Polls apart – not any more

Despite the drop in popularity of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), it seems that when it comes to Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, neither one is really pulling away in the polls. However, when you consider how unpopular Ms Gillard has been over the last two years, the recent poll results could be considered surprising.

For the last six polls in a row, the Labor leader’s approval rating has been more than 20 percentage points in the negative (this is when the number who disapprove is subtracted from the number who approve). After the weekend’s polling, this now sits at minus 18 percentage points – not a great leap, but it does put her on par with Tony Abbott and she is one percentage point ahead of him as preferred prime minister.

These results come hot on the heels of a tumultuous week in politics, during which Julia Gillard answered succinctly the questions put to her about her time as a lawyer and Tony Abbott come across less than prepared on a national television interview.

Read more about the recent poll results at The Age.com.au 

Opinion: Can anyone save us?

Julia or Tony? Tony or Julia? Is this really our only choice? It seems that personalities and policies are polls apart for these two leaders and no one seems clear about who is best to take the country forward.

Julia has backtracked on promises and this has gravely dented her popularity as leader. The factions within her own party have played out in the public arena and again, have done little to increase her appeal to voters. However, the Labor Party does at least seem committed to its policies and, good or bad, this at least gives voters a taste of what to expect.

Tony, on the other hand, with his boyish gaffs, laughs and comebacks, has been there at every twist and turn to attack Julia, both personally and on her policies. For the last two years this seems to have worked for him, with the polls suggesting he was indeed preferable to the current incumbent as prime minister. But the Coalition’s lack of detail and transparency when it comes to policies seems to be less appealing as the election approaches.

So, is it time for both parties to rethink their leadership options and perhaps put a little more time into policy development?

Having already fought and won a challenge to her leadership, it is unlikely that Julia would fear another, with the ALP keen to promote stability within the party. If poll results continue to trend the way they have recently, slow and steady may just win the race for Julia. On the other hand, the Coalition is presented with an excellent opportunity to steal power away from the ALP, with many voters believing a change in leadership is what is needed for the country. Is Tony Abbott the man to bring victory at the polls? Or should the Coalition be looking to someone a little more ‘polished’ to bring the party success?

What do you think? Is it time for change at the top? Would the leader of a party make you more or less likely to vote for it, or is it the policies which get your seal of approval?

Written by Debbie McTaggart