Bernard Keane at Crikey reports the first Essential Research poll for the year has the two-party vote at the same place as the final poll last year, with the Coalition leading 54-46. Also featured are leaders’ personal ratings which you can read about at the link. More to follow.

UPDATE: Full post here. The voting intention figures are a rolling average of the last result last year and the first result this year – Essential advises me that in both periods the result was 54-46. Results to questions on leadership approval are derived as always from this week’s sample only. Both leaders are up three on approval and down two on disapproval since a month ago, Julia Gillard to 37 per cent and 52 per cent, Tony Abbott to 35 per cent and 51 per cent. Preferred prime minister is little changed, Gillard’s lead going from 39-35 to 39-36. It should be noted that polls conducted over the new year period are often thought to be unreliable, although neither Essential nor Morgan has produced anything out of the ordinary.