The federal election remains on a knife’s edge, Essential Research reports, with Labor bleeding a point in two-party preferred polling in the past week ahead of its campaign launch today and a frantic five-day run to the line.

Hopes of a Labor surge in support, as reflected in Newspoll figures today, isn’t shown in Essential’s figures. Its latest online poll of 2000-plus voters finds Labor’s 2PP lead slipping to 51%, ahead of the Coalition on 49%. It’s the closest result recorded by Essential since the campaign started.

There’s been a two-point turnaround in primary voting preference, with Labor dropping to 39% and the Coalition climbing to 44%. The Greens maintain a 10% approval rating, after falling from 13% a fortnight ago. Essential has shown the lowest level of support for the Greens among all pollsters.


There’s little movement in personal approval ratings, with Julia Gillard climbing a point to 46% approval (her disapproval ratings remains steady at 40%), while Tony Abbott also jumps a point but remains behind on 41% approval (44% disapproval).

Head-to-head, 46% believe Julia Gillard would make a better prime minister (up one point) ahead of Tony Abbott on 35% (up two points).

Gillard’s attention on the economy in the final week of the campaign is backed by Essential. Asked which leader would better handle another financial crisis should it eventuate, 42% named the Labor leader while 35% nominated Tony Abbott and the Liberals.