The Coalition has taken another knock in Newspoll, now trailing Labor 45-55% on a two-party basis.
Scott Morrison’s personal ratings have also worsened, in a poll that comes in the wake of his intensive week of campaigning in the key state of Queensland.
This is the second consecutive Newspoll in which the two-party vote has gone backwards: the previous poll had a 46-54% result.
The Newspolls have been consistently worse for the Coalition since the leadership change – before that Labor had been cut back to a narrow 51-49% lead.
Morrison’s net satisfaction rating is now minus 8, compared with minus 3 in the last poll a fortnight ago. Bill Shorten had a slight worsening on this measure – he is on minus 15 compared with minus 13 in the previous poll.
The gap on “better prime minister” has narrowed in Shorten’s favor – Morrison leads 42-36% compared with 43-35% previously.
Labor’s primary vote is up a point to 40%; the Coalition has dropped a point to 35%. The Greens remain on 9%; One Nation is steady on 6%.
Newspoll also found that only 40% of people now favour Australia becoming a republic, compared with 48% against. Shorten has promised an early vote on the issue if he wins government.
Support for a republic was 50% in April this year, with 41% against. The dramatic change suggests the big impact of the highly popular tour of the young royals, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Although Coalition MPs have argued that Morrison has a better “cut through” than Malcolm Turnbull, Morrison’s sliding ratings suggests his “ordinary bloke” style isn’t going across as well as some expected.
The poll was taken Thursday to Sunday, so the publicity around Turnbull’s performance on Q&A on Thursday would have fed into it. He declared that former colleagues had not so far answered the question of why they had dumped him and owed an explanation to the Australian public.
This week Morrison begins the “summit season” with the East Asia summit in Singapore followed by APEC in Papua New Guinea.
Morrison, asked about the poll, told Sky: “It’s a big mountain, and I’m still climbing it”. He said the poll showed there was “a big risk” of a Labor government.
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra