Malcolm Turnbull has accused his colleagues of “blowing up the government” and last night’s Newspoll certainly supports his general thesis.
The 55:45 two-party preferred vote is a poorer result than Scott Morrison’s last poll shock just a fortnight ago.
It’s an ugly set of numbers that could mean the coup plotters, including Peter Dutton, are turfed out of Parliament entirely.
The Coalition’s primary vote has fallen again, this time to 35 per cent. Labor has 40 per cent of first-preference votes.
Even Mr Morrison’s grip as preferred PM took a slide.
Lest we forget recent attempts to claim as significant the fact that Mr Morrison was ahead of Bill Shorten in the preferred prime minister stakes, that gap has also narrowed, from 43-35 to 42-36.
It’s always worth remembering in any Newspoll analysis that the preferred PM figures are largely a waste of time. It favours the incumbent.
What matters is the primary vote – how people are going to actually vote.
While the usual suspects will find a way to blame these results on Mr Turnbull’s appearance on Q&A last Thursday, that actually captures just a fraction of the time Newspoll was talking to voters.
And last fortnight’s poll was also a stinker.
Mr Turnbull insists internal party polling suggested he was ahead in key marginals before he was rolled, and could have won the election.
That’s optimistic. But there’s plenty of evidence Mr Turnbull wouldn’t have lost as badly as these numbers suggest Mr Morrison is on track to do.
That’s why Mr Turnbull described the decision to remove him as prime minister as a form of “madness”, with Mr Shorten the only winner.
Consider also the self immolation of an entire generation of alternative future leaders – Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison and Julie Bishop.
The smart thing would have been to run Mr Turnbull to an election to wear the loss and then install Mr Morrison as opposition leader.
Now Mr Morrison faces staying on as opposition leader after being PM if he loses, a rare political experiment he would share with Gough Whitlam after the dismissal.
Mr Dutton has damaged himself. There’s every chance Ms Bishop has had enough and will resign.
Since he was elected as Australia’s accidental prime minister on August 24, Mr Morrison has been trying on various personas to connect with “everyday Australians”.
There’s nothing to suggest yet there’s a coherent election strategy beyond travelling around Queensland in a blue bus with his face plastered all over it and saying fair dinkum a lot.
The big problem for the Coalition and Mr Morrison, though, is that Newspoll suggests voters don’t think he’s fair dinkum at all.