Bill Shorten’s ratings have taken a hit in Tuesday’s Newspoll, with Tony Abbott having a better net approval rating than his opponent for the first time in nearly 14 months.
The poll, published in the Australian, shows Shorten’s satisfaction rating fell 3 points in the past fortnight to 32%, and dissatisfaction with him increased 4 points to 50%. His net satisfaction was down from minus 11 to minus 18.
While Abbott’s satisfaction rating was down a point to 38% and his dissatisfaction up a point to 53%, taking his net figure from minus 13 to minus 15, this is the first time since April last year that his net rating has been better than the opposition leader’s.
Four months ago Abbott’s satisfaction rating was minus 44 and Shorten’s was plus 2 points.
Abbott has widened his lead as better prime minister, with Shorten falling 3 points to a 13-month low. Abbott is ahead 41% (unchanged) to Shorten’s 37%. In early February, when Abbott’s leadership was in crisis, Shorten had a lead of 18 points as better PM.
Despite the poor result for Shorten personally, Labor retains a two-party lead in Newspoll – although it has shrunk marginally from 53-47% to 52-48%.
The Coalition’s primary vote is up a point to 41%, with Labor unchanged on 37% and the Greens up a point to a six month high of 13% under their new leader Richard Di Natale.
The deterioration in Shorten’s position comes as the government continues to target Labor at every opportunity and Shorten in particular. On Monday Abbott was again demanding to know Labor’s position on the plan to strip dual nationals involved in terrorist activities of their Australian citizenship.
The Prime Minister has also been campaigning around the country on the budget, emphasising especially the generous assistance for small business.
Shorten has been promoting his gay marriage bill over the last week, which he introduced on Monday. The government has indicated it will not provide a Liberal seconder and the issue will now not return until the spring session when parliament is expected to consider a cross party bill.
The main problem Abbott has had in the run up to the poll has been the damaging leak from cabinet over the citizenship issue.
Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
Authors: The Conversation