James J relates in comments that Newspoll in tomorrow’s Australian is a good deal better for the Coalition then its recent polling form, with the Labor lead down from 57-43 a fortnight ago to 53-47. The major parties are tied at 38% of the primary vote with the Greens on 12%. Tony Abbott’s approval ratings have not improved, with approval on 25% and disapproval on 68%. The surprise is the poor ratings for Bill Shorten who is on at 35% approval and 49% disapproval, although he maintains a 43-35 lead over Abbott as preferred prime minister.

UPDATE (Morgan and Essential): Roy Morgan and Essential likewise record movement back to the Coalition, although not nearly as much. The Roy Morgan result, which combines two weekends of face-to-face plus SMS polling from a sample of 2639, has Labor down a point on the primary vote to 40.5%, the Coalition up two to 37.5%, the Greens down two to 10% and Palmer United steady on 2%. Labor’s two-party lead is down from 57.5-42.5 to 56-44 on respondent-allocated preferences, and 57-43 to 55-45 on previous election preferences.

After failing to join in with the other pollsters in registering a post-Australia Day Coalition collapse, Essential Research now finds itself in alignment with Newspoll as Labor’s lead narrows from 54-46 to 53-37, from primary votes of 40% for the Coalition (up one), 41% for Labor (steady), 9% for the Greens (down one) and 2% for Palmer United (steady). The result combines two weeks of polling from a sample of 1836.

This week’s tranche of the Essential survey also inquires about economic management and foreign relations, recording substantial change in sentiment on both counts since the questions were last asked in October. The government’s “good” rating on economic management is down five to 34%, while “poor” is up two to 30%. Respondents are found to have become less concerned about various cost of living measures, particularly and understandably in relation to petrol, but more concerned about debt and deficit.

The Abbott government is being marked down even further on trust in handling international relations, the positive rating down seven to 33% and negative up nine to 62%. For Indonesia specifically, the government’s “good” rating is down eight to 24% with negative up three to 42%. Relations with other countries appear to have become less important to respondents generally, the “very important” ratings for Indonesia, the United States and Britain down by about 10%. However, the results for China and Japan are down a good deal less.

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