Essential Research is back in business, its first poll for the new year no change on Labor’s 53-47 lead in the final poll last year. Both major parties are on 38% on the primary votes, which is a two-point improvement for Labor and a one-point improvement for the Coalition. Minor party primary votes will have to wait for the publication of the full report later today. In a spirit of seasonal goodwill, monthly leadership ratings find both leaders well up on disapproval – by five points in Morrison’s case to 39%, and four in Shorten’s case to 47% – while Morrison is up one on approval to 42% and Shorten is unchanged on 35%.
As related by The Guardian, further questions mostly focused on the recent far right rally in St Kilda, the most interesting finding being that 48% thought Scott Morrison “demonstrated poor leadership by not immediately condemning the rally, and those who attended it, in stronger terms”, compared with 36% who disagreed. Only 22% thought it appropriate for Senator Fraser Anning to “use taxpayer money to attend the rally”, with 66% saying it was appropriate; 74% felt there was ”no place in Australian society for the use of racist and fascist symbols used by participants in the rally”, whereas 17% were apparently all in favour of them; and that 73% nonetheless felt that “Australians have the right to peacefully protest, no matter how extreme their views”, while 19% didn’t.
The poll also find 63% support for pill testing, although the question was very particular about the specifics, specifying circumstances in which “trained counsellors provide risk-reduction advice informed by on-site laboratory analysis of people’s drugs”.
UPDATE: Full report here. The Greens are down a point to 10%, and One Nation are steady on 7%.