Bill Shorten’s ratings have taken a hit in Tuesday’s Newspoll, with Tony Abbott having a better net approval rating than his opponent for the first time in nearly 14 months.
The poll, published in The Australian, shows Shorten’s satisfaction rating fell three points in the past fortnight to 32%, and dissatisfaction with him increased four points to 50%. His net satisfaction was down from minus 11 to minus 18.
While Abbott’s satisfaction rating was down one point to 38% and his dissatisfaction up one point to 53%, taking his net figure from minus 13 to minus 15, this is the first time since April last year that his net rating has been better than the opposition leader’s.
Four months ago, Abbott’s satisfaction rating was minus 44 and Shorten’s was plus two points.
Abbott has widened his lead as better prime minister, with Shorten falling 3 points to a 13-month low. Abbott is ahead 41% (unchanged) to Shorten’s 37%. In early February, when Abbott’s leadership was in crisis, Shorten had a lead of 18 points as better PM.
Despite the poor result for Shorten personally, Labor retains a two-party lead in Newspoll – although it has shrunk marginally from 53-47% to 52-48%.
The Coalition’s primary vote is up one point to 41%, with Labor unchanged on 37% and the Greens up one point to a six-month high of 13% under their new leader Richard Di Natale.
The deterioration in Shorten’s position comes as the government continues to target Labor at every opportunity and Shorten in particular. On Monday, Abbott was again demanding to know Labor’s position on the plan to strip dual nationals involved in terrorist activities of their Australian citizenship.
Abbott has also been campaigning around the country on the budget, emphasising especially the generous assistance for small business.
Shorten has been promoting his same-sex marriage bill over the last week, which he introduced on Monday. The government has indicated it will not provide a Liberal seconder and the issue will now not return until the spring session when parliament is expected to consider a cross-party bill.
The main problem Abbott has had in the run-up to the poll has been the damaging leak from cabinet over the citizenship issue.