The latest Essential Research poll has Labor down a point on the primary vote to 35% and the Greens up one to 10% with the Coalition steady on 48%, and two-party preferred unchanged on 54-46. The poll also finds diminishing enthusiasm for an “election now” (down seven since last April to 35%) with 51% (up three) supporting a full term. Questions on the economy find 70% ready to allow it has performed better over the last few years than in other countries against 12% who aren’t, but 40% rate the Liberal Party better to handle “another global financial crisis” against 26% for Labor. However, optimism is substantially higher than since last August, with 29% expecting the economy to get better over the next 12 months (up seven) against 37% expecting it to worsen (down eight).

Perhaps surprisingly, the poll finds little change in convictions about climate change since the question was last gauged in August. Fifty-one per cent agreed human activity was causing climate change against 40% favouring “a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate”, respectively up three and up one on August. Support for carbon pricing was likewise little changed at 37% against 50% opposed, up one and down two. The poll also finds 37% supporting lower pay rates for 18 to 20 year old workers against 52% opposed.

We also had published overnight an automated phone poll by JWS Research targeting 3350 respondents in the 54 seats which are held by either side on margins of 6% or less. This pointed to swings to the Coalition of 12.2% in the NSW seats, 4.1% in Victoria and 3.2% in Western Australia, with the Queensland seats swinging 2.8% to Labor. Swings against Labor were 4.8% in aggregate, 6.5% in Labor seats (10.0% in seats with margins below 3%), 3.3% in Coalition seats, 5.7% in metropolitan seats and 1.7% in country seats. As well as being at the high end for the Coalition generally, it also produced relatively good personal ratings for Tony Abbott, on minus 16% net approval against minus 14% for Julia Gillard and trailing only 33-32 as preferred prime minister.

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