Coalition voters are split on whether they would defect to a new conservative party if its members included former prime minister Tony Abbott, today’s Essential Report reveals.

While conservative politicians like Cory Bernardi and George Christensen toy with the idea of a new party in a bid to lure back Coalition voters defecting to One Nation and Abbott continues to snipe and undermine, the report shows that 41% of Coalition voters would likely vote for the new party, while 41% would be unlikely to. Those who vote for parties other than Labor, the Coalition, and the Greens (such as One Nation) are unlikely to vote for the new party, with 63% saying they wouldn’t vote for the party, versus 25% who say they would.

Question: If a new conservative party was formed and included people like Tony Abbott, how likely would you be to vote for them?


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Coalition voters are also split on whether they believe the Coalition is becoming more or less conservative, with 26% of Coalition voters saying it is getting more progressive, versus 29% saying it is becoming more conservative, and 34% saying it is staying the same. Overall, 37% of voters think the Liberal and National parties are becoming more conservative, and 30% think they are staying the same. Just 14% of voters think the Coalition is becoming more progressive.

Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest since he became prime minister, at 34% approval and 46% disapproval. He remains just slightly ahead of Bill Shorten, who is on an approval rating of 35% and disapproval rating of 38%.  However, Turnbull is still viewed as the better prime minister to Shorten at 39% to 28%.

Labor has maintained its lead over the government with a two-party-preferred 53% to 47%, up one point from last week. Labor and the Coalition are a dead heat on primary vote at 37% each. One Nation has dropped one point in first-party preferences down to 7%.


More voters approve of raising the minimum wage as a means to improve Australian wages more than any other means, including cutting company or personal tax rates. A total of 80% of voters back increasing the minimum wage, followed by 71% approving cutting personal income taxes, and 70% backing Labor’s talk of reducing the number of workers on 457 visas. Some 61% want tocut company taxes and 43% want to give unions more power to negotiate pay rises.

*Research by Crikey intern Liam Apter