Labor widens Newspoll gap as marriage vote tightens

Bill Shorten will be buoyed by the latest Newspoll figures, which show Labor increasing its lead over the Coalition. AAP/Joe Castro

Labor has extended its two-party lead over the Coalition to 54-46% in a Newspoll that also shows the vote on same-sex marriage tightening.

Malcolm Turnbull’s margin over Bill Shorten as better prime minister has narrowed from 46-29% to 42-31%.

In the last poll three weeks ago, the Coalition trailed 47-53% in two-party terms. The poll of 1,695 was done from Thursday to Sunday.

The Coalition’s primary vote has dropped a point to 36%; Labor’s vote was stable at 38%. The Greens remain on 9% and One Nation on 8%. “Others” rose from 8% to 9%.

Turnbull’s net satisfaction improved from minus 20 to minus 17, while Shorten’s net satisfaction rating stayed on minus 20.

Since the last Newspoll, Tony Abbott has been taking up a great deal of political oxygen, on the attack over energy policy and strongly campaigning for the “no” side on the marriage ballot. Government figures last week were saying Abbott’s activities had an eye to the impact on Newspoll.

Newspoll found support for legalising same-sex marriage falling from 63% to 57% in a month, while opposition increased from 30% to 34%. The trend is in line with last week’s Essential poll, which showed a four-point fall in support from a fortnight before to 55%, and opposition rising three points to 34%.

In Newspoll, backing for change among Coalition voters declined from 55% on August 17-20, when the previous polling was done on the issue, to 47%, while among Labor voters the decline was from 75% to 70%.

Commenting on the results, Shorten said on Monday he was “quietly confident” the “yes” case would prevail. He again urged people to vote “yes”. He said the fact there was such a polarising debate at the margins showed why the issue would have been best dealt with in parliament.

On the matter of religious freedom, which has become a central part of the “no” case, Shorten said that would be the same after the ballot as it was now.

At the weekend, Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek warned the biggest threat to the “yes” campaign was people assuming “this is in the bag”.

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