The decision to install Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister has paid immediate dividends for the Coalition, according to a new Roy Morgan poll, propelling him to a strong lead over rival Bill Shorten.
The new PM has received an “immediate mandate” from Australian electors according to the poll, leading Mr Shorten 70 per cent to 24 per cent as the “better PM”, dramatically changing the leadership dynamic in Canberra in the government’s favour.
The other 6 per cent of electors either supported another candidate or did not name anyone.
Roy Morgan held a snap SMS poll on Tuesday afternoon. It asked over 1,200 voters who they supported as the better leader of Australia.
“Australian electors have given a massive mandate to new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on his first day as Prime Minister,” Gary Morgan said.
“Turnbull leads clearly amongst both genders, across all States and Territories and leads Shorten across supporters of both major parties.”
Remarkably, even a majority of Labor supporters say that Mr Turnbull is the better PM, at 50 per cent to Mr Shorten’s 44 per cent.
The poll shows that crucially for Mr Turnbull, supporters of the Liberal National Coalition gave him a huge show of support at 86 per cent to Mr Shorten’s 7 per cent.
Supporters of the Greens also prefer Mr Turnbull to Mr Shorten by 19 per cent.
During his first question time as Prime Minister on Tuesday, Labor forced Mr Turnbull to announce his support for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage and the Coalition’s existing carbon emissions targets.
Earlier, former Liberal Party leader John Howard pledged his support to Malcolm Turnbull, while praising Tony Abbott’s accomplishments as Prime Minister.
Mr Howard said the “state of the polls” was to blame for the change in leader and a “more intensive and active media cycle”.
“I’m not into blaming the media… but I do think we are living in a more super-charged, frenetic top-of-the-head environment – it is different,” he said.
But his most glowing praise was reserved for Mr Abbott, who led the Liberal Party for almost six years – with nearly two spent as Prime Minister.