A bad result for the government in the latest fortnightly Newspoll, with the Coalition’s two-party lead out from 54-46 to 57-43. The primary votes are 28 per cent for Labor (down three) and 47 per cent for the Coalition (up four). Julia Gillard at least has the consolation that her personal ratings have improved from the previous fortnight’s dismal result, with her approval up three to 31 per cent and disapproval down four to 58 per cent. Tony Abbott’s ratings are unchanged at 32 per cent approval and 58 per cent disapproval, and there is likewise essentially no change on preferred prime minister (Gillard leads 40-37, up from 39-37).

Another consolation for Labor is the possibility that a bit of static might be expected from a poll conducted over the same weekend as a state election such as the one in Queensland. They can be fortified in this view by the fact that their standing improved in this week’s Essential Research poll, the most recent weekly component of which was conducted over a longer period than Newspoll (Wednesday to Sunday rather than Friday to Sunday). Very unusually, given that Essential is a two-week rolling average, this showed a two-point shift on two-party preferred, with the Coalition lead shrinking from 56-44 to 54-46. Given that Essential spiked to 57-43 a fortnight ago, and the sample which sent it there has now washed out of the rolling average, this is not entirely surprising. Labor’s primary vote is up two to 34 per cent, and the Coalition’s is down one to 47 per cent. Further questions featured in the poll cover the economy, its prospects, best party to handle it and personal financial situation (slightly more optimism than six months ago, and Labor up in line with its overall improvement since then), job security, Kony 2012, taking sickies and the impact of the high dollar.

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