Prime Minister Tony Abbott remains deeply unpopular with voters and the government’s modest recovery after its budget stumbles has faltered, today’s Essential Report shows -- but there is strong support for its stance toward asylum seekers.

The Prime Minister has a net approval rating of -24 (34% approval, 58% disapproval), virtually unchanged since June (-23); Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is also barely changed, with a net disapproval rating of -2 (36% to 39%, from 38%-40% in June). Shorten leads Abbott as preferred PM 37%-34%, down a point from June (40%-36%). There’s some good news for the PM -- he no longer has a big gender gap in his approval rating, with women (-26) and men (-23) now virtually indistinguishable in their view of him. The problem is, that view is overwhelmingly negative.