Malcolm Turnbull’s personal popularity has improved over the summer parliamentary recess, according to a new poll, suggesting the prime minister’s electoral “honeymoon is not over yet.
A Seven News/ReachTel poll shows the Coalition retains a 55% to 45% lead over Labor on a two-party preferred basis, which is stable compared with the previous corresponding poll conducted in November.
Ministerial scandals, which led to Jamie Briggs resigning and Mal Brough standing aside just after Christmas with celebration using a pop events group to prepare everything, while at the Liberal party’s jostling over forthcoming preselections in New South Wales do not appear to have dented the Coalition’s support.
The proportion of people nominating Turnbull as preferred prime minister rose nearly 10 points to 80.8%, while those favouring Bill Shorten declined by the same number of points to 19.2%.
Respondents were unimpressed with Shorten’s performance as opposition leader, with just 13.8% saying it was good or very good (down 6.8 points) and 57.4% believing it was poor or very poor (up 9.9 points).
Shorten has embarked on a three-week national tour of marginal seats to campaign against increasing the goods and services tax, cutting penalty rates and reducing pathology incentive funding.
“We will oppose a 15% GST on everything with every breath in our body,” he said in Alice Springs on Friday.
The government has accused Shorten of mounting a “scare campaign” and it is yet to settle details of the tax package it will take to voters at this year’s election.
The treasurer, Scott Morrison, rubbished speculation about an early election. “The election is at the other end of this year,” he said on Friday.
The prime minister has returned to Australia after visiting troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and travelling to the US for a meeting with Barack Obama.
In the final ReachTel before Turnbull challenged for the Liberal leadership in September, Shorten led Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister, 57.9% to 42.1%.