As the Prime Minister’s campaign rolls into western Sydney, polling from Essential Research shows Labor’s primary vote collapsing to the lows of mid-2012.

The Gillard government’s primary vote has dropped to just 32%, down two points in a week and bringing Essential into line with the dire primary vote levels for Labor in last week’s Newspoll (which had Labor at 31%) and Fairfax’s Nielsen poll the week before (30%). The Coalition’s primary vote remains unchanged at 49%. With the Greens picking up a point to 10%, the two-party preferred vote remains steady on 56-44 for the Coalition.

Last week’s announcement by Greens leader Christine Milne that her party was abandoning its agreement with Labor due to (amongst other things) the mining tax has been seen by respondents as a decent move by the Greens but one that reflects badly on the government. Essential polling shows a third of respondents saw it as good news for the Greens, with 26% viewing it negatively. In comparison, 40% saw it as a bad decision for the Labor Party — despite reassurances from the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese and others that cutting ties with the Greens was no big deal.

Partisans tended to see the decision differently: Labor voters thought it was better for the government than the Greens; Greens voters thought it better for the Greens than the government. Liberal voters tended to agree with the Greens voters.

Essential Research focuses on the Greens this week, noting that 67% of Greens voters approve of Christine Milne as leader, although only 20% of all respondents think she’s doing a good job as Bob Brown’s replacement. More than half (52%) of voters think the Greens’ policies are “too extreme”, a rise of 5% since this question was last asked in November 2012.

Regarding the Mineral Resources Rent Tax, 50% of respondents believe it should be either maintained in its current form or amended to raise more money, while only 28% want it dumped altogether. Nearly half of all Coalition voters want the tax scrapped, although only 9% of Labor voters did. Voters in Queensland (35%) were more likely to want it abandoned, while Victorian voters (35%) were more likely to want it amended.

Forty-five percent of Greens voters say they are leaning in on direction come September’s election, but that they haven’t made up their minds yet. More importantly, 30% of Liberal/National voters haven’t yet firmly decided on who they’ll be supporting.

Just 35% of voters under 35 say they have chosen who’ll they vote for this federal election.

Peter Fray

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