Treasurer Joe Hockey’s standing with voters has slumped in the wake of the budget, with just 35% of voters approving of his performance, according to today’s Essential Report. However, the Coalition has managed to hang on to its polling gains since the MH17 disaster.
Forty-four per cent of voters disapprove of the Treasurer’s performance, including 13% of Coalition voters. That’s a reversal of his standing since November, when 45% of voters approved of his performance and just 28% disapproved. Hockey’s approval is noticeably lower among women (30%) than men (40%). However, Hockey holds a comfortable lead over shadow treasurer Chris Bowen: 34% trust Hockey to handle the economy, compared to 23% for Bowen, though a remarkable 43% profess to not know, including 23% of Coalition voters.
Voters on balance don’t approve of the government’s proposal to require job-seekers to apply for 40 jobs a month, with 48% voicing disapproval compared to 44% who approve, including 30% of Liberal voters (possibly small business owners who’ll be swamped with applications). Opposition was strong not merely among Labor and Greens voters but also among other/Palmer United voters, 57% of whom opposed it. However, there was strong support for extending Work for the Dole to all Newstart recipients, with 68% of voters approving of it and just 25% opposing it. Even 53% of Labor and Greens voters support it, with 40% of Labor voters disapproving and 38% of Greens voters opposed.
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Voters also support sending Australian Federal Police officers to the MH17 crash site, but would prefer if they were armed and had the approval of the Ukrainian government. Fifty-one per cent of voters support sending unarmed AFP officers (which the Abbott government has done), but 64% support sending armed officers. However, just 26% support doing it without the support of the Ukrainian government.
On voting intention, the two-party preferred outcome remains at 51%-49% in favour of Labor, with the Coalition primary vote on 41% (no change), Labor on 39% (up a point), the Greens unchanged on 9% and PUP down a point to 4%.