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Essential: Gillard, Labor’s reputation goes backwards

Labor and Julia Gillard have lost the momentum they had late last year and the Prime Minister is again as unpopular as Tony Abbott, according to today’s Essential Report.

Julia Gillard’s approval with voters has slipped significantly and she now finds herself once again as unpopular as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, today’s Essential Report finds.

The Prime Minister’s net disapproval rating with voters has fallen from -8 to -19 since January, with a five point fall in her approval rating to 36% and a six point rise in her disapproval rating to 55%. She now rejoins Tony Abbott, from whom she appeared to break free in the last quarter of 2012, in voters’ antipathy. Abbott picked up three points in approval to 36% and disapproval fell four points to 53%, giving a net disapproval of 17 points, his lowest since March last year. The Prime Minister’s lead over Abbott as preferred PM also fell seven points to two points, 39-37%.

While Gillard fell with both men and women (though she’s still much more popular with women than men), she fell significantly with Labor voters, losing 12 points on approval and gaining 12 points on disapproval among Labor voters. Part of Abbott’s recovery was a substantial fall in approval from women — his net disapproval among women fell from -31 to -21.

Labor also went backwards on trust in relation to key issues among voters, an area where the party also made progress late last year. The Coalition leads Labor on trust in handling the economy by 15 points (+1); leads by three points on health (level) and leads by three points (up one) on “protecting Australian jobs and protection of local industries”, which has now¬†displaced¬†education as the third most important issue for voters, and which has been a crucial area of Labor’s political strategy. Labor’s lead on IR shrunk from nine points to six points; its lead on education shrunk from five points to two and the Coalition lifted its lead on controlling interest rates from 11 points to 14 points.

Labor’s lead as the party with the best policies for pensioners, the unemployed, people with disabilities, carers and people on low incomes also fell across all those categories.

The Coalition also extended its lead on voting intention: the major parties stayed the same on primary vote, 48 points to 34, but the Greens dropped a point back to nine points, yielding a 2PP outcome of 55-45, up from 54-46.

While the results don’t fully reverse the gains made by Labor at the end of 2012, this is a dire poll for Labor, confirming its late-2012 momentum has vanished both for the Prime Minister herself and for the party’s brand: even as Australians enjoy a remarkable confluence of low inflation, low interest rates, low unemployment and record investment, the government’s reputation as an economic manager is failing to improve and may even be deteriorating.

Essential also found that 63% of voters preferred fixed-term elections, a view shared across voting intention. But Labor’s fare looks grim regardless of when we go to the polls.

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  • 1
    jesse mandragoria
    Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    thats the problem with these opinion polls, it says what the numbers are but doesn’t give a reason. this is left to self-prescribed “experts” to disseminate for the masses (or put their own spin and biases to the data). so the fall was among labor supporters (or the swinging votes they picked up from the coalition in the last half of 2012). was it the budget? that was a few months ago. was it the anti-discrimination laws? i doubt it. craig thomson? no real news there. mining tax? could be, gillard came out to be nowt but a shill for the mining companies, and proves to yet again blow another opportunity to make australians better off in place of placating powerfull overseas corporates with very deep pockets.

    so, who can explain to me exactly why gillards numbers have dropped so?

  • 2
    jesse mandragoria
    Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    i also wonder why australians think the coalition is better to handle the economy. theres no 200+ billion is assets to sell this time round (how much is medibank private going to net? not as much as telstra i bet).

  • 3
    JMNO
    Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    The MSM negative and somewhat hysterical reporting of last week’s election date and ministerial resignations announcements plus the ongoing drama of Craig Thompson are presumably responsible for the polling.

  • 4
    Mark from Melbourne
    Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Some analysis/hypothesis on why trends have reversed over Christmas would be interesting. The rest is just blather.

  • 5
    JMNO
    Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Not to mention Obeid in NSW.

