Tuesday, 25 June 2013
The OZ: Gender war misfires for Julia Gillard, finds Newspoll
A quarterly analysis of Newspoll surveys also reveals that Mr Abbott is almost as popular among female voters as the nation's preferred prime minister, coming within four percentage points of Ms Gillard, the closest for two years.
The sharpest falls in personal support for Ms Gillard - to the lowest levels since she became Prime Minister exactly three years ago - occurred in NSW, South Australia and Western Australia, among men and among voters aged over 50.
Jumps in support for Mr Abbott among the same states and groups have given him the lead as preferred prime minister in every state and demographic except Victoria and among women and among younger voters.
Labor's primary vote has also slumped in the past three months in the same areas where Ms Gillard's support has fallen, with the Coalition holding double-digit, two-party-preferred leads in every state except South Australia, where it is eight points ahead, and Victoria, where Labor holds a slim lead.
The latest fortnightly Newspoll survey, published in The Australian yesterday, showed Labor's primary vote dropping to just 29 per cent and Mr Abbott opening a 12-point lead over Ms Gillard as preferred prime minister.
The latest quarterly analysis of Newspoll surveys, conducted exclusively for The Australian, reveals that Mr Abbott's ascendancy over Ms Gillard has increased in the past three months.
His success in closing in on Ms Gillard's last stronghold will fuel calls for her to step down as prime minister and give way to Kevin Rudd, who was well in front of Mr Abbott as preferred prime minister when he was removed three years ago this week.
Labor ministers and MPs continued to trade public accusations of leadership destabilisation yesterday as more Labor MPs joined calls for the stalemate to be resolved by a challenge from Mr Rudd by the end of the week.
But amid expectations there could be a challenge on Thursday, Mr Rudd has booked a flight to China that afternoon to speak at a conference in Beijing the following day.
The move could bring forward the deadline to resolve Labor's leadership crisis before parliament rises. Mr Rudd's supporters yesterday moved to shift the blame for the crisis to Ms Gillard's ministerial backers, accusing them of fanning disunity and speculation by continually talking about a challenge.
Polling reveals that Ms Gillard enjoyed a lift in popularity after she spectacularly raised gender issues in parliament last October, accusing Mr Abbott and the Coalition of misogyny. However, more recent efforts to reignite the issue have failed to resonate with voters. As part of her campaign to stay ahead of Mr Abbott as preferred prime minister and buttress her leadership, Ms Gillard this month labelled the Opposition Leader a "man in a blue tie" who would revisit abortion laws and head a government that diminished women.
But in the latest Newspoll analysis, satisfaction with Ms Gillard among women voters fell three percentage points to 32 per cent, the lowest in 12 months and only a point above her lowest satisfaction rating among women since becoming prime minister.
Dissatisfaction among women rose four points to 56 per cent, the highest since June last year, giving Ms Gillard a net satisfaction rating - the difference between satisfaction and dissatisfaction - of - 24.
Support for Mr Abbott among women remained virtually unchanged - and identical to support for the Prime Minister - with 32 per cent satisfied with his performance and 56 per cent dissatisfied.
On the question of who voters would prefer as prime minister, support for Ms Gillard among women dropped three points to 40 per cent - only one point above her lowest since becoming prime minister - as Mr Abbott's support rose three points to 36 per cent. In the previous survey between January and March, Ms Gillard held a 10-point gap over Mr