Increasing frustration about the vaccine rollout and lockdowns in the nation’s three most populous states has cut popular support for Prime Minister Scott Morrison in half.
The latest Newspoll conducted for The Australian newspaper and published on Sunday night found Mr Morrison’s approval rating had fallen from its high of 85 per cent in April 2020 to just 48 per cent in the latest survey conducted between August 4 and 7.
It equates to a four-point drop in only three weeks, and is the first time the PM’s performance has fallen into net negative territory since March 2020.
When translated to voting intentions, it leaves Labor leading the Coalition 53-47 on a two-party-preferred basis and the government facing its worst electoral position since the Black Saturday bushfires crisis in 2019-20.
The survey of 1527 voters across metropolitan and regional areas showed popular support for the federal Coalition and Labor remains deadlocked at 39 per cent.
But the Greens improved a point to 11 per cent, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation remained on 3 per cent, and support for other minor parties fell a point to 8 per cent.
For the first time since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, more people are unhappy with the PM’s pandemic management, particularly as the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland amid an insufficient vaccine supply.
For the first time, more people – 49 per cent – claim to be unhappy with Mr Morrison’s management of the pandemic, with clear divisions now established among voters along party lines.
About 74 per cent of Coalition voters claim Mr Morrison was managing the crisis well. This compared to 31 per cent of Labor voters and only 26 per cent of Greens voters.
Younger voters largely left unprotected amid the vaccine rollout were also the least satisfied, with just 42 per cent voicing their satisfaction, compared to 56 per cent of older Australians.
Mr Morrison maintains a clear advantage over Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister, although the gap has narrowed to its closest margin since the last election.
Mr Morrison dropped two points to 49 per cent while Mr Albanese picked up three points to 36 per cent.
Even the release of a four-phase roadmap linking vaccination rates to the reopening of the country last week failed to inspire more confidence in Mr Morrison’s performance.