Malcolm Turnbull’s elevation to the prime ministership has delivered an immediate boost to the Coalition’s vote in today’s Essential Report, and the new Prime Minister has a massive lead as preferred prime minister over Labor’s Bill Shorten.

The Coalition’s primary vote since Turnbull became leader last Monday (that is, a one-week sample rather than Essential’s usual rolling two-week average) has lifted to 43%, with Labor on 37% and the Greens on 11%, for a two-party preferred result of 50%-50%. That compares to 52%-48% (a two-week rolling average) in Labor’s favour last week. Turnbull also leads Shorten as preferred prime minister 53%-17%; Shorten’s lead among Labor voters are preferred PM is just 3 points — he leads Turnbull 38%-35% among Labor voters. Turnbull leads Shorten among Greens voters by a massive 41%-23%.

Turnbull also massively outrates Shorten on leadership attributes.

Only on “out of touch”, “arrogant” and “aggressive” is Turnbull rated as inferior to or equal to Shorten, otherwise he holds mostly enormous leads in areas like “capable:, “good in a crisis”, “visionary”, “honest”, while Shorten, who surpassed Tony Abbott on virtually every characteristic, only wins on “narrow-minded”, “superficial” and other negatives.

What’s also notable about Turnbull’s support is that Liberal voters, who previously preferred Tony Abbott as Liberal leader, have immediately locked in behind him. Of all voters, 37% rate Turnbull the best leader of the Liberal Party, with “don’t know” a distant second (21%) and Julie Bishop next (14%) — new Treasurer Scott Morrison is on 4%. Just 9% of voters think Tony Abbott is the best leader. And while Abbott rates more highly with Liberal voters (14%), so does Turnbull: 47% of Liberal voters rank Turnbull first. Julie Bishop performs most strongly among Labor voters (19%) then Greens (18%) compared to 10% of Liberal voters. Interesting, too, that Turnbull does much better among men than women — just like Tony Abbott did. He scores 44% among men compared to 30% of women, with women more strongly preferring Julie Bishop compared to men (17% to 11%).

Overall, 58% of voters approve of Turnbull ousting Abbott, with 24% disapproving; Liberal voters split 59%-27%. Thirty-four per cent say it has made them more likely to vote Liberal; just 14% say it has made them less likely, while 29% of Labor voters and 23% of Greens voters say it has made them more likely to vote Liberal. Just 7% of Liberal voters say it has made them less likely to vote Liberal, cruelling the notion that the Liberal base is enraged by the dumping of Abbott.

Support for a republic has also improved with the arrival of a prominent republican in the prime ministership: support for a republic is now 39%-29% compared to 34%-34% in July.

Finally, support for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage may turn out to be Tony Abbott’s one popular legacy: support remains strong for voters having a say rather than Parliament deciding the issue, 67%-21%:

Peter Fray

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