Shorten records lowest approval ratings as opposition leader – Fairfax Ipsos Poll

Labor leads the Coalition in voting intention

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s approval rating is 35% (down 6 points since June), according to the latest national Fairfax Ipsos Poll, while his disapproval rating is 55% (up 8 points since June). This gives a net approval of -20 (down 14 points since June) and Shorten’s lowest approval rating since becoming Opposition Leader in October 2013.

Shorten remains the preferred Prime Minister, however, at 43%, an increase of 1 point since June. Thirty nine per cent favour Tony Abbott as Prime Minister (a rise 2 of points since June).

Tony Abbott’s approval rating is 36% (down 4 points since June). His disapproval rating is 59% (up 5 points since June). This gives a net approval of -23 (down 9 points since June).

Labor is ahead of the Coalition, with the national poll of 1,402 respondents, interviewed from 2-4 July 2015, showing the Labor party with 53% of the two-party preferred vote (unchanged since June), ahead of the Coalition on 47% (also unchanged since June), based on 2013 election preferences.

“This indicates a -6.5% swing against the Abbott Government since the September 2013 Federal election,” Ipsos Director Jessica Elgood said. “The two-party stated preference vote also shows the Labor party on 53%, down 1 point since June, leading the Coalition on 47%, up 1 point since June.”

First preference votes put the Labor party on 35% (down 2 points since June) and the Coalition on 39% (down 1 point since June). The Greens continue to lead the minor parties with 16% (up 2 points since June). The Palmer United Party remains on 1% (unchanged since June), and the others are on 8% (unchanged since June). Six per cent of respondents are undecided. These are excluded from the two-party stated preference figures.

Leader attributes

The tables below shows the attribute scores for Abbott and Shorten.

Of the eleven attributes, Bill Shorten has a statistically significant lead on six; being open to ideas (68%), having a firm grasp of social policy (59%), having the confidence of his party (56%), being viewed as more competent (52%), and having a firm grasp of economic policy (43%).

He is also seen as being more easily influenced by minority groups (46%), and there has been a 15-point fall in those saying he has the confidence of his party (from 71% to 56% since November 2014).

Mr Shorten
% saying attribute applies July 2014 Nov 2014 July 2015 Change
Open to ideas 58 68 68 0
Has a firm grasp of social policy 58 62 59 -3
Has the confidence of his party 63 71 56 -15
Competent 57 58 52 -6
Is easily influenced by minority groups 42 44 46 +2
Has a firm grasp of economic policy 45 43 43 0
Trustworthy 45 44 39 -5
Has a firm grasp of foreign policy 38 42 39 -3
Has a clear vision for Australia’s future 38 43 36 -7
Strong leader 40 43 34 -9
Has the ability to make things happen 36 36 35 -1

 

Mr Abbott
% saying attribute applies Aug 2010 Oct 2012 Apr 2013 July 2013 July 2014 Nov 2014 Feb1 2015 July 2015 Change
Has the ability to make things happen 58 51 57 49 58 48 43 55 +12
Has the confidence of his party 73 64 76 79 64 53 21 51 +30
Has a clear vision for Australia’s future 51 49 53 48 54 49 42 49 +7
Has a firm grasp of economic policy 52 52 53 49 45 46 38 47 +9
Competent 63 58 60 55 52 50 39 45 +6
Strong leader 54 50 52 48 47 42 33 42 +9
Has a firm grasp of foreign policy 46 43 47 39 43 45 42
Trustworthy 46 41 47 40 35 36 36 35 -1
Open to ideas 55 46 52 46 38 39 35 34 -1
Is easily influenced by minority groups 28 27 23 28 28 29 30 28 -2
Has a firm grasp of social policy 51 44 45 47 34 31 29 30 +1

 

While Tony Abbott’s attribute ratings have generally improved since his low point of February 2015, no Prime Minister has received such a low figure for being a strong leader (42%) and having a firm grasp of foreign policy (42%).

Constitutional recognition
The vast majority of Australians (85%) supports the amendment of the constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first inhabitants of Australia; only 11% are opposed. Young voters (under 25) and women are significant more likely to support this proposal (90% and 89%, respectively).

This marks a positive shift in support from 77% in 2013 to current figure of 85%; which means a balance of opinion of +57 that has improved to +74.

Nielsen polls in 1999 and 2012 also polled this issue, but with question wording that is distinct and cannot be directly compared. In January and August 1999 the question was asked in the context of the republic referendum, and respondents were asked: “Should the preamble to the Constitution be rewritten to acknowledge Aborigines as the first inhabitants of Australia?”

In February 2012, this was asked as: “Thinking now about the Australian Constitution, do you think the preamble to the Constitution should be rewritten to acknowledge Aborigines as the first inhabitants of Australia or not?”

Acknowledge Aborigines in Constitution Preamble
Support Oppose Don’t know
Open to ideas 63 61 62
Has a firm grasp of social policy 26 28 33
Has the confidence of his party 11 11 5



Suspension of citizenship

Three-quarters of Australians (75%) support the removal of citizenship from those Australians (with sole citizenships) who take part in terrorist activities, when that person is able to become a citizen of another country; 21% are opposed.

This issue divides clearly by party lines, with Coalition voters significantly more likely to back this proposition (89% support), in contrast to Labor voters (69%) and Green voters (49%).

Poll Profile
Fieldwork dates: 2-4 July 2015
Sample size: 1,402 respondents
Sample: National, aged 18+. 29% 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.


1 The February 2015 Fairfax Ipsos poll asked leader attributes of Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. This question was not asked about Bill Shorten at this time.
4 Previously asked in Nielson national poll of n=1400 respondents, between 10-12 April 2014.