There’s been little change in the public’s approval of the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader  in today’s Essential Report, with Julia Gillard maintaining her net disapproval rating and Tony Abbott slightly reducing his.

Gillard’s approval and disapproval ratings fell a point each to 31% and 57% respectively. Abbott’s approval rating rose a point to 36% and his disapproval fell two points to 51%. He also picked up a point as preferred prime minister and leads 38-36%.

A similar freeze applies to voting intention, with Labor dropping a point to 32%, the Coalition steady on 49% and the Greens on 10%, for the same 2PP outcome of 56-44%. The results suggest the winter break and the non-drama of the carbon price introduction have done little to disrupt the Coalition’s huge lead or shift voter perceptions about the Prime Minister.

There’s been a small softening in opposition to same-s-x marriage, Essential has found, with opposition slipping from 35% to 33% since early July. Support remains steady on 54%. This represents more than double the net support indicated by voters in July, when support was 49% and opposition 40%. Since July, the Tasmanian government has announced its intention to legislate in support of same-s-x marriage and South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill announced he would be supporting a Greens same-s-x marriage bill in the South Australian parliament.

Support remains weakest among Liberal voters (42% support; 44% opposition); among Labor voters, 65% support same-s-x marriage, at odds with the view of right-wing MPs who have rejected the issue as non-mainstream.