Shorten forges ahead as preferred PM

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Labor remains narrowly ahead of the Coalition in the latest Fairfax Ipsos Poll.

The national poll of 1,401 respondents, interviewed from Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 December 2014, shows Labor with 52% of the two-party preferred vote (up 1 since November), ahead of the Coalition on 48% (down 1 since November), based on 2013 election preferences. This indicates a 5.5% swing against the Abbott Government since the September 2013 Federal election.

The two-party stated preference vote shows Labor on 53% (unchanged since November), leading the Coalition on 47% (also unchanged since November).

First preference votes put the Coalition on 40% (down 2 since November) and Labor on 37% (unchanged since November). The Greens continue to lead the minor parties with 12% (unchanged since November). The Palmer United Party is on 2% (down 1 since November), and others are on 9% (up 2 since November).

Five per cent of respondents are undecided. These are excluded from the two-party stated preference figures.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s approval rating is 38% (down 4 since November). His disapproval rating is 57% (up 8 since November). This gives a net approval of -19 (down 12 since November).

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s approval rating is 46% (up 3 since November). His disapproval rating is 41% (up 1 since November). This gives a net approval of +5 (up 2 since November).

Bill Shorten has moved ahead as the preferred Prime Minister, at 47%, an increase of 6 points since November. Two in five (39%) favour Tony Abbott as Prime Minister (a fall of 2 points since November).

The table below* shows the attribute scores for Abbott and Shorten, and how these compare historically for PMs and Opposition Leaders.

Of the eleven attributes, Bill Shorten has a statistically significant lead on six; being viewed as more competent (58%), having the confidence of his party (71%), being open to ideas (68%), being trustworthy (44%), and having a firm grasp of social policy (62%). He is also seen as being more easily influenced by minority groups (44%).

stats

Percentages in bold indicate a statistically significant difference in perception of the leaders.

In contrast, Tony Abbott has a statistically significant lead on only two attributes; having a clear vision for Australia’s future (49%) and having the ability to make things happen (48%). Despite being rated more highly than Bill Shorten for these attributes, his figures are historically low. From the trend data, no Prime Minister has received such a low figure for being able to make things happen, and his rating for having a clear vision for Australia’s future is on par with the figures for Julia Gillard in April 2013.

Tony Abbott is seen as having the confidence of his party (53%), being competent (50%), having a clear vision for Australia’s future (49%) and having the ability to make things happen (48%).

However, of the eleven attributes tested, his ratings are at their lowest ever for five of these attributes.

Bill Shorten is seen as having the confidence of his party (71%), being open to ideas (68%), and having a firm grasp of social policy (62%). His ratings show positive increases for eight of the eleven attributes.

Climate change

A majority of Australians (57%) believe the Federal Government’s measures to address climate change are ‘too little’. A third think the Government’s measures are ‘about right’, and only 7% say they are ‘too much’.

Coalition voters are significantly more likely to say that the climate change measures are ‘too much’ 9% or ‘about right’ 57%, with ALP and Green voters significantly more likely to say they are ‘too little’ (76% and 89%, respectively).

While difference in opinion does not differ significantly by age and gender, it does vary by location.

Those living in capital cities are significantly more likely to feel that ‘too little’ is being done (60%), while those living elsewhere are twice as likely as capital city dwellers to feel that government climate change measures are ‘too much’ (11%, compared to 5% for those living in capital cities).

Poll Profile

Fieldwork dates: 4-6 December 2014

Sample size: 1, 401 respondents

Sample: National, aged 18+. 31% of sample comprised mobile phone numbers.

Method: Telephone, using random digit dialing.

Statistical reliability: ±2.6% is the maximum margin of sampling error that might apply to this sample

Analysis: The data has been weighted by age, gender and location (metro/non-metro) to reflect the population distribution

 

 

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