Julia Gillard back to rock-bottom: Newspoll
- From: The Australian
- August 23, 2011
JULIA Gillard and Labor have lost the slight gains earned with the announcement of $15 billion in household carbon tax compensation and crashed back to rock-bottom levels of support.
Tony Abbott's attack on the carbon tax has kept the Coalition with a crushing lead over the Gillard government, but he has jumped to his own record high level of personal dissatisfaction with voters.
According to the latest Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian last week, the Prime Minister's personal approval dropped markedly during the first week of the parliamentary spring session. Satisfaction with her performance fell from 33 per cent to 29 per cent, while dissatisfaction rose three points to 61 per cent.
Ms Gillard also equalled her lowest rating as preferred prime minister of 38 per cent with the Opposition Leader just one point in front at 39 per cent. After a slight rise in the Newspoll surveys after the announcement of the carbon tax package during the parliamentary winter break, Labor's primary vote has dropped back to its lowest level on record of 27 per cent, with the Coalition unchanged on 47 per cent.
On a two-party preferred basis, using preference flows at last year's election, the Coalition edged up one point to 57 per cent to Labor's 43 per cent. On these figures, if a general election were forced now, Labor would be swept from office after winning the two-party preferred vote in August last year by 50.1 to 49.9 per cent.
While the Coalition has continued to attack the government over the carbon tax, Labor has become embroiled in a lurid scandal surrounding NSW central coast MP Craig Thomson, who is alleged to have misused a union credit card to pay for prostitutes when he was a union official before the 2007 election.
Before going on the winter parliamentary break, Ms Gillard warned the polls could remain bad for Labor even after the carbon tax compensation package for industry and households was released. But two weeks ago she told Labor MPs it was possible to change people's mind about the tax if they were given facts.
Satisfaction with Ms Gillard dropped back to within a point of her lowest support of 28 per cent before "carbon Sunday" and she now has a negative satisfaction rating - the difference between satisfaction and dissatisfaction - of minus 32. This is the second lowest level since she recorded minus 34 percentage points at the end of June.
On the question of preferred prime minister, there was virtually no change between Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott although a one-point drop put the Prime Minister back at her lowest level of support. Mr Abbott, although only one point ahead, has now been in front of Ms Gillard as preferred prime minister since the end of June.
But the Liberal leader - who identified strongly with the truck "convoy of no-confidence" since derided by government ministers as the convoy of "no consequence" after a low turnout in Canberra - has hit a new high of dissatisfaction.
Dissatisfaction with Mr Abbott rose three points to 55 per cent and satisfaction fell three points to 36 per cent. Mr Abbott now has a negative satisfaction rating of minus 19, only two points above his worst result in March.
In mid-July, a Newspoll survey of attitudes towards the carbon tax showed a slight rise in support.