Polls suggest Labor within striking distance of the Treasury Benches
This week’s Newspoll (see here) may have come as a shock to some, but will no doubt spur Coalition MPs into fervent activity, and instill new hope into Labor. For the first time since Malcolm Turnbull was elected by his colleagues into the top job, Labor has pulled ahead of the Coalition, albeit within the margin of error.
The Coalition’s primary vote is at 41%, and it is now behind on two-party preferred also, at 49% to 51%. The poll shows a swing of 4.6% to the ALP, which incidentally would be sufficient to sweep aside two key Turnbull supporters – Craig Laundy (Reid) and Dr Peter Hendy (in the bellweather seat of Eden Monaro) among 23 or so seats that would be lost.
Obviously these polling numbers came off the back of a period where there was much discussion around income tax policy and uncertainty about an election date, so it remains to be seen if there is a trend developing. What is clear though, is a trend for Bill Shorten’s approval.
Shorten has improved dramatically from his nadir in December last year of a net -38% approval rating to only -21% now. When Tony Abbott lost the leadership he was at 33%, and Prime Minister Turnbull is even now at -10% from a high of +38% in December 2015.
The Budget is less than a month away, which offers the Government the opportunity of a circuit-breaker, setting the narrative for the election campaign.