises of 5%, turning into a 50-21 deficit if they rose 10%; and 64% favouring investment in renewables in a no-strings-attached question compared with 18% for coal.
Also out yesterday was the Lowy Institute’s annual survey on Australian attitudes to international affairs and the direction of the country. Among many other things, the results find Australians continuing to rate the alliance with the United States highly (53% very important and 29% fairly important, recovering to near 2015 levels after a dip to 42% and 29% last year), with Donald Trump’s influence on perceptions of the US rating slightly less badly than George W. Bush in 2007 (60% said Trump contributed to an unfavourable opinion of the United States against 37% for no, compared with 69% and 27% for Bush). However, the proportion of respondents rating the US as Australia’s best friend has slumped from 35% to 17% since 2014, with the beneficiary being New Zealand, up from 32% to 53%. Only 20% now say they have a “great deal” of trust in the US to act responsibly in the world, compared with 40% in 2011.