Albanese’s honeymoon period is over, but Dutton still trails

Voters have marked down Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on major tests of his leadership after four weeks of dispute over election promises and the cost of living, cutting his net performance rating from 35 to 25 percentage points.

The personal setback is part of a broader warning to the federal government about the scale of its support in the electorate, with voters cutting Labor’s primary vote from 42 to 40 per cent and increasing the Coalition’s primary vote from 29 to 31 per cent.

Anthony Albanese has maintained his strong lead as preferred prime minister, but Peter Dutton has increased his support.Credit:Flavio Brancaleone & Rhett Wyman

But the shift has failed to deliver a turnaround for Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, whose net performance rating is largely unchanged at minus 16 percentage points.

The findings are part of a new survey that shows Albanese has maintained his strong lead as preferred prime minister, favoured by 55 per cent of voters, while Dutton has increased his support on this measure from 20 to 23 per cent over the past four weeks.

The Resolve Political Monitor, conducted for this masthead by research company Resolve Strategic, shows the gains for Dutton came from a fall in the number of undecided voters when asked about their preferred leader.

Support for the Greens fell marginally from 11 to 10 per cent, while support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation fell from 6 to 5 per cent and independents increased their primary vote from 8 to 9 per cent on a national scale. The results have a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

The Resolve Political Monitor surveyed 1604 eligible voters from Wednesday to Sunday, a period that included heavy media coverage of the impact on households from inflation and rising interest while Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe addressed two committees in federal parliament.

The latest survey comes after four weeks of political debate including questions over the state of the health system, with a decision yet to be taken on how to repair Medicare, and a political dispute over refugee policy after the government allowed more than 19,000 holders of temporary protection visas to stay in Australia.

When voters were asked which of the two sides had the party and leader that offered strong leadership, 46 per cent said Labor and Albanese, while 21 per cent backed the Coalition and Dutton. This compared to 48 per cent and only 16 per cent last month.

Asked to name the side with a vision for the future, 41 per cent said Labor and Albanese, while 21 per cent named Dutton and the Coalition. This compared to 43 per cent and only 17 per cent last month.

Asked to name the side they considered competent, 43 per cent named Labor and Albanese while 23 per cent named the Coalition and Dutton. This compared to 44 per cent and 19 per cent last month.

Over these measures and others, Labor kept a significant lead over the Coalition but found some of its gains were eroded during the past month. On policy issues, the biggest setbacks for Labor were on healthcare and jobs.

The Coalition increased its lead on a single policy issue: national security and defence. When voters were asked to name their preferred side, 32 per cent chose Labor and Albanese while 35 per cent chose the Coalition and Dutton.

“It looks like Albanese and Labor’s election honeymoon is over,” Resolve director Jim Reed said.

“They are still well ahead of the Coalition on many measures, but are now receding from their high tide mark.

“Given that the major drops are on broad measures of leadership, team, vision and progress, it appears that the electorate is naturally starting to ask questions of the government after the break. How do the things that they have done so far and the things they have planned fit into a vision?”

Reed said the comments submitted by the survey respondents – who have an opportunity to write their own words as well as answer questions – singled out living costs and the economy as a key focus.

On Albanese, one respondent said: “He has managed to further his agenda without getting into culture wars.”

Another said: “Cost of living is out of control, but all he can talk about is climate, Indigenous issues and refugees.”

On Dutton, one respondent said: “He’s taking it up to Albo now, without going over the top.” Another said: “He doesn’t inspire me as a leader. Where are his big ideas?”

Because the Resolve Political Monitor asks voters to nominate their primary votes in the same way they would write “1” on the ballot papers for the lower house at the election, there is no undecided category in the primary vote results, a key difference from some other surveys.

Labor retains an emphatic lead against the Coalition in primary vote terms but this lead has narrowed to 9 percentage points in the latest survey, compared to 13 points in the January survey.

Asked about Albanese in the latest survey, 56 per cent of voters said he was doing a good job (down from 60 per cent last month) and 31 per cent said he was doing a poor job (up from 25 per cent).

This resulted in a net performance rating of 25 percentage points, down from 35 points last month and a peak of 39 points in the first Resolve Political Monitor after last year’s election.

Asked about Dutton, 29 per cent said he was doing a good job (unchanged) and 45 per cent said he was doing a poor job (down from 46 per cent).

His net rating was minus 16 percentage points, down from 17 points four weeks ago but worse than his ratings last year.

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.

Most Viewed in Politics

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article