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Government-Labor again 50-50 in Newspoll

Malcolm Turnbull visiting Melbourne University’s BIO21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute on Monday. Michael Keating/AAP

The government and opposition are tied on 50-50 in the two-party vote in the latest Newspoll, while Malcolm Turnbull’s satisfaction rating has fallen.

This is the second Newspoll in a row to register a deadlock, which puts added pressure on the government as it tries to craft a tax package and on Turnbull as he contemplates whether to pull the trigger in May for a July 2 double dissolution.

The Newspoll, published in Tuesday’s Australian, has the Coalition’s primary vote remaining at 43%, the equal lowest since Turnbull became prime minister. The ALP vote is unchanged on 35%, while the Greens are polling 12%.

Turnbull’s net satisfaction has dropped from ten points a fortnight ago to three points. This compares with his 38 points rating in November.

His satisfaction rating has fallen four points in the last two weeks to 44%; his dissatisfaction rose three points to 41%.

Shorten’s net satisfaction rating has improved from minus 29 points to minus 25 points. His satisfaction is on 30%; his dissatisfaction rating is at 55%.

Turnbull is still holding a very large margin over Shorten as better prime minister – 55% to 21%. This is no change on a fortnight ago.

Turnbull on Tuesday begins a visit to South Australia. Cabinet’s expenditure review committee meets in Adelaide with taxation the main item before it, and there is also a full cabinet meeting there.

The polling malaise follows a difficult stint in parliament, where the government was on the back foot over taxation despite mounting an attack on Labor’s plans to cut back negative gearing if it won government.

The Coalition also suffered bad publicity when former prime minister Tony Abbott created waves on taxation and the defence white paper.

The poll of 1815 people was taken Thursday to Sunday. At the weekend there was a burst of publicity about journalist Niki Savva’s book documenting the dysfunction in the Abbott government, focusing particularly on the former prime minister’s chief-of-staff Peta Credlin.

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