GhostWhoVotes tweets that the first post-carbon tax announcement Newspoll is one of the happier poll results for the government of the past fortnight: the Coalition’s two-party lead has eased to 56-44 from 58-42 a fortnight ago and support for the carbon tax is up six points to 36 per cent, with opposition down six to 53 per cent. On the primary vote, Labor is up two points to 29 per cent, the Coalition is down two to 47 per cent and the Greens are up one to 13 per cent. Julia Gillard has gained two points on approval to 32 per cent, but her disapproval remains stuck on 59 per cent. Tony Abbott is down three on approval to 39 per cent and up three on disapproval to 52 per cent, and has only just maintained his lead as preferred prime minister, dropping two points to 41 per cent with Gillard up two to 40 per cent.

We also had from the Herald-Sun yesterday a poll of 625 voters in Julia Gillard’s electorate of Lalor, conducted by JWS Research using its usual methodology of automated phone calls. The company has had a rather patchy record with its previous political polling, and the latest survey has been criticised for asking respondents attitudinal questions before proceeding to voting intention. It points to a 14 per cent swing against Gillard – solidly higher than the trend of recent national polling – although she still leads 58-42 on two-party preferred. Gillard has a four-point net positive approval rating among her own constituents, but the carbon tax is opposed by 43 per cent compared with 33 per cent in support. Fifty-seven per cent rate her “honest and trustworthy” (either quite or very), with 34 per cent opting for the negative.

UPDATE: Bernard Keane in Crikey reports the latest Essential Research result has the Coalition lead at 55-45, down from 56-44 last week and 57-43 the week before. Labor’s primary vote is up a point to 32 per cent, and the Coalition’s down one to 48 per cent. However, Tony Abbott’s policy of scrapping the carbon tax has the support of 50 per cent of respondents, with only 36 per cent opposed. There are also questions on trust in the media, which is found to have “slumped dramatically in recent months”. Trust in daily newspapers rates in the low 50s, television and radio news and current affairs in the high 40s and talk radio in the low 30s. With respect to specific outlets, the ABC and broadsheets are more trusted than the commercial media and tabloids. Fifty-eight per cent say the government should not allow one company to own the majority of Australia’s major newspapers – as News Limited does – which is up from 50 per cent since the question was last asked in November.

UPDATE 2: Full Essential Research report here.