polling newspoll
(Image: AAP/JAMES ROSS)

If you believe today's Newspoll and the write-up from Simon Benson, the government suffered a slump in its fortunes over the last three weeks, with its 53-47% two-party-preferred (2pp) dominance over Labor reduced to a 51-49%lead.

Benson was at a loss to explain this slump. "The poll was conducted during a period in which the political contest had cooled, with the federal parliament on a six-week autumn-winter break," he acknowledged. But he offered some ideas: it included a period when "Angus Taylor came under pressure over his alleged failure to declare family business interests as required". There were also concerns about the economy and the trade war and Australia's resistance to acknowledging climate change at the Pacific Islands Forum.