The Coalition would win a close election held today in the wake of proposed taxation changes and the federal Budget, according to a special Morgan telephone poll.

The poll — conducted over the last two nights (May 12/13) — found support for the ALP at 36% (down 3.5% in a week), the Liberal-National Coalition at 46% (up 1.5%), the Greens on 11.5% (up 2.5%), Family First at 2% (up 0.5%) and Others on 4.5% (down 1%).

In two-party-preferred terms, the Coalition is on 52% (up 2%) to ALP on 48%.

The poll shows the Budget is seen as ‘average’ (60%) but more likely to make unemployment worse (22%) than reduce jobless queues (13%), and more likely to increase inflation (30%) than decrease it (10%).

This latest poll was taken before Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s Budget reply delivered last night.

And the majority of Australian electors (52%, up 7% in a week) disapprove of Kevin Rudd’s proposed new 40% mining “super profits” tax — 41% (down 6%) approve and 7 % are undecided according to the poll.

Pollster Gary Morgan said the “lukewarm” response to the Budget compared unfavourably to the last “successful” pre-election Budget, Peter Costello’s in 2004. “Although 19% considered the Budget good, and only 11% said it was a bad Budget, this is much less favourable than the Howard Government’s last successful election year federal Budget in May 2004 — which 27% of electors described as a good Budget compared to 12% bad,” he said..

Meanwhile, Rudd’s approval rating continues to plummet, down six points from last week:

morganpollHowever, in the leadership stakes, Rudd remains the preferred ALP leader over Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Rudd stands at 34% in the poll of electors (down 9% since January 13/14), ahead of Gillard (26%, down 1%). Other candidates — Treasurer Wayne Swan (8%, up 3%), Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner (8%, up 4%) and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith (6%, up 3%) — have all increased their support since January.

Interestingly, former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull (29%, up 13%) is once again preferred as Liberal Party leader equally ahead of Abbott (27%, down 3%) and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey (27%, down 1%). All three candidates are well ahead of Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop (4%, down 2%), Andrew Robb (2%, unchanged) and Christopher Pyne (1%, down 1%).

Amongst Liberal Party voters Abbott (42%, down 7%) is still preferred despite a fall ahead of Hockey (32%, up 8%) and Turnbull (19%, up 6%).