GhostWhoVotes reports that Newspoll has the Coalition’s two-party lead at 54-46, unchanged from the previous poll, with the primary votes at 31% for Labor (down one), 44% for the Coalition (down two) and 14% for the Greens (up two). Julia Gillard’s net approval is 4% less bad than last time, her approval up two to 32% and disapproval down two to 58%, while Tony Abbott is respectively up one to 32% and down one to 59%. On preferred prime minister, Gillard is up two to 42% and Abbott is up one to 38%.

It should be noted that most of the polling period (Friday to Sunday) covered what in every state but WA was a long weekend, when an unusually large number of potential respondents would be away from home. Given that absent and postal votes tend to favour the Coalition, it might be anticipated that this would bias the result slightly in favour of Labor, although measures may have been taken to correct for this. As far as I can tell, Newspoll used to abstain from polling over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, but changed this policy last year.

UPDATE: Essential Research has two-party preferred unchanged on last week at 56-44, from primary votes of 49% for the Coalition (down one), 32% for Labor (down one) and 10% for the Greens (steady). The monthly personal ratings have Julia Gillard up a point on approval to 32% and down four on disapproval to 56%, with Tony Abbott down four on approval to a new low of 32% and up one on approval up one to 54%. Funnily enough, Newspoll and Essential concur that both leaders’ approval ratings are 32%. Gillard and Abbott are tied at 37% on preferred prime minister, compared with a 38-37 lead for Gillard last time.

Other questions gauge public trust in various institutions, recording a remarkable drop for the federal parliament from 55% to 22% since the question was last asked in September, and other sharp drops recorded for trade unions (from 39% to 22%), environmental groups (45% to 32%), business groups (38% to 22%) and, for some reason, the Reserve Bank (67% to 49%). The poll also finds 60% disapproving of bringing in overseas workers with only 16% approving, 32% believing labour costs and taxes might drive mining companies away against 49% who expect them to carry on regardless.

UPDATE 2: Roy Morgan makes it three polls in one day by reporting its face-to-face results, which it evidently does on Tuesdays now rather than Fridays. This result is Labor’s best since March, their primary vote up half a point to 33% with the Coalition down 2.5% to 42.5% and the Greens up two to 12.5%. On two-party preferred, the Coalition’s lead has narrowed from 55.5-44.5 to 52-48 on previous election preferences and from 58-42 to 55-45 on respondent-allocated.

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