Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Gillard's rise sees Labor fall

Globetrotting Julia Gillard overtakes Tony Abbott but no bounce for Labor: Newspoll
A month of intense diplomatic commitments and Barack Obama's visit appear to have lifted Julia Gillard's personal standing, putting her in front of Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister for the first time in six months.

But despite the period of prime ministerial travel and policy decisions, Labor's primary vote has slipped back to 30 per cent, snapping a recent steady rise in support. And the Coalition has jumped back to the election-winning lead it held before the round of global summits and state visits that have dominated Australian politics.

Voter satisfaction with the way the Prime Minister is doing her job in the past two weeks was the best since May-June, while the Opposition Leader's approval as preferred prime minister slumped back to its worst since March.

According to the latest Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian last weekend, Mr Abbott's rating as preferred prime minister fell five points to 35 per cent - the lowest in nine months - as Ms Gillard's rose one point to 40 per cent, her highest since July. It is the first time since June that Mr Abbott has trailed Ms Gillard as preferred prime minister and the first time Ms Gillard has been out of the 30s since July. Ms Gillard's personal support also rose, with voter satisfaction with her job rising from 30 to 34 per cent and dissatisfaction falling from 60 to 55 per cent in the past two weeks - a period that included three overseas trips and the visit of the US President.

It is the first time dissatisfaction with Ms Gillard has been below 60 per cent since August and her highest satisfaction rating since 35 per cent in May. Her net satisfaction rating - the difference between satisfaction and dissatisfaction - is now minus 21 per cent, the same as Mr Abbott's. Overall satisfaction with Mr Abbott is little changed, with satisfaction steady at 34 per cent and dissatisfaction down from 57 to 55 per cent.

Despite the gain in Ms Gillard's personal support and her lead over Mr Abbott, support for the Coalition rose sharply and fell marginally for Labor. Primary vote support for the Coalition rose four points to 48 per cent in the past two weeks - the highest since the beginning of October - while Labor's primary vote fell from a seven-month high of 32 per cent to 30 per cent.

It is the first fall in Labor's primary vote after small but steady increases in the four Newspoll surveys since September, when the ALP vote hit a record low of 26 per cent. The Greens' primary vote fell from 12 per cent to 10 per cent. Based on second preference flows at last year's election the two-party preferred vote calculation gives the Coalition a lead of 57 per cent to Labor's 43 per cent.

The lift for Ms Gillard's personal leadership is timely as parliament heads into what is expected to be the final week of sittings for this year. But Labor's primary vote remains dangerously low. As the ALP this week prepares to mark the fourth anniversary of its election victory in 2007 the primary vote is 14 percentage points below its level in November that year.

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