News National Labor draws level with Coalition: poll

Labor draws level with Coalition: poll

Malcolm Turnbull
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Malcolm Turnbull has recorded his worst ever Newspoll result as prime minister, with Labor closing the six point gap in two-party preferred polling.

Labor and the Coalition are now deadlocked at 50 per cent each in the two-party measure, according to the poll reported by The Australian on Monday.

The result marks a dramatic recovery for Mr Shorten and Labor. In the four Newspolls between November and early February, the Opposition trailed 47-53.

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The result followed a turbulent start to 2016 for Mr Turnbull and the Coalition, with a ministerial re-shuffle forced by controversial resignations, a retreat on raising the GST and Labor winning praise for its negative gearing policy proposal.

The Coalition’s primary vote also slumped by three points to 43 per cent, its lowest since Mr Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as prime minister in September 2015.

Labor’s primary vote rose one point to 35 per cent since the last Newspoll, which brought it back level with the mark it achieved in a late-September 2015 poll.

The Greens gained one point in the primary vote measure, to be sitting at 12 per cent. 

Education Minister Simon Birmingham told Sky News the Coalition was not deterred by the latest polls.

Bill Shorten
Mr Shorten and Labor have roared back into election contention. Photo: AAP

“We will be cautious and meticulous and make sure we get it right,” Mr Birmingham said.

“People should be confident … that we have a clear direction and that we’re working toward the Budget … and the election due in the second half of this year.”

Mr Shorten is still languishing a significant distance behind Mr Turnbull in the better Prime Minister measure. Despite a one point rise since the last poll, he trailed Mr Turnbull 55 per cent to 21 per cent.

Still, Labor seized on the two-party preferred result, describing it as the end of the PM’s polling “honeymoon”.

“The reality is the honeymoon is over for Malcolm Turnbull,” Labor senator Sam Dastyari told reporters in Canberra.

Labor senator Doug Cameron said voters were seeing through the government.

“We’ve got a prime minister who is week-kneed and won’t make decisions,” Mr Cameron told reporters

Mr Turnbull’s result in the preferred Prime Minister measure marked a four point drop since the last Newspoll.

The poll of 1807 voters taken from February 18 to 21 found 47 per cent were in favour of Labor’s negative-gearing plan, with 31 per cent against and 22 per cent undecided.

Since the previous poll The Nationals elected Barnaby Joyce as its leader, Stuart­ Robert stepped down from the ministry after his China travel scandal and Mr Turnbull made 17 changes to his frontbench of 42.

The Coalition also abandoned a raise to the GST.

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