Bit of a difference of opinion this week between Essential Research, a series renowned for its stability, and the Morgan multi-mode poll which, until now at least, has adhered very closely to the overall polling trend. The former has the Coalition ahead 52-48, as it did last week when it took the unusual step of publishing a figure for the polling period immediately following the leadership change, instead of its usual fortnightly rolling average. The major parties’ primary votes are also unchanged, with Labor on 38% and the Coalition on 46%, while the Greens are down a point to 8%.

Morgan on the other hand gives Labor an eyebrow-raising lead of 54.5-45.5 on respondent-allocated preferences, up from 51.5-48.5 on last time, although on the more trustworthy measure of previous election preferences the result is a slightly less striking 52.5-47.5, up from 51-49. This is the first time the Morgan multi-mode series has produced a substantial disparity between the two measures, and it’s in the opposite direction of the issue which bedevilled the old Morgan face-to-face series, in which preferences flows to Labor were unrealistically weak. The primary votes are 41.5% for Labor (up two), 39.5% for the Coalition (down one) and 8.5% for the Greens (unchanged).

The Essential poll also gauges views on the leaders’ attributes, which should make enjoyable reading for Kevin Rudd, who is widely rated as intelligent, hard-working and capable, and not seen as narrow-minded, intolerant or out of touch. His worst results on negative measures were for arrogant and erratic, while his weakest on positive measures were for honesty, trustworthiness and being visionary. Abbott rated well for hard-working and intelligent, as political leaders generally do, but also scored high for narrow-minded, arrogant and out of touch. Fewer than a third of respondents thought him trustworthy, honest or visionary.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents thought Labor would be more united in the wake of the leadership change, against 14% for less united. Other questions found a general view that the election should be held sooner than later, and produced unsurprising results on asylum seekers, the NBN, mining tax, carbon tax, disability insurance and the education reforms formerly known as Gonski.

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