  • 6
    Mr Tank
    Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Why? Labor is the party that thrives when it offers decency and hope. It fails when it strives for survival at any cost. The coalition does not have such a high bar to jump, its electoral requirement is only to be not frothing at the mouth when no other alternative is available. Now this poll shows that people are losing faith in Labor when it comes to looking after those such as pensioners and the unemployed. A tragedy for so many in our party who believe so passionately in its founding principles. Only a few weeks ago the story was that there was no polling advantage in raising the dole. Perhaps now they can see the disadvantage in not doing so. Tis a shame that they believe they need to quantify decency.

  • 7
    CML
    Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I have a friend who lives in Darwin, and he says the anger is white hot up there about the Nova Peris affair. He has voted Labor all his life (now retired), but will not do so again while this farce continues.
    Apparently he is hearing that the ALP in NT will seek to oust Peris after one term (3 years for an NT Senator), and replace her with Marion Scrymgour. Interesting!
    I don’t live in Darwin, but that whole episode just pointed up the lack of judgement shown by Julia Gillard. Just more of the same behaviour she has exhibited since destroying Kevin Rudd. That worked out well, didn’t it? NOT!!

  • 8
    Matty D
    Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    CML - I am from the NT too, and as angry as many people from the rest of Australia seem to be about the Peris affair, it’s nothing to the anger up here. It’s palpable.

  • 9
    Paddy Forsayeth
    Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Both parties have failed to protect the masses from the depradations of the obscenely rich. Sorry to bang on about it but Labor has been screwed by the simple taunt of “Socialist!” Julia Gillard is not Labor…she may well be ALP but the real effort to promote reasonable incomes for everyboby including Palmer, Rhinehart etc. has long been abandoned. The rich ride the sulkies drawn by the masses blinkered by the MSM. Both parties sh..t me. Where are the damned real Socialists!

  • 10
    geomac62
    Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    CML/Matty
    I have a niece managing units and houses in Darwin . When I inquired about the senate seat regarding Peris she said it wash,t a concern to tenants . Another way to put it is nobody has mentioned it , its not the oft remarked BBQ stopper . Curious term that as I,ve never been to a social get together like that where politics is discussed for more than a minute before being howled down .

  • 11
    Patriot
    Posted Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Pointless even discussing Gillard. She will be charged for her role in the AWU fraud scandal well before the election. Rudd and Shorten are the people to watch.

  • 12
    Lyne Coombes
    Posted Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    When are the voting public going to judge the various political parties on stated policy or objectives and not on who is the leader. This is not the USA.

  • 13
    F Jones
    Posted Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Gillard and the ALP have become the worst government Australia has ever seen.

  • 14
    Bevan James
    Posted Saturday, 16 February 2013 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    unbelievable how Abbott and Libs can be seen as any real alternative. We are relieved of Howard and years of mush and con about surplus, raised off the back of sale of Telstra with a smug treasurer Costello who managing during good times [in comparison to Labor and GFC] while health, hospitals, education, pensioners, immigrants, worker rights etc.,went south. Not to mention the actual lack of genuine care and insidious attitude to others less fortunate - eg. children overboard. Labor has genuinely made an effort to better the average Aussie, made mistakes, [as if any Govt doesn’t] and yet there are polls that indicate the hollow two-faced Abbott [knocked a $billion out of the health budget when Health Minister] and the empty effort, kill at any cost, fear mongering Opposition [NBN, Carbon tax, Mining Tax, etc], is still better in the polls! The Mining tax is for every Aussie’s benefit, save for that small percent who are wealthy enough for it to not affect them - 83% of profits go overseas - its our dust turned into gold for the few, and the issue is still ‘seriously’ debated? And Abbott will get rid of it! Look out Aussies if the Libs get in. Am not blindly supporting Labor, don’t care if the drover’s dog leads the party, but the ridiculous alternative to a minority Govt giving it a go, is sad and of serious concern. Many things done will certainly not be done by Libs. Wake up Australia….please

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