FEDERAL COALITION SUPPORT SLUMPS AS DISAPPROVAL OF TONY ABBOTT CONTINUES TO RISE – FAIRFAX IPSOS POLL

The Australian Labor Party Labor has increased its lead over the Coalition, according to the latest Fairfax Ipsos Poll.

The national poll of 1,405 respondents, interviewed from 29-31 January 2015, shows the Labor Party with 54% of the two-party preferred vote (up 2 since December 2014), ahead of the Coalition on 46% (down 2 since December 2014), based on 2013 election preferences. This indicates a 7.5% swing against the Abbott Government since the September 2013 Federal election.

The two-party stated preference vote shows Labor on 56% (up 3 since December 2014), leading the Coalition on 44% (down 3 since December 2014).

“First preference votes put the Coalition on 38%, a fall of two points, and Labor party on 40% an increase of three points since December 2014. The Greens continue to lead the minor parties with 11%, down 1 since December 2014. The Palmer United Party is on 3%, up 1 since December 2014, and others are on 8%, down 1 since December 2014,” Ipsos Director Jessica Elgood said.

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

Tony Abbott’s approval rating is 29% (down 9 since December 2014). His disapproval rating is 67% (up 10 since December 2014). This gives a net approval of -38 (down 19 points since December 2014).

“This approval rating is lower than Prime Ministers Howard, Rudd and Gillard at the same point of their first term of office,” Elgood said.

Key findings
• Tony Abbott’s approval at 29% (down 9 since December 2014), disapproval at 67% (up 10 since December 2014), net approval at -38 (down 19 points since December 2014)
• Bill Shorten’s approval at 48% (up 2 since December 2014), disapproval at 38% (down 3 since December 2014), net approval at +10 (up 5 since December 2014)
• 50% would prefer Bill Shorten as Prime Minister (up 3 since December 2014); 34% would prefer Tony Abbott (down 5 since December 2014).
• A large majority (70%) has confidence that Bill Shorten will lead the Labor Party into the next Federal Election; only 31% think Tony Abbott will be leading the Coalition at the time of the next Federal Election.
• 72% are confident in how the Federal Government is responding to the threat of terrorism.
• 34% are confident in how the Federal Government is dealing with Medicare.
• 53% agree that the Federal Government needs to reduce the cost of Medicare.
• 54% support the reduction of the Medicare rebate by $5 for non-concessional patients.
• Only 25% support the reintroduction of the Knight and Dame of the Order of Australia. Three-quarters (74%) oppose Tony Abbott’s decision to make Prince Philip a Knight of the Order of Australia.

Leaders’ approval and preferred Prime Minister

Prime Minister’s approval rating after same period in office

Prime Minister | Date | Approve %
Howard | (Aug 1997)[1] | 46
Rudd | (March 2009)[2] | 74
Gillard | (Oct 2011) | 33
Abbott | (Jan 2015) | 29

[1] August 1997 is the nearest Nielsen polling data available to the 16 month point of Howard’s time as Prime Minister.

[2] March 2009 is the nearest Nielsen polling data available to the 16 month point of Rudd’s time as Prime Minister

Among Coalition voters, Abbott’s approval rating is 59%. This marks a drop of 18 points since December 2014, when approval for Abbott among his own voters was 77%. More than a third (36%) of Coalition voters disapprove of Prime Minister’s performance.

Bill Shorten’s approval rating is 48% (up 2 since December 2014). His disapproval rating is 38% (down 3 since December 2014). This gives a net approval of +10 (up 5 since December 2014).

Shorten is the preferred Prime Minister, at 50%, an increase of 3 points since December 2014. A third (34%) favours Tony Abbott as Prime Minister (a fall of 5 points since December 2014). This figure is lower than Prime Ministers Howard, Rudd and Gillard at the same point of their (first) term of office.

Preferred Prime Minister rating after same period in office
Prime Minister | Date | %
Howard | (Aug 1997) | 48
Rudd | (March 2009) | 69
Gillard  | (Oct 2011) | 44
Abbott | (Jan 2015) | 34

Leading party into election
A minority (31%) believes that the Prime Minister will lead his party into the next Federal Election, and even among Coalition supporters this figure only increases to 44%.
In contrast, 70% think Bill Shorten will be leading the Labor Party at the time of the next Federal Election. Only one in six (16%) doubt that he will be leader at that time.

Do you believe Tony Abbott/Bill Shorten will be the leader of the Coalition/Labor Party at the next Federal Election?
Abbott
All % | Coalition voters
Yes 31 | 44
No 60 | 46

Shorten
% All | % Labor voters %
Yes 70 | 78
No 16 | 10

Threat of terrorism
There is confidence in how the Government is responding to the threat of terrorism; 72% have confidence in the Government’s response (19% very confident, 53% fairly confident). This level of confidence rises to 84% among Coalition voters.

Medicare
In contrast, only a third has confidence in how the Government is dealing with Medicare: 34% are confident, 62% do not have confidence with respect to this issue. Among Coalition voters, confidence in the Government’s handling of the situation relating to Medicare is significantly higher, at 58%.

More than half (53%) agree that the Federal Government needs to reduce the cost of Medicare – this marks a three point rise since March 2014 in those agreeing. Two in five (39%) disagree that Medicare costs need to be reduced.

Levels of agreement with this statement are relatively consistent between the differing political party supporters – with Coalition voters most likely to agree (57%), over half of Labor voters agreeing (53%), and 47% among Green voters.

A narrow majority (54%) supports the proposal that the Medicare rebate be reduced by $5 for non-concessional patients; 42% are opposed. Coalition voters are significantly more likely to back the proposition (73%), compared to Labor (40%) and Green voters (38%).

Knights and Dames
Only a quarter (25%) supports the reintroduction of the Knight and Dame of the Order of Australia by the Coalition Government. This marks a 10 point fall in support since April 2014, after its reintroduction. Among Coalition voters support is at 35%, falling to 20% among Labor voters and 11% among Green voters.

While the majority of those over 40 are opposed, those under 40 are less clear cut in their opinion, with three in 10 saying they ‘don’t know’.

Three-quarters (74%) oppose Tony Abbott’s decision to make Prince Philip a Knight of the Order of Australia; only 15% support this decision. Coalition supporters (23%) and younger voters, aged 18-24, (26%) are more likely to support this decision.

Poll Profile
Fieldwork dates: 29-31 January 2015
Sample size: 1,405 respondents
Sample: National, aged 18+. 27% 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 by age, gender and location (metro/non-metro) to reflect the population distribution.

ends

For further information contact:

Jessica Elgood
Ipsos Director
0431 656 217

Mark Davis
Ipsos Public Affairs Managing Director
0412 508 188

Rochelle Burbury
Third Avenue Consulting
Rochelle@thirdavenue.com.au
0408 774 577

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