This week’s Essential Report comes in with the primaries showing the Coalition down 1 to 40, the ALP up 3 to 38, the Greens down 3 to 11 and the broad “Others” up 1 to 10. This washes out into a two party preferred of 52/48 to Labor, a one point gain to the red team since last week. This comes from a two week rolling sample of 1842, giving us an MoE that maxes our around the 2.3% mark.
Additional questions this week looked at opinion on party leaders and Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan.

Do you think Kevin Rudd is the best person to lead the Labor Party to the next election or would the Labor Party have a better chance of winning the next election if they changed leaders?

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On the cross-tabs, Essential tells us:

55% of Greens voters and 45% of other/independent voters thought the Labor Party should change their leader.

Full‐time workers supported Kevin Rudd 43% to 38%.

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Do you think Tony Abbott is the best person to lead the Liberal Party to the next election or would the Liberal Party have a better chance of winning the next election if they changed leaders?

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On the cross tabs, Essential says:

79% of Greens voters and 49% of other/independent voters thought the Liberal Party should change their leader.

Men (34%) and those aged 65+ (34%) were the strongest supporters of Tony Abbott remaining as leader.

For all the speculation about Rudd and the leadership, it actually turns out that Rudd is seen as better than Abbott to lead their respective  parties by 37/29, and that more people believe that Abbott is a bigger impediment to victory than Rudd by 47/40.

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Who do you think would make the better Prime Minister out of Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott?

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On the cross-tabs Essential tells us:

Men preferred Kevin Rudd by 45% to 38%, whereas women were much less likely to prefer Tony Abbott (Rudd 49%, Abbott 23%).

Greens voters preferred Kevin Rudd 64% to 9%.

Also worth mentioning, as we suggested with the Newspoll article today on this, that Better PM metrics are becoming more polarised – being increasingly correlated with the partisan vote.  In March this year when Essential last asked this question, a relatively steady 92% of Labor voters thought Rudd was the Better Premier while only 74% of Coalition voters thought Abbott was Better PM, compared to today’s 80%.

If we go back to 23 November last year before the Abbott polarisation effect really kicked in, we find again that a consistent 93% of Labor voters thought Rudd was the Better PM, while a lowly 62% of Coalition voters thought Malcolm Turnbull was the Better PM.

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Who do you think would make the better Prime Minister out of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard?

emcbetterpmalpOn the cross-tabs, we get:

Respondents were fairly evenly split over whether Kevin Rudd (36%) or Julia Gillard (33%) would make the better Prime Minister. This is a substantial change since this question was last asked in February – Julia Gillard up 7% and Kevin Rudd down 9%.

Labor voters preferred Kevin Rudd (56% to 30%) and Liberal voters preferred Julia Gillard (36% to 26%). Greens voters preferred Julia Gillard by 62% to 18%.

Men show greater support for Kevin Rudd (40%/33%) whereas women were evenly divided (32%/34%).

Next up, the hypothetical head-to-head:

Who do you think would make the better Prime Minister out of Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard?

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The cross-tabs tell us:

There were major differences by gender – men preferred Julia Gillard by a margin of 7% (47%/40%) whereas the margin among women was 28% (53%/25%).

Greens voters preferred Julia Gillard 83% to 8%.

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Thinking about the Australian troops in Afghanistan, do you think Australia should:

emcafghanistanOn the cross-tabs we have:

61% of respondents think Australia should withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, 24% think we should keep the same number and 7% think we should increase numbers.

Support for withdrawal of troops has increased by 11% since this question was asked in March last year.

There was majority support for withdrawal of troops across all demographic groups and voter types. 55% of Liberal/National voters, 61% of Labor voters and 75% of Greens voters support withdrawal of Australia’s troops.

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