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Essential: they’re arrogant and out of touch, Gillard and Abbott

Julia Gillard is seen as a vastly less capable, intelligent and hard-working leader than she was two years ago, new polling reveals. While half of the electorate thought they could trust her in July 2010, only a quarter say the same thing now.

And yet her opponent Tony Abbott records similar disapproval figures in the Essential Research poll, with most voters maintaining he is untrustworthy, arrogant and out of touch.

Essential’s online panel has assessed both leaders on key indicators since July 2010. In that time Gillard has suffered significant falls in the number of people who find her intelligent (61%, down 26%), hard-working (65%, down 24%) and a capable leader (38%, down 34%). More voters find her arrogant (53%, up 5%) and “out of touch with ordinary people” (65%, up 5%).

On the question of trust, 49% of respondents said Gillard was trustworthy in 2010 while only 25% maintain that opinion now. That figure dropped a further 5% since the last time the question was asked in June 2011.

Abbott’s approval ratings across the same indicators have fallen less markedly since 2010. Less voters find him intelligent (56%, down 14%), hard-working (68%, down 8%) and a capable leader (41%, down 6%). He is also more arrogant, superficial and less visionary, though he has maintained a level of trustworthiness — just 32%, down 1% — over the last two years.

Gillard actually stacks up well against Abbott in key areas. Voters believe she is more intelligent and less arrogant and narrow-minded; the leaders compare similarly as being capable and having vision. But the trust question remains: there’s a seven-point gap between Gillard (25%) and Abbott (32%). Neither leader can be trusted, but voters will take the opposition leader marginally in a two-horse race.

Unlike today’s Nielsen poll — which shows Labor’s primary vote falling a dizzying seven points — there’s no immediate cause for concern in the Essential figures. Another point has been sliced from Labor’s primary vote, with the Liberals and the Greens adding a point to their tally. The two-party preferred split is now at 55:45% — a 10-point gap to the Coalition.

Essential’s poll of 1034 voters also asked the question of superannuation payments and the federal government’s plan to increase compulsory contributions from 9% to 12% by 2019-20. Most agree, regardless of their party support, with 69% supporting the decision and just 13% opposed.

And voters believe employers can wear the cost: 58% say the increase to their contribution is “reasonable and affordable” as opposed to the 19%, not surprisingly, who believe employees should bear the cost by accepting lower pay rises.

Meanwhile, most voters say government is too big. But then, with these leaders it’s not hard to see why …

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  • 1
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Monday, 2 April 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    These frigging polls don’t mean anything.

    Go off and read George M’s Trivial Pursuit and then take a long holiday in Kabul or Baghdad and leave us all alone.

  • 2
    MAREE WHITTON
    Posted Monday, 2 April 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to see the other side of Julia Gillard and the Labour Party with their Green friends but I have to say I find Tony Abbot an embarrassment. Does he ever work, whenever we get to see him he is on his bike dressed in lycra riding up some highway. He must have a very good support team who do all his work for him and keep him up to date. Perhaps this is why he is always apologising for saying the wrong thing. I wish the Liberal Party could and would find themselves a new leader.

  • 3
    geomac
    Posted Monday, 2 April 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Had Abbott convinced enough MPs to form a minority government his polling would be even lower than at present . He would have reneged on his assurances to go full term . It would be back to the polls as quick as possible and if that didn,t get the desired result then a dash for a double dissolution . All the while the act of governing would be secondary to attaining majority status . If Abbott gets in in 2013 then maybe this may change as retaining office might take precedence over losing it by mismanagement in a first term . Before losing his first election as leader Abbott had no such concerns and it was all about winning government . Its all a game to Abbott the pedal cretin . I back carbon tax as the best way to tackle pollution one day then later its the worst policy to adopt . Greg Hunt is a zealous advocate of carbon pricing until he gets a new leader then he becomes a less zealous but still a supporter of direct action ( inaction ) . Figure that one out and tell me they are serious about anything .

  • 4
    Barbara Boyle
    Posted Monday, 2 April 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    How I long for a vintage crop of Independents for the next election.A Tony Windsor or an Andrew Wilkie in every seat,perhaps?
    Although it WAS risible seeing Tony Abbot agreeing with super frumps last week who could find nothing else to critisize about the PM than her dress?
    Once a rusted on Lib supporter, now I shudder at the current line-up: so scary.

  • 5
    Tim of Altona
    Posted Monday, 2 April 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    It is what it is - Abbott as Liberal leader offers Labor it’s greatest opportunity to limit the carnage at the next election - Labor will still lose with Abbott as Liberal leader however keeping Abbott ensconced in the Liberal leadership ensures federal Labor will not be subjected to a QLD type decimation. This is quite a dilemma for Labor strategists writing the daily scripts - they know that demonizing Abbott at every opportunity is hitting home with the electorate, yet if they go too hard and are too successful they risk Malcolm Turnbull retaking the Liberal leadership which will almost assure a QLD type decimation for Labor. The message to the Lib’s is clear - return Malcolm Turnbull to the party leadership to ensure Labor occupy the federal opposition benches for at least 3 terms. Apart from Abbott’s ego taking a huge hit, this is almost a no risk strategy with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Tony Abbott will make a fine senior minister in a Turnbull government. It is what it is.

  • 6
    sickofitall
    Posted Monday, 2 April 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    I am reminded of bob Menzies advice to holt: look after Artie.

  • 7
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Monday, 2 April 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s been obvious from the start that both Gillard and Abbott are intrinsically unattractive, and this poll confirms that. So the great gulf between the parties is not about personality of the leaders. It’s about the carbon tax and other policies as well as perceived incompetence/trust.

    Gillard’s banality (etc) matches Abbott’s boorishness, Jesuitical Catholicism (etc) , so let’s look at policies and implementation instead…

    Climate change” is at the root of the govt’s woes- the carbon tax, the pile of rorted/silly schemes now abandoned, declining belief in climate millenarianism…

    The ALP is hoist on its own petard- the deal with the Greens. Too late to change now, innit? I doubt if the unctuous, ambitious Shorten would take a chance on a coup…better to bide his time in Opposition.

  • 8
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Tuesday, 3 April 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Jason,

    The real story here mate is how Essential conducts its “polling”. Have a look at the fine print on their reports - usually a footnote on page 11 from memory.

    A pool of 130,000 on-line market survey respondents who are rewarded for their participation … send out 7,000 emails… those interested send in a response… from all over the place, or maybe all from Brunswick… really shocking methods, cheap and totally useless.

    I realise Essential does a bit of polling for the ALP but I cannot understand why Cr*key feels obliged to give them a free ad every time they cough one of these things out. I reckon it’s a bit cash-for-comment myself.

    A disclosure statement outlining any commercial links between Cr*key and Essential would be rather prudent, don’t you think?

  • 9
    fitzpatrick don
    Posted Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Mr Abbott’s right into the fray
    spouting his bullshit each day
    but remember twas he
    who said on TV
    “You can’t believe all that I say

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