The first Newspoll for the year, and the third under the new YouGov online polling regime, finds Labor opening up a 51-49 lead, after they trailed 52-48 in the poll in early December. On the primary vote, the Coalition is down two to 40%, Labor up three to 36%, the Greens up one to 12% and One Nation down one to 4%. Perhaps more remarkably, Scott Morrison now trails Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister by 43-39, after leading him 48-34 in the previous poll. The damage on Morrison’s personal ratings amounts to an eight point drop on approval to 37% and an eleven point rise on disapproval to 59%. Conversely, Albanese is up six on approval to 46% and down four on disapproval to 37%. The Australian’s report is here; the poll was conducted from Wednesday to Saturday from a sample of 1505.
UPDATE (Essential Research): The Guardian has numbers from the first Essential Research poll of the year, but they disappointingly offer nothing on voting intention. What they do provide is corroboration for Newspoll’s finding that Anthony Albanese has taken the lead over Scott Morrison as preferred prime minister, in this case at 39-36, which compares with a 44-28 lead to Morrison when Essential last asked the question in early November. We are told that Scott Morrison is up nine on disapproval to 52% and that Anthony Albanese is up four on approval to 43% – their respective approval and disapproval ratings will have to wait for the full Essential report, which will presumably be with us later today or tomorrow. UPDATE: Morrison is down five on approval to 40%, Albanese is up two on disapproval to 30%. Full report here.
Despite everything, the poll finds 32% approving of Morrison’s handling of the bushfire crisis, which may be related to the fact that his approval rating was down only three among Coalition voters. The Guardian tells us only that 36% strongly disapproved of Morrison’s performance, to which the less strong measure of disapproval will need to be added to produce an equivalent figure for the 32% approval. Fifty-two per cent disagreed that Australia had always had bushfires like those just experienced, and 78% believe the government had been unprepared for them. Efforts to shift blame to the states do not appear to have borne fruit: Gladys Berejiklian’s handling of the bushfires scored 55% approval among New South Wales respondents, while Daniel Andrews was on 58% (these numbers would have come from small sub-samples of around 300 to 400 respondents).
The poll also offers a timely addition to the pollster’s leaders attributes series. The findings for the various attributes in this serious invariably move en bloc with the leaders’ general standing, and Morrison is accordingly down across the board. However, a clear standout is his collapse from 51% to 32% for “good in a crisis”, on which he was up 10% the last time the question was posed in October. Other unfavourable movements related in The Guardian range from a six-point increase in “out of touch with ordinary Australians“ to 62% to a 12 point drop on “visionary” to 30%.
More on all this when the full report is published. The poll was conducted online from Tuesday to Sunday from a sample of 1081.