Morgan has published results from a phone poll conducted from Tuesday to Thursday, which shows the Coalition opening a commanding 56-44 lead on two-party preferred (using the superior measure of allocating preferences according to the results of the past election – on respondent-allocated preferences it’s 55.5-44.5), from primary votes of 31.5 per cent for Labor, 47.5 per cent for the Coalition and 10 per cent for the Greens. The poll covered a typically modest sample of 524, with a margin of error of a bit under 4.5 per cent.

Respondents were also asked about the carbon tax (33 per cent support, 57 per cent oppose); whether, in light of Julia Gillard’s pre-election statement “there will be no carbon tax under the Government I lead”, she had lied (72 per cent yes, 19 per cent no); and whether respondents supported Tony Abbott’s policy to rescind the tax in government (46 per cent yes, 42 per cent no). The results on carbon tax are solidly worse for the government than this week’s Essential Research poll, which had 35 per cent supportive and 48 per cent opposed. When compared to the results from Newspoll and Morgan, the voting intention figures in the Essential poll appear to suggest they hit upon a good sample for Labor in last week’s polling. Newspoll asked a broader question on support for paying more for energy sources if it would help stop global warming, rather than engaging with the government’s policy specifically: this had 47 per cent in favour and 49 per cent against.

The phone poll also offers personal ratings which reinforce the finding from Newspoll that Julia Gillard is now less popular than Kevin Rudd. Gillard is down four points as preferred Labor leader to 25 per cent, while Rudd is up one to 28 per cent. On the question of “preferred Labor leader other than Gillard”, Kevin Rudd has 36 per cent against 11 per cent for Stephen Smith, 9 per cent for Greg Combet and Wayne Swan and 6 per cent for Bill Shorten. After a dive for Tony Abbott in late February, the equivalent Liberal figures are back where they were in early February: Malcolm Turnbull leads Abbott 28 per cent (down six) to 24 per cent (up four), with Joe Hockey on 22 per cent (down four). Absent Abbott, Turnbull and Hockey are tied on 33 per cent, with Julie Bishop a distant third on 11 per cent.

Morgan has concurrently published results from their face-to-face polling over the past two weekends, and these are characteristically much better for Labor, showing a dead heat on two-party preferred. Presumably to emphasise the impact of the carbon tax, Morgan has also published separate figures for the two weekends of polling: two weekends ago, shortly after the carbon tax was announced, Labor led 53.5-46.5; one weekend ago, the Coalition had opened up a 52-48 lead. Respondent-allocated preferences from both weekends produced better results for the Coalition. The primary vote figures were 39 per cent for Labor (41 per cent on the first weekend, 37 per cent on the second), 44 per cent for the Coalition (41 per cent and 46.5 per cent) and 10.5 per cent for the Greens (11.5 per cent and 9.5 per cent). The sample for each week was a bit under 900; this technically gives a margin of error of a bit under 3.5 per cent, but equally significant is the consistent Labor bias in face-to-face polling.

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