Labor leads in Newspoll and Resolve as election race enters final half

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Labor confidence will be boosted by two polls showing they hold a solid lead, as Anthony Albanese won a well-orchestrated party launch in Perth on Sunday.

Newspoll, published in the Australian on Monday, gives Labor a lead on a bipartisan basis of 53-47%, unchanged in a week. A Resolve poll for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age has a 54-46% lead over Labor, the same as a fortnight ago.

In Newspoll, the ALP primary vote rose one point to 38%, while the Coalition held steady at 36%. Albanese has reduced Scott Morrison’s margin as the best prime minister. Morrison leads 45% (down one point) to Albanese’s 39% (up 2 points).

The Prime Minister recorded a positive 5-point turnaround in his satisfaction rating, with 44% satisfied with his performance and 51% dissatisfied, for a net rating of minus 7. Albanese’s satisfaction rating was 40% ( up 2) while dissatisfaction was 49% (down 1 point), with a net level of minus 9.

In the poll, 56% said it was time for a change of government.

The Resolve poll holds Labor steady on a 34% primary vote, while the Coalition fell from 35% to 33% on the primaries. The Greens jumped from 11% to 15%.

Morrison leads Albanese as preferred PM 39-33%. This compares to 38-30% a fortnight ago. Morrison’s approval is 42% and his disapproval is 51%, giving him a net rating of minus 9. Albanese’s approval is 37% while his disapproval is 48%, for a rating net minus 11.

The results of the twin polls show that halfway through the campaign, Labor’s election victories are holding up, although the government and opposition as well as commentators still view the competition as volatile. There are considerable regional variations, as well as intense battles where the “teal” candidates face off against the liberals.

The Newspoll of 1,538 voters was conducted from April 27-30. The Resolve poll was conducted April 26-30 with 1,408 voters.

Labor has reason to be happy with its official launch on Sunday in Perth, which could easily have gone wrong given that Albanese had just emerged from lockdown and was still suffering from the after effects of his COVID episode.

But he spoke well and his performance was energetic enough to give his campaign momentum. His speech was carefully crafted, with some good lines of attack against Scott Morrison.

“Scott Morrison keeps rushing from photo shoot to photo shoot, bragging that Australians know who he is.

“Well, he’s right. They don’t think – they know”.

Albanese didn’t have a show stopping big political announcement, but rather several small initiatives. But what he announced was carefully targeted to particular constituencies and issues.

Policy Initiation Commitments – An Albanian Government:

  • Make pay equity between women and men an objective of the Fair Work Act
  • Reduce the cost of drugs on the PBS by $12.50, bringing the maximum cost of a scenario to $30
  • Build more electric vehicle charging stations across Australia.
  • Helping aspiring low-to-middle income homebuyers by taking equity in their home
  • Investing $1 billion in value-added Australian resources

He promised to make gender equity a principle in the Fair Work Act and take other steps to achieve fairer treatment for low-wage women.

The reduction in the cost of prescriptions was a little more significant than that offered by the government.

His push for the government to take a stake in home purchases by aspiring homeowners was an acknowledgment of the affordability crisis that worries many young Australians.

The construction of more electric vehicle charging stations promotes a practical response to the issue of climate change.

And the $1 billion for value addition to Australian resources (out of a $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund that Labor had previously announced) speaks to the importance of undertaking more processing and manufacturing in Australia.

Albanese’s challenge over the next few days, until he is fully recovered from COVID, will be to maintain the energy level he showed on Sunday and avoid any mistakes.

But as things stand, it is Morrison who has the toughest challenge as he remains far behind with the finish line less than three weeks away and the start of pre-election just a week away.

Both sides will be holding their breath for Tuesday, when we will know whether interest rates rise immediately or wait another month. If there is an immediate increase, it will have an impact on the thinking of some voters, although it is difficult to judge exactly what that impact would be.

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