Poll shows PM’s dip in popularity

The latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll confirms what we have known for the last couple of weeks; Tony Abbott is losing his grip on the nation’s top job and, if reports are to be believed, the support of his own party.

If the results of the poll were replicated at a federal election, the Coalition Government would lose 40 seats, mirroring the rout experienced by the party in the Queensland state election at the weekend. In the primary vote, the Coalition has fallen three percentage points in a month, to 38 per cent, compared to the 45 per cent it enjoyed in September 2013, just prior to the Federal Election. Labor, by comparison is seven percentage points up from September 2013, with a 40 per cent primary vote.

In the two-party-preferred vote, Labor has surged ahead with 56 per cent compared to the Coalition’s 44, based on voters’ second-preference options.

Within the Liberal Party it is believed that Tony Abbott has lost the support of his backbenchers, with Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull a possibility to regain the position he lost to Mr Abbott in 2009. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is also considered to be in the running should a push be made to oust Tony Abbott.

While senior ministers continue to pledge support, the debacle over the knighting of Prince Philip, as well as the clear message delivered by Victorian and Queensland voters, and not forgetting that New South Wales heads to the polls in March, a process may already be in place which would see Tony Abbott replaced.

Adding weight to the debate is the damaging and disparaging comments from media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who has publicly questioned the reliance Tony Abbott seemingly has on his much-maligned chief of staff Peta Credlin. Murdoch, a strong supporter of Mr Abbott during the 2013 election, has called for the Prime Minister to either sack Credlin, or for her to do her ‘patriotic duty’ and resign.

In a speech given yesterday, Mr Abbott reminded voters that the role of PM was not a popularity contest. “The people of Australia elected me as Prime Minister … but in the end government is not a popularity contest it’s a competence contest,” he said.

He also acknowledged that honouring Prince Philip with a knighthood wasn’t perhaps the smartest move just prior to the Queensland election and had been an unwelcome “distraction”.

Read more at TheAge.com.au

Do you think Tony Abbott faces a challenge from within his cabinet? As an essentially elected Prime Minister, should he be allowed to see out his term? If replaced, who would be the best person for the role?

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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