The first ReachTel poll of 2000 people, taken after Bill Shorten’s reply to the budget, indicated that the federal budget had made little impact on the electorate with the primary vote of the two major parties stuck in the low 30s. But this was a very small sample.
Today’s poll published in The Age contains slightly better news for the Coalition but not much better.
The gap has been narrowed to a mere 6%, down from 10% (which is landslide proportions). So Malcolm Turnbull is clawing back some ground but hardly enough to reassure MPs in seats with narrow margins.
The interesting thing about this poll is that the primary vote of both major parties is at the expense of the minor parties which will be reassuring both for Bill Shorton and for Malcolm Turnbull. Nonetheless, their primary vote is still languishing in the mid 30s.
Turnbull’s difficulty is that he’s got this slight bounce as a result of what is essentially a Labor budget. There will be some disquiet within Coalition ranks as a result.
However, this particular poll has thrown up some interesting results. The majority of voters regard the budget as “fair” despite the fact that it involves an increase in Medicare levy to pay for the NDIS.
This is in marked contrast to the widespread belief that the Abbott/Hockey budgets were profoundly unfair.
So if the message from this poll is any indication, it is clear that the kinds of budgets that Abbott and Hockey were framing were, and probably remain, politically unacceptable.
If the Liberal party is going to have any chance of retaining government, it is going to have to continue stealing Labor Party policies and framing Labor Party budgets. This will present problems not only from Malcolm Turnbull but also for Bill Shorten if Turnbull is successful.
Interesting times ahead.