Labor is divided, out of touch with ordinary people, and doesn’t have good leaders. And even some Labor sympathisers are saying it.
The latest polling from Essential Research maps out a party very clearly and comprehensively on the nose. Respondents were asked to give a positive or negative response to the two major parties on a range of factors. Labor is lost in a sea of red ink, while the Coalition is holding steady and is therefore well ahead.
Unsurprisingly, after a disastrous spell in which a faux challenge launched against Julia Gillard’s leadership failed, sending key ALP talent packing to the backbench, 82% of those polled think Labor is divided (73% said that a year ago; three years ago 36% gave that response).
There’s been a jump in those who think Labor is out of touch with ordinary people, to 63% (a year ago it was 58%). Some 38% of those polled thought Labor was “extreme” (up seven points in a year), and just 39% thought the ALP “understands the problems facing Australia” (a seven-point drop). Less than a quarter of respondents thought Labor “has a good team of leaders”.
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Meanwhile, the Coalition is holding steady in the public regard — and on some indicators, people are slowly warming to Tony Abbott’s team. The Coalition was rated as having good leadership material by 41% of those polled, a small rise on a year ago. Just 32% thought the Abbott team was divided, a drop of five points on a year ago, and a much better number than two or three years ago. And more people think the Coalition has a vision for the future (52%).
People are not overjoyed at the thought of an Abbott government, however. Some 67% think the Coalition would “promise to do anything to win votes”, a number that has been pretty constant over time. And 59% think the Coalition is too close to the big end of town.
When the two major parties went head to head on the 12 factors rated by Essential, the Coalition won on 10 of them. Labor leads the Coalition on “looks after the interests of working people” (and even there it was only by 42 to 40%), and in not being so close to the big end of town.
On voting intention, Essential indicates Labor has had a horror fortnight. The party’s primary vote has slipped from 35% to 31%, with the lost votes cleaving between the Coalition and the Greens to give a two-party preferred wipeout result of 56% to 44% in the Coalition’s favour. That compares with the slightly less disastrous result of 54% to 46% a fortnight ago.
As bad as Labor’s voting intention numbers are, however, they are very close to what they were four weeks ago. Rock bottom, perhaps?