Labor retains a 53-47% unchanged two-party lead in the latest Newspoll, despite one in two voters opposing its recently announced policy to scrap cash refunds for dividend imputation.
In a status-quo poll, published in Monday’s Australian, the primary vote of the Coalition remained at 37%, while Labor increased one point to 39%. There was minimal change in the better prime minister ratings – Malcolm Turnbull has risen from 37% to 39%, while Bill Shorten is up from 35% to 36%.
This is the 29th consecutive Newspoll in which the Coalition has trailed. It now appears inevitable the government will hit 30 consecutive negative Newspolls – the number Turnbull invoked when launching his 2015 challenge against Tony Abbott. He has since admitted he regrets using Newspoll as one of the several reasons he gave for arguing the leadership should be changed.
When Newspoll asked voters about Shorten’s policy “to abolish franking credit cash refunds for retirees”, 50% said they opposed it. Only 33% were in favour.
The controversial policy was unveiled just before the Batman byelection, which Labor won well. Some Labor sources had predicted the policy would cause the opposition to take a hit in the polls but it obviously has not been a vote-changer in this one.
The poll comes as the government hopes to cut deals quickly with key crossbenchers to get its A$35 billion tax cut for large companies through the Senate this week. This is the last sitting week before the May budget.
The key outstanding crossbenchers are Derryn Hinch from Victoria and Tim Storer from South Australia. Storer was only sworn in last week; he replaced a Nick Xenophon Team senator but sits as an independent, having fallen out with the party before reaching the parliament.
Treasurer Scott Morrison dismissed the latest Newspoll result, reeling off improved budget and economic numbers and saying these were the numbers “Australians sweat on more than the Newspoll”.
“These are the things that change people’s daily lives. Newspoll doesn’t,” he told the ABC.
This article was written by:
Michelle Grattan – [Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra]