The Morrison government’s border protection offensive has failed to turn around negative voter sentiment, according to the latest Newspoll – with Labor still ahead on the two-party-preferred measure 53% to 47%.
The latest survey, published by the Australian on Sunday night, has Labor’s primary vote on 39% and the Coalition’s on 37%.
The survey was taken at the tail end of a brutal parliamentary week, in which senior government figures were embroiled in controversies, ranging from the finance minister, Mathias Cormann, forgetting to pay for private travel arranged through a Liberal party office holder and donor, and Michaelia Cash facing a fresh barrage of criticism for failing to provide a witness statement to police investigating a leak from her office.
Despite Labor maintaining a decisive lead in the major-party contest, Scott Morrison remains ahead of Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister 44% to 35%.
Both leaders recorded movements within the margin of error when it came to voter disapproval. There was a three-point increase in disapproval of Morrison’s performance and a two-point increase in disapproval of Shorten’s.
The two-party-preferred result in Newspoll has been steady since the beginning of the year, despite the Coalition intensifying its negative campaigning against Labor.
With the political cycle reaching the business end, with an election to be called after the budget in April, the government has raised alarm bells about the opposition’s economic policies, and has claimed that Labor is weakening Australia’s border defences by supporting the medical evacuation bill in an attempt to get back into the political contest.
The Guardian Essential poll has also recorded a two-party-preferred result of 53% to 47% in Labor’s favour in the opening surveys of the year, with the poll a fortnight ago, in the wake of the final report of the banking royal commission, suggesting a stronger result for Labor of 55-45. A new poll is due this week.
An Ipsos poll last week suggested Labor’s lead had narrowed. The poll conducted for Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald and the Age had the opposition leading the Liberal-National Coalition 51-49 on the two-party-preferred measure, down from 54-46 in December.
That poll of 1,200 voters suggested Labor’s primary vote had fallen from 37% to 33% over two months, while the Coalition’s rose from 36% to 38%.
With parliament now in recess until the budget, Morrison will begin the new week by unveiling a climate policy reboot in Melbourne in an attempt to shore up the Liberal heartland from incursions by small “l” liberal independents.