On voting intention, the latest Newspoll is no worse for Labor than usual: they trail the Coalition 55-45 on two-party preferred, their primary vote is down a point to 30 per cent, and the Coalition and the Greens are steady on 46 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. However, it seems just about every poll has an added sting in the tail for Julia Gillard these days, and this one finds her recording yet another slump on her personal ratings, which are now at a disastrous 28 per cent approval and 62 per cent disapproval. Tony Abbott by contrast is up four points on approval to 39 per cent, although his disapproval remains steady at a thoroughly unimpressive 52 per cent. Worst of all for Gillard, Abbott now leads her as preferred prime minister for the first time: 40 per cent to 39 per cent, compared with Gillard’s 41-38 lead last time.

The latest weekly Essential Research survey also has the Coalition 55-45 in front, from primary votes of 48 per cent for the Coalition (up one), 32 per cent for Labor (down one) and 11 per cent for the Greens (down one). It too has its own particular sting for Julia Gillard, finding Labor would be leading 53-47 if Kevin Rudd was leader from primary votes of 45 per cent for Labor and 42 per cent for the Coalition. However, it also finds the Coalition would be much further ahead (59-41) under Malcolm Turnbull than Tony Abbott, so it is likely there is a fair bit of mischief-making by partisan respondents going on. Nonetheless, it is hard to overlook the fact that there is an eight-point difference in the results for the two Labor contenders against a four-point difference for the Liberals.

UPDATE: Kevin Bonham in comments, responding to the assertion of Dennis Shanahan in The Australian that “only Paul Keating has had a worse personal rating than Gillard’s today”:

Depends how you measure it, but:

• If measured by net satisfaction there have been 18 worse results. One by Howard in 2001, one by Hawke in 1991 and the other sixteen by Keating, but six of Keating’s were before the election that he won. This is also true if measured by disapproval rating.

• If measured by approval rating there have been 19 worse results. One by Hawke and eighteen by Keating with eight of Keating’s before the election that he won.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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