Crikey reports the latest Essential Research poll has the Coalition lead at 53-47, up from 52-48 last week – which managing director Peter Lewis indicated Labor was lucky to get to because of rounding. On the primary vote, Labor is down two points to 34 per cent, with the Coalition and the Greens up a point each to 47 per cent and 12 per cent. I should have the full report shortly, but in the meantime Bernard Keane of Crikey summarises the other findings thus:

Voters strongly support Labor’s moves to trim middle-class welfare, according to today’s Essential Report.

Fifty-two per cent of voters back Wayne Swan’s budget night measure to continue the pause in indexation of the thresholds at which family payments are phased out, to 28% who oppose them. Even Liberal voters back them, 47-38%. Voters were strongly of the view that households earning more than $150,000 a year don’t need family payments — 67% of voters agreed with that, and only 27% disagreed.

Only 35% agreed that all taxpayers should be eligible for some form of payment, regardless of income, compared to 57% disagreeing. However, most voters distinguished between family payments and welfare, with 61% agreeing that family payments to middle-income earners were different to welfare payments to low income earners (we’ll discuss Essential’s results on views toward middle class welfare in more detail tomorrow).

There has also been a further rise in support for the Government’s plan to impose a price on carbon. After reaching the nadir of support at the end of March, when support was just 34% and opposition 51%, support grew in April and last week was at 41% support and 44% opposition, with Greens voters now strongly in favour of it after initially being lukewarm.

The poll also revealed a quite remarkable ignorance of one of the government’s key reforms, its scheduled increase in the compulsory superannuation rate to 12%. Around 53% of voters said they had not heard of the proposal and a further 27% saying they had heard little — a damning indictment of Labor’s efforts to sell what began as a key part of its mining tax package, particularly given there was strong support for the proposal across voters of different stripes.

UPDATE: Full report here.

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