Less than one month after Tony Abbott survived a leadership spill, his position as Prime Minister of Australia seems to be safe. At least for now. The latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll published on Sunday night showed the most promising results for the Coalition since October 2014.
According to the poll results, the Coalition has made up significant ground in both two-party preferred voting and primary voting. Labor lead the Coalition on two-party preferred voting 51 – 49, while the Coalition leads primary voting with 42 per cent of the vote, compared with Labor’s 36 per cent. Mr Abbott has also gained significant ground over the past few weeks in the preferred prime minister polling, cutting Bill Shorten’s 16 point lead to just five (44 – 39).
Mr Abbott will try to keep scoring runs this week by releasing the Intergenerational Report, dumping key policy measures that have been weakening his government’s position, attempting to set a renewable energy target, killing off the Medicare co-payment and announcing a deployment of more troops to Iraq.
Last month’s leadership spill rang alarm bells for the Prime Minister, with several front benchers publically promising their support, yet voting against him in the secret ballot. Since the spill, we have seen Mr Abbott radically change his views on certain policies and show stronger leadership in an attempt to improve his party’s poll position. How long can he keep this up without another slip? Time will tell.
There is no question that the latest poll results reflect favourably on the recent performance of the Prime Minister, but surprisingly, hidden in the poll results, we find that just 20 per cent of those polled believe that Mr Abbott enjoys the confidence of his party. Furthermore, they believe that Malcolm Turnbull enjoys the confidence of 50 per cent of his party.
This leads us to the preferred Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull – the man lurking in the shadows. Mr Turnbull is clearly the preferred Liberal leader with 39 per cent of the vote, ahead of Julie Bishop in second place with 24 per cent followed by Mr Abbott with just 19 per cent.
Mr Turnbull made it clear over the weekend that there is no short-term intention for a leadership spill, with the NSW state election to be held on 28 March. With more than a year and half until the next Australian federal election, Mr Turnbull is in no rush to push for his place as Prime Minister of Australia. Instead, he will sit back and strike when the time is right.
What do you think? Is Tony Abbott safe in his position as Prime Minister? Have you seen a change in Mr Abbott since the leadership spill? Would you trust Mr Turnbull more than you would trust Tony Abbott?