The best you can say about the polling numbers out today for the Coalition is that at least they haven’t gone backwards.
Maybe the bleeding has stopped. Voters might – might – be open to listening to Malcolm Turnbull again.
The Newspoll published in The Australian today shows a one-point bump on the two-party preferred measure, putting the Coalition at 48-52 behind Labor. But the one-point move is well within the poll’s margin of error and the Coalition’s primary vote remains stuck at 36 per cent.
The poll was taken between Thursday and Sunday, at the end of a week in which immigration – a Coalition strength – was at the centre of the news agenda after the prime minister announced he was scrapping 457 skilled migration visas in favour of a more restrictive scheme. The government also announced a tougher citizenship test, including an English language proficiency requirement.
Ongoing poor Newspoll performance was one of Turnbull’s key reasons for challenging Tony Abbott for the Liberal leadership in 2015. The last two Newspolls have been preceded by major policy rollouts – immigration last week, and the Snowy River hydro investment scheme at the end of March.
Last week was also punctuated, however, by ongoing leadership skirmishes as Abbott took a regular spot on Ray Hadley’s radio show. The former prime minister appeared to try and quell the chatter with a Tweet yesterday:
Story about me re-entering the ring is fake news. Utter rubbish. Media should be ashamed of themselves
— Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) April 23, 2017
Minor positives include Turnbull remaining preferred prime minister over Labor leader Bill Shorten, and Turnbull’s net satisfaction rating rising 4 points.
But Coalition support among voters remains muted. Tomorrow marks two weeks to go before the federal budget.
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