True to form, Essential Research bucks the trend in recording little change this week, with the Coalition down a point on the primary vote to 38%, Labor steady on 41%, the Greens steady on 9%, Palmer United up one to 3%, and two-party preferred unchanged at 54-46. Reflecting other polling, Tony Abbott is now running third as preferred Liberal leader on 11%, behind Malcolm Turnbull on 24% and Julie Bishop on 21%. A semi-regular question on leader attributes is particularly interesting at this point in time, with Tony Abbott up eight points since early December on “erratic” and down nine on “capable”, together with smaller adverse movements on other measures. However, Bill Shorten’s ratings are slightly worse than last time, which I’m inclined to put down to this week’s survey being a somewhat bad sample for Labor, hence their surprising failure to record any improvement on voting intention despite a strong result last week.

Further questions find a 34-34 draw on the question of whether Australia should become a republic, compared with 31-31 when the question was last raised in October; 26% in support of the reintroduction of knights and dames with 46% opposed; and 14% supportive of the Prince Philip knighthood with 69% opposed. Strikingly, a question on the minimum wage finds it to be deemed too low by 61% and too high by only 6%.

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