The smear campaign against the Prime Minister over her involvement in a union scandal in the early 1990s appears to have had some success, with Julia Gillard's run of improving approval ratings coming to an end in polling from Essential Research.

The Prime Minister's net disapproval rating increased by 8 points, with her approval rating falling from 41% in November to 37%, and her disapproval rating up from 49% to 53%. Female voters in particular shifted negatively, with a previous 0 net approval rating among women becoming a -10 point rating.