Essential Research’s weekly rolling average bucks the trend just slightly in having Labor up a point on the primary vote to 39%, although the point comes at the expense of the Greens who are down one to 8%, with the Coalition steady on 43%. Two-party preferred is unchanged at 51-49. Tony Abbott’s personal ratings have also failed to improve, contrary to other recent polling, his approval down two to 37% and disapproval steady at 51%. Kevin Rudd’s ratings tell a more familiar story however, his approval down five to 45% and disapproval up eight to 43%. Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister is down only slightly, from 50-35 to 47-35.

As it occasionally does, Essential poses a question more concerned with measuring knowledge in opinion: in this case, 25% think Australia’s national debt is higher compared to other developed countries while 46% say it’s lower, with Coalition voters about evenly divided. Forty-eight per cent rate reducing debt more important than maintaining spending on services and projects against 40% who think the opposite. Forty-five per cent would prefer the government cut spending to reduce debt against only 6% who would prefer taxes be raised, with 21% opting for both and 18% for neither. Foreign aid, the arts, subsidies for business and private schools top the list of preferred targets for cuts, with roads, public schools, pensions and health at the bottom.

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