Support for the ALP has fallen, according to the latest polling from Roy Morgan Research, while another Morgan Poll lets us identify the extent of soft Labor support that may still go back to the Coalition.

Labor still has a firm two-party-preferred lead, 57.5% to the Government’s 42.5%. Labor’s lead, however, has dropped back by 2.5 points while the Government’s support has increased by the same amount.

The primary vote splits 49% to Labor (down 2.5%), 37.5% for the Coalition (up 2.5%), 6% for the Greens (down two) and 7.5% for others.

A solid majority of voters, however, still believe Labor will win the next election – 55% (unchanged) to 33, with 13% undecided.

However, a second Morgan Poll gives us further insights into the outcome of the federal election.

The telephone poll finds that 57% of Australian electors think Australia is “heading in the right direction”, while 32% think Australia is “heading in the wrong direction” and 11% can’t say.

Some 84% of those who intend to vote for the Coalition Government at the upcoming election think Australia is heading the right direction, compared with just 43% of ALP supporters. Some 46% of ALP supporters think Australia is heading in the wrong direction compared with just 7% of Coalition supporters.

Western Australians — 68% — are the most likely to think Australia is heading the right direction, while residents of New South Wales are the least likely to think Australia is heading the right direction, albeit still with a slender majority of 52%.

Pollster Gary Morgan says:

Despite the Coalition Government lagging well behind in the Morgan Poll since early December, a majority of Australian electors think Australia is heading in the right direction, while less than one-third think Australia is heading the wrong direction.

However, after analysing the results by federal voting intention, it is clear that how electors perceive the direction our country is heading depends upon what end of the political spectrum they come from.

Despite not intending to vote for the Coalition, 43% of ALP supporters — 21% of all electors — believe Australia is heading in the right direction.

Some of these soft ALP voters who could switch back to the Coalition when the election is held.

Morgan says the poll of voting intention shows the Therese Rein IR scandal has had a negative effect on ALP support:

In interviews conducted on the weekend after details emerged about the Australian arm of Rein’s company underpaying some of its workers, primary support for the ALP was down and support for the Coalition was up. Unfortunately for the ALP and the unions the mistake Rein’s company made will not be forgotten by Coalition strategists when full scale campaigning begins.

Interestingly, Newspoll’s most recent release showed a 5% jump in support for Labor despite the Therese Rein scandal. Similarly confusing, Newspoll showed a reduction in support for the Coalition Government after Peter Costello released details of a big-spending Budget that included a wide range of tax cuts.