Labor benefits from lacklustre Turnbull government

The Labor Party is ahead of the Coalition in the March Fairfax Ipsos Poll, released today, while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating fell to its lowest level since becoming PM.

The national poll of 1,400 respondents, interviewed from 22-25 March 2017, shows the Labor party on 55% (up 4 points since November 2016), with the Coalition on 45% (down 4 points since November 2016), based on 2016 election preferences. This indicates a 5.4% swing against the Coalition Government since the July 2016 Federal election.

The two-party stated preference vote also shows a lead for the Labor party on 56% (up 5 points since November 2016) and the Coalition on 44% (down 5 points since November 2016).

“First preference votes put Labor on 34%, up 4 points since November 2016, and the Coalition on 33%, down 3 points since November. The Greens lead the minor parties with 16%, which is unchanged since November. One Nation is on 2% and others are on 15%, down 3 points since November,” Ipsos Director Jessica Elgood said.

“In addition, Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating has fallen to 40%, his lowest approval rating since becoming Prime Minister.”

Six per cent of respondents are undecided. These are excluded from the two-party stated preference figures.

Key findings

  • Leaders’ approval ratings: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating is 40% (down 5 points since November), with 48% saying they disapprove of his performance as PM (up 3 points since November). Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s approval rating is 35% (down 2 points since November), with 53% disapproving (unchanged since November).
  • Preferred Prime Minister: 45% prefer Malcolm Turnbull as the Prime Minister (down 6 points since November); 33% prefer Bill Shorten (up 3 points since November)
  • Company tax: 44% support a reduction in company tax over the next decade, with 39% opposed.
  • Penalty rates: 63% believe the reduction in penalty rates will make no difference to the number of businesses choosing to open on Sundays and public holidays.
  • Housing affordability: 19% believe that tax concessions for real estate investors should be increased, 35% think they should be reduced and 40% say they should remain the same.

Leaders’ approval and preferred Prime Minister
Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating is sitting at 40% (down 5 points since November). His disapproval rating is 48% (up 3 points since November). This gives a net approval of -8 (down 8 points since November), which is his lowest approval rating since becoming PM.

Bill Shorten’s approval rating is 35% (down 2 points since November) and his disapproval rating is 53% (unchanged since November). This gives a net approval of -18 (down 2 points since November).

Malcolm Turnbull remains the preferred Prime Minister, at 45%, a fall of 6 points since November. 33% favour Bill Shorten as Prime Minister (a rise of 3 points since November).

Company tax
When asked to consider whether there should be a reduction of company tax rates from 30% to 25% over the next decade, opinion is split with 44% supporting the idea and 39% opposed. This gives a slim positive balance of opinion of +5.

The issue divides strongly along party lines, with two-thirds (67%) of Coalition voters supporting the proposal, but half (49%) of Labor voters and almost two-thirds (64%) of Green voters opposed.

Men are more likely to support a cut in company tax rates (48%, compared to 39% among women).

Penalty rates
When asked to consider the impact of the reduction in penalty rates for those working on Sundays and public holidays, most Australians (63%) believe that the change will make no difference to the number of businesses that choose to open on those days. In contrast, 29% think it may increase the number of businesses open on Sundays and public holidays.

Coalition voters are more than twice as likely as Labor voters to believe this change will have a positive impact on the number of businesses opening on these days.

Housing affordability
Only one in five (19%) Australians believe that tax concessions for real estate investors should be increased; three-quarters think they should be reduced (35%) or remain the same (40%).

Labor and Greens voters are more likely to think that tax concessions for real estate investors should be reduced (41% and 46%, respectively).

However, those aged 25-39 are significantly more likely to support increased tax concessions (23%), than other Australians.

Poll Profile
Fieldwork dates: 22-25 March 2017
Sample size: 1,400 respondents
Sample: National, aged 18+, 38% of sample comprised mobile phone numbers.
Method: Telephone, using random digit dialling.
Statistical reliability: ±2.6% is the maximum margin of sampling error that might apply to this sample
Analysis: The data has been weighted to reflect the population distribution.