The latest Newspoll results reveal that for the first time since Malcolm Turnbull took over the role of Prime Minister from Tony Abbott, the Bill Shorten-led opposition is ahead in the polls.
Conducted on behalf of The Australian, the Newspoll surveyed 1763 people between Thursday and Sunday of last week, and revealed that Labor is now ahead 51-49 on two-party terms. This result comes just 10 weeks after the Coalition started the political year with a 53-47 lead. The Government’s primary vote has fallen to 41 per cent, down five per cent since the start of the year, while Labor has reached a six-month high of 36 per cent.
Malcolm Turnbull remains the preferred prime minister, but his lead over Mr Shorten has narrowed from 31 points to 21.
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In political terms, last week was a low-point for the Turnbull-led Government, with the scrapping of the hugely unpopular proposal that would have seen state and territory governments set their own income tax rates. The Australian‘s timely commissioning of a Newspoll revealed the change in sentiment: a Labor lead in the polling. After all, it makes for a good news story.
Since the return to Parliament just 10 weeks ago, it feels as if the Coalition has made mistake after mistake. Even so, don’t let the latest polling results fool you – due to Mr Turnbull’s overwhelming popularity, the Coalition are still the heavy favourite to take out the next election.
There is every possibility that the Government will force a double-dissolution election for July 2, and the May budget will be the most likely become a cornerstone of the Coalition’s re-election battle.
What do you think? Have the past week’s failings lowered your opinion of the Prime Minister’s ability to lead the country? Is Bill Shorten’s popularity, or lack thereof, an issue for Labor going into the next election? Were you surprised by the poll results?