The catastrophic fall in Labor’s vote has ended, according to Essential Media’s latest poll, but it remains stuck on a two-party preferred outcome of 50:50, and the Coalition is strengthening its primary vote.

In the latest poll, undertaken last week and over the weekend, Labor’s primary vote strengthened slightly to 38% but so did the Coalition’s, to 43%, leaving the 2PP indicator unchanged from last week.

Voter reaction to the Budget was mixed, with slightly more believing it was personally bad for them than good (22% to 26%), and more believing it was poor for business than good (27%-32%), but a greater number seeing it as overall good for the economy — 36% to 28%.

But 39% of voters felt the Government had not done enough to reduce the deficit, despite the government’s trumpeting of its early return to surplus. That too was balanced by a strong endorsement that the Australian economy was “heading in the right direction” — 51-25%.

On the question of who was best at handling the economy, the government finds itself 3% adrift of the Coalition, 33-36%, although a similar (though slightly different) question in late January had a bigger gap between Labor and the Coalition.

Meanwhile, Possum Comitatus reports on Pollytics:

This fortnight’s Newspoll comes in via The Australian with the primaries running 37 (up 2)/43 (steady) to the Coalition, washing out into a two-party preferred of 50/50 — a one point gain since last fortnight. The Greens are on 12 (up 2), while the broad Others are 8 (down 4). This comes from a sample of 1159, giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 2.9% mark.

This is what last fortnight’s poll should probably have looked like, with the Others vote back down to a sensible 8 and the ALP vote above 35. Only the luck of last election’s preference flows stopped the two-party preferred from looking odd last time.

This is probably one of the only times you’ll ever see a two-point gain to the ALP primary, a two-point gain to the Greens and yet only a one-point gain in the ALP two party preferred — it’s not a conspiracy mind you, just the rounding issues playing out with the polls over the last fortnight.

Read more at Pollytics