With just months until the next election, conservative voters are returning to the coalition, but the opposition is gaining popularity.
Conservative voters are turning to the coalition, as the leadership contest between Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese tightens to its closest margin since before the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the latest Newspoll for The Australian, there has been a two-point lift in the primary vote for the ruling Liberal and National parties to 37 per cent, but the government still trails Labor on 38 per cent.
The lift in the coalition’s popularity has come at the cost of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, which fell a point to two per cent, while support for other minor parties fell to 12 per cent. Support for the Greens remains at 11 per cent.
On a two-party-preferred basis, the coalition continues to trail Labor 47-53 per cent.
But, when voters were asked who their preferred Prime Minister would be, Mr Morrison remains the frontrunner – albeit down two points, while Mr Albanese gained four points.
Satisfaction in Mr Morrison’s performance as leader has dropped to 44 per cent, while satisfaction rose two point to 52 per cent. This is the lowest net approval rating for Mr Morrison since March 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last week, Mr Morrison called himself the “underdog”, and acknowledged he had a fight ahead of him in the lead up to the election.
“(To be an underdog) is not uncommon for incumbent governments, on more than one occasion that’s been the case,” he said.
“How we secure Australia’s economic recovery is the big challenge now.”
Mr Albanese’s net approval also slipped, with dissatisfaction rising to 48 per cent, while satisfaction rates remained at 37 per cent.
The poll comes as Liberal frontbenchers all-but confirmed the next federal election would not be until May next year.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton told viewers of Nine’s Today program to “buckle up” for six months of election campaigning.
Last week, the Prime Minister began his pre-election campaign, travelling around NSW and Victoria, committing funds to major projects and spruiking the government’s plan to reach net zero carbon emission by 2050.
The Opposition Leader has also begun making his way around NSW and Victoria, meeting with local candidates and hitting back at the government’s climate change plans.