The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll, which is presumably the last of the year, features the pollster’s monthly-or-so leadership ratings: Scott Morrison is down four on approval to 62%, his weakest result since April, and up three on disapproval to 28%; Anthony Albanese is up three on approval to 43% and down four on disapproval to 29%; and Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister is at 50-24, narrowing from 53-24.
As it does at the end of every year, the pollster asked respondents if they felt it had been a good or a bad year for various actors, which produces appropriately extraordinary results, particularly so for the Australian economy (a net rating of minus 47%), small business (minus 43%) and “the average Australian” (minus 32%). However, the minus 7% result for “Australian politics in general” was quite a lot better than any recorded over the previous seven years.
Respondents were also asked if Australia’s relationships with various foreign players should become more or less closer, or remain the same. This produces a notably negative result for China, with 49% wanting a less close relationship, 15% more close and 20% the same. Closer relationships are generally desired with, in descending order, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the European Union. Sixty-two per cent considered Australia “the innocent victim of Chinese assertion in restricting trade on certain products, but a non-trivial 38% felt Australia had “made itself a target by publicly criticising the Chinese government”. Fifty-six per cent felt Scott Morrison was right to demand an apology from the Chinese government over the recent Twitter spat, leaving 44% of respondents (the smart ones) favouring the alternative that he “should have let the issue be handled
through diplomatic channels”.
A question on the federal government’s proposed workplace relations reforms finds 52% expecting they will favour employers and businesses, 17% that they will favour employees, and 31% that they will strike a balance between the two. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Monday from a sample of 1071.