The latest Essential Research poll is unchanged on last week’s result, except that the Greens are up a point to 10 per cent – Labor is on 35 per cent, the Coalition is on 48 per cent, and two-party preferred is 54-46. Further questions relate to mandatory pre-commitment, with support at 62 per cent (one point higher than when they last asked the question in October) and opposition at 25 per cent (five points lower), and “additional” government assistance to the car industry (58 per cent support, 18 per cent oppose). As they do from time to time, Essential sought to establish whether a popular misconception played a role in the latter issue, in this case that the car industry employs more people than it actually does, but two-thirds of respondents simply said they didn’t know. Also covered: “most important roles of government”, best party to handle issues (Labor leads Liberal only on “providing support to the most disadvantaged”), and the status of manufacturing industry more generally.

UPDATE: We also had from Roy Morgan on Friday their occasional exercise of inquiring about the best leader for both parties, and it has Kevin Rudd’s lead over Julia Gillard widening from 31-24 to 33-19 since early November, and Malcolm Turnbull’s lead over Tony Abbott about stable (from 38-24 to 37-22). As usual, an anyone-but-the-incumbent sentiment from the parties’ opponents was a considerable factor.