The 30th Newspoll since Turnbull challenged Abbott and won has confirmed that Labor remains well ahead on a TPP basis (52/48), although this is one percentage point lower for Labor than in March. However, Turnbull’s Better PM test also fell by a fraction (39/38) while Shorten’s was steady on 36, and he also fell on the Best Liberal leader test 30/28. At that level he is only one percentage point ahead of Bishop (28/27). The Coalition underTurnbull has now trailed Labor on two-party-preferred support for 564 days. Julia Gillard’s government trailed the Coalition for 521 consecutive days, Abbott’s government trailed Labor for 493 days while Howard’s longest period trailing Labor was 364 days (see PM has 30 Poll Losses).
The reasons for Turnbull’s failure are reflected in eight leadership quality measures assessed for The Australian by Newspoll. It shows that Shorten has drawn level on having a vision for Australia after Turnbull dropped from 66 to 59 per cent in two years and, as to being in touch with voters, Turnbull has dropped from 54 per cent in February 2016 to 42 per cent (see Turnbull Marked Down on Qualities).
The apparent downward trend in Turnbull’s acceptance as PM, and the increased difficulty the Coalition faces in securing policy reforms such as in energy policy, makes it increasingly unlikely that the Coalition will close the gap with Labor, let alone get ahead. There is no sign that Turnbull contemplates initiating major changes in policy, such as workplace relations which now has a junior minister in charge, which might constitute a substantial challenge to Labor.
Yet, while there are varied reactions to the poll, it seems that no Liberal Party member is prepared to challenge Turnbull. Abbott rejected the idea and, although Dutton has made a comment today that he would like to be PM, he gave no indication that he would challenge if Turnbull didn’t announce certain policy changes (see Varied Reactions to Poll).
Turnbull will of course hang on to the Prime Ministership for as long as he can and is likely to wait to the last possible moment before calling an election. He is more interested in himself than the nation.
Overall, it looks as though Australians will experience a dismal period of governance over the next year or so.