Essential Research once again fails to show much sign of the post-Australia Day collapse in Coalition support evident from other pollsters, with two-party preferred still at 54-46 (only one point weaker for the Coalition than before Australia Day) and primary votes unchanged on last week at 39% for the Coalition, 41% for Labor and 10% for the Greens, excepting a one point drop for Palmer United to 2%. But once again, there is still plenty of bad news for Tony Abbott in the subsequent attitudinal questions, with only 28% saying Tony Abbott should be kept as Liberal leader until the election under all circumstances versus 22% who went for an option allowing him six months to improve, and 39% believing he should go right now. Among Coalition voters, the results are 48%, 34% and 14%. Support for the party room’s decision to reject the spill motion is evenly divided at 40-40, becoming 71-18 among Coalition supporters. The poll reports 49% of respondents expecting Labor to win the next election versus just 23% for the Coalition, and 61% considering it unlikely Tony Abbott will still be leader at the time versus on 20% for likely.

On top of that, a semi-regular suite of questions on which party is most trusted to handle various issues actually finds movement in the Coalition’s favour on economic management, education, climate change and treatment of asylum seekers since the question was last asked at June, albeit that the poll was conducted at the lowest ebb of post-budget backlash. Other results are effectively unchanged, the Coalition retaining strong leads on security and the war on terrorism (up three to 19%), economic management, controlling interest rates and treatment of asylum seekers, but marked down heavily on protection of the environment, and Labor strongly favoured on health, education and industrial relations (UPDATE: I should observe that a flaw in Essential Research’s “difference” column is that it shows Liberal minus Labor, when respondents are in fact given a third choice for the Greens. Presumably Labor would have generally better “difference” ratings otherwise). The poll also finds 44% opposed to the government’s data retention policy with 40% in support, and 37% holding a strong view that submarines should be built in Australia, 34% believing it should only be so if the cost is similar to alternative options, and 12% requiring that the cost be lower.

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