The weekly Essential Research poll has the Coalition with a 51-49 two-party lead for the fourth week running. The Coalition primary vote is up a point to 45 per cent, with Labor steady on 38 per cent and the Greens steady on 11 per cent. Respondents were also presented with a series of “party attributes&#148 to respond to, of which my favourite findings are that the Coalition is both more moderate and more extreme than Labor. The Liberals are thought to have a better team of leaders, understanding of the problems facing Australia, to be clearer about what they stand for and to be less inclined to make promises to win votes. However, they are also thought too close to big corporate and financial interests. Labor’s lead on “looks after the interests of working people” is narrower than one feels it ought to be. The two most emphatic responses were the 50 per cent who believed Labor would do anything to win votes and the 39 per cent who thought the Greens “extreme”.

Scepticism about climate change seems to have increased since the question was previously canvassed a year ago, with 45 per cent believing it to be happening and caused by human activity – down from 53 per cent – and 36 per cent believing “we are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate” (up from 34 per cent). Nonetheless, 61 per cent are willing to rate the issue as “important”, including majorities for each party support group. Labor are rated as best party to deal with the issue by 23 per cent, the Coalition by 29 per cent and the Greens on 19 per cent, representing little change on a year ago.

UPDATE: Roy Morgan has unexpectedly published results from its latest face-to-face poll on a Monday rather then the traditional Friday. These show Labor’s lead narrowing from 54-46 to 52.5-47.5, from primary votes of 40.5 per cent Labor (down half a point), 42 per cent Coalition (up two) and 12 per cent Greens (unchanged). This is Labor’s weakest result in a Morgan face-to-face poll since a week before the election, when their lead was 52-48. The poll was conducted on the weekends of November 20-21 and 27-28, from a sample of 1829.

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