GhostWhoVotes relates that the latest monthly Nielsen has the Coalition leading 57-43 on two-party preferred, down from 58-42 last time. Consistent with other recent polling, it has Labor’s primary vote recovering from unprecedented lows, up three points to 30 per cent. The Coalition is steady on 48 per cent, with the Greens down a point to 12 per cent. Julia Gillard’s approval ratings are basically steady (approval up one to 33 per cent, disapproval steady on 62 per cent), but she has halved her deficit on preferred prime minister, now trailing 44-48 rather than 40-48. Tony Abbott is down two on approval to 41 per cent and up two on disapproval to 54 per cent. The poll includes yet another bad result for Julia Gillard against Kevin Rudd, who leads 61 per cent to 30 per cent, but Nielsen has at least done her a favour in extending the question to the Liberal leadership, which has Malcolm Turnbull on 44 per cent and Tony Abbott far behind on 28 per cent, with Joe Hockey also competitive on 23 per cent.

The News Limited tabloids also carry a Galaxy poll of 1009 respondents which has it at 58-42, from primary votes of 51 per cent for the Coalition, Labor on 29 per cent and the Greens on 12 per cent. Attitudinal questions produce familiar results: support for the carbon tax is at 34 per cent against 57 per cent opposed, and Kevin Rudd holding a 53 per cent to 29 per cent lead over Julia Gillard as preferred Labor leader. On the question of whether Tony Abbott would have a mandate to abolish the carbon tax if elected, the results are 60 per cent yes and 29 per cent no.

UPDATE: Essential Research shows no change on voting intention: the Coalition continues to lead 48 per cent to 33 per cent on the primary vote and 55-45 on two-party preferred, with the Greens up a point to 11 per cent. There is some relatively good news for the Prime Minister on the monthly measure of leaders’ personal ratings, in the shape of an 11-point improvement in her net approval rating after a disastrous showing in the September 12 poll. Gillard’s approval is up six points to 34 per cent and her disapproval down five to 59 per cent, and her deficit on better prime minister is down from four points (40 per cent to 36 per cent) to one (39 per cent to 38 per cent). Tony Abbott’s ratings have recorded no significant change: his approval and disapproval are both up one, to 40 per cent and 51 per cent respectively.

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A question on carbon tax gives the government slightly better results than the Galaxy poll, with 39 per cent supporting and 53 per cent opposed, but effectively unchanged on Essential’s survey of September 19. This continues a pattern where Essential Research’s online panel methodology has consistently produced less unfavourable results on this issue than phone polls. Essential also gave respondents three options for what should happen to the tax if Labor is defeated at the next election, finding 34 per cent in favour of a double dissolution to secure the repeal of the tax, with 33 per cent prepared to allow that the tax should remain “if it proves to be effective in reducing carbon pollution”. Twenty-one per cent felt it should remain in any case “to provide certainty for individuals and business”. Respondents were also asked to take their pick from 12 options to describe the positions taken by the leaders on asylum seekers, and the results provide consistently unflattering reading for Julia Gillard. The bitterest pill would be that she outscored Tony Abbott on both “too soft” (21 per cent to 7 per cent) and “too hard” (10 per cent to 6 per cent). Abbott even managed to record an effectively equal score to Gillard on his traditional negative of “just playing politics” (47 per cent to Gillard’s 46 per cent).

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Peter Fray
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