The Essential Research fortnightly rolling average looks like the only poll we’ll be getting this week, as its rivals hold their fire ahead of tonight’s budget. The poll has ticked a point to the Coalition on two-party preferred, bringing Labor’s lead down to 52-48. The primary votes are 41% for the Coalition (up one), 39% for Labor (steady), 11% for the Greens (up one) and 1% for Palmer United (steady). Also featured are monthly leadership ratings, which find Tony Abbott continuing to improve – he’s up three on approval to 36%, and down four on disapproval to 54%. Bill Shorten’s ratings are stable, with approval and disapproval both down a point to 32% and 41%, which on recent form would be a relief for him. However, Abbott now leads as preferred prime minister, Shorten’s 35-32 a lead of month ago having reversed.

As Joe Hockey prepares to bring down his second budget, the poll shows that his ratings too are slightly less bad than they were, with approval on 30% and disapproval on 48%, respectively up three and down three compared with the last time the question was asked in March. He is now clearly ahead of Chris Bowen on trust to handle the economy, his 26-25 lead opening to 30-22, with “don’t know” still running extremely high. The poll also finds support for the government’s tighter assets test on pensions – 56% in favour, with 30% opposed.

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