With Newspoll holding its fire ahead of tonight’s budget, the one new federal poll for the week is the regular fortnightly result from Essential Research – which, The Guardian reports, has maintained its recent form in recording Labor’s lead unchanged at 53-47. Primary votes to follow with the publication of the full report later today. The poll also features Essential’s monthly leadership ratings, which have Malcolm Turnbull on 40% approval (up one) and 42% disapproval (steady), Bill Shorten on 37% approval (up two) and 41% disapproval (down two), and Turnbull leading 40-26 as preferred prime minister, little changed from 41-26 last time.
As related in The Guardian’s report, other questions relate to what respondents would like in the budget, of which the most interesting findings would seem to be an 11% increase for “assistance for the unemployed” compared with last year, along with 8% increases for age pensions, affordable housing and assistance for the needy. The most favoured categories overall are health care, age pensions, education and affordable housing; the least favoured are foreign aid, business assistance and the military. Eighteen per cent expect the budget to be good for them personally (up eight on last year) compared with 24% for bad (down six), and 39% now rate the economy good (up six since November) compared with 24% for bad.
Note also the post below this one on the looming Western Australian state by-election in Darling Range.
UPDATE: Full results from Essential Research here. Both major parties are up a point on the primary vote, the Coalition to 38% and Labor to 37%, with the Greens down one to 10% and One Nation down two to 6%.