Galaxy poll shows voters are in the mood to punish Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s early election call
SIMON BENSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL EDITOR
The Daily Telegraph
February 03, 201311:00PM
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Labor heading for heavy loss -…
Labor heading for heavy loss – Newspoll
The latest Newspoll shows ALP’s support is bleeding away and the party is heading for defeat in September.
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Prime Minister Julia Gillard is greeted by new Minister for Defence Materiel Mike Kelly. Picture: Ray Strange Source: The Daily Telegraph
A MAJORITY of Australians don’t believe Julia Gillard’s explanation for the bizarre decision to call the election date eight months in advance – and now appear determined to punish Labor at the September 14 poll.
An exclusive Galaxy Poll conducted for The Daily Telegraph will reveal the move did nothing to lift support for either the PM, or Labor.
With a two party preferred vote of 54/46 in favour of the Coalition – a 4 per cent swing against the government since the 2010 election – Labor could expect to lose at least 14 seats.
The poll results follow a horror start for Labor to the un-official election campaign, which started with the arrest of suspended Labor MP Craig Thomson last Thursday and ended with the resignation of two senior cabinet ministers over the weekend.
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The results of a national poll of 1015 voters reveals the PM’s extraordinary announcement last Wednesday was welcomed, but failed to translate into a lift in support for the government.
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Most voters now appear in no rush to go to the ballot box, with 55 per cent saying that now the date had been set, they were happy to wait until September 14 rather than go to an early poll.
Only 38 per cent wanted an election to be called now in a dramatic shift in mood compared to last year. The majority wanting an immediate march to the polls, not surprisingly, were Coalition supporters
However, few voters of either persuasion appear intent on rewarding the PM for subjecting them to an eight-month campaign.
Nor do they believe her motive was to provide the country with stability and certainty – rather to insure the government against resignations or a leadership challenge.
Re-enforcing the view that the PM has a significant battle ahead of her to restore trust with the community, 53 per cent of voters said they didn’t believe her explanation. Only 41 per cent accepted the PM’s claims.
With a primary vote of just 35 per cent, whatever bounce the government had been hoping for as parliament resumes this week has been dashed.
Galaxy CEO David Briggs said Ms Gillard should be relieved that the polls results weren’t worse.
“This poll confirms that the Coalition commences the campaign with a handy lead and Labor can be grateful that their horror week has not put them further behind,” Mr Briggs said.
“The calling of the election by Julia Gillard has not produced the circuit-breaker Labor required and with primary support for the party below the vote achieved at the last election they continue to trail the Coalition by a wide margin.”
The past three Galaxy polls since November 2012 have shown little change in the numbers and still show Labor three points short of the primary vote that delivered a hung parliament in 2010.
The Coalition’s primary vote remained at record highs of 48 per cent, while the Greens dropped back to 10 per cent, and Independents and others still at 7 per cent.
But while the Coalition’s lead remains strong, Mr Abbott’s popularity may still present a problem for his party room. The Opposition Leader and the PM now share dismally low personal numbers, with 57 per cent of voters claiming to be dissatisfied with both leader’s performances in the job.
Ms Gillard continues to receive stronger support among Labor voters than Tony Abbott does among Coalition voters.
Mr Briggs said the polls confirmed long held assumptions that people had switched off politics some time ago and showed no sign of tuning back in. Ms Gillard will address a jittery Labor caucus today, having spent the weekend dealing with the resignation of Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Higher Education Minister Chris Evans.
Treasurer Wayne Swan quashed suggestions he was considering retirement and confirmed he would contest the seat of Lilley in September.
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