Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to be drawn on new poll figures showing he has clawed back some ground on Labor leader Bill Shorten.
Despite the improvement, the third Newspoll since Mr Morrison took over as prime minister shows his government is still headed for a big defeat at the coming federal election.
“I’m just sticking to my job, mate, basically,” Mr Morrison said when asked about the latest Newspoll figures on Monday.
Instead of a horror wipeout, the Coalition looks to be heading for just a regular wipeout, with Labor leading the two-party preferred vote 54 per cent to 46.
The Coalition was behind 56-44 in the previous two Newspolls. In this most recent poll, its primary vote has risen two points to 36 per cent, while Labor’s is down three points to 39 per cent.
The result represents a 4.4 per cent swing to Labor since the 2016 election, which would lead to the government losing up to 20 seats if replicated in a general election, according to The Guardian. However, it is the first positive movement towards the Coalition since Mr Morrison took over.
The Greens’ primary vote remains at 10 per cent while One Nation is also steady, at 6 per cent. Support for other minor parties and independents rose one point to 9 per cent.
Mr Morrison, who attended a ceremony to mark construction of the Western Sydney Airport on Monday, increased his lead as preferred prime minster to 45 per cent, ahead of Mr Shorten’s 32 per cent.
Mr Shorten’s approval fell five points while Mr Morrison’s rose three. Mr Morrison’s approval is the best result for a prime minister since February 2016.
Mr Shorten, who is on leave this week, recently met business figures for dinner, sparking concerns in the Coalition the business lobby is preparing for a Labor election win.
“Bill Shorten thinks he’s already there, he’s strutting around like if he’s in the job. I have no such arrogance and complacency,” Mr Morrison said.
The prime minister also came out in front on the Newspoll question of which leader voters considered more authentic.
In a bad sign for Mr Shorten, 21 per cent of Labor voters also chose Mr Morrison.
The poll of 1675 voters was conducted nationally for The Australian.