A new national poll out has Labor and the Coalition still neck-and-neck on the two-party-preferred vote, but on other key metrics prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s support is continuing to head in the wrong direction with six weeks remaining in the campaign.
Voter disillusionment with Turnbull’s performance has continued to fall, reflected in Newspoll findings that show his dissatisfaction rating has risen again to 50%, up from 41% in March.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s satisfaction rating has been climbing steadily over the same period. Newspoll finds his satisfaction rating at 37%, up from 30% in March, while his dissatisfaction rating has been falling from 55% to 37%.
On the two-party preferred measure Labor leads 51-49, a statistical tie. If the 51-49 result were replicated uniformly across the country on election day Labor would win government with a small majority.
Swings, however, are never uniform and Coalition strategists are confident the government is polling strongly in the all-important marginal seats which will ultimately decide the outcome on July 2.
More problematic for Turnbull is that he has fallen another 3 points on the “better prime minister” question in the Newspoll survey. He leads Shorten 46-31 on this measure, with Turnbull down from 55 in early March and Shorten lifting from 21 points to 31 points in that period.
A falling number of voters believe the Coalition will be returned – down to 44% from 55% in March while Labor is seen as increasingly competitive, with 33% of respondents saying they believe the ALP will win.
While voters are unlikely to be fully focused on their choices – there are still six weeks of campaigning to go – the results will be reflected in increased chatter about the competitiveness of Labor and Shorten, who is seeking to position the election as a referendum on healthcare.
Over the past two weeks Turnbull has seen a strong backlash from the wealthy conservative base most affected by the superannuation changes in the federal budget announced on May 3 which will see a the imposition of a $1.6 million limit on tax-free retirement income accounts.
Turnbull is campaigning in the bellwether seat of Eden Monaro in NSW, while Shorten is in Western Australia, where Labor does not have a single sitting MP standing for re-election and one of his candidates has had to be replaced after revelations about previous criminal convictions.
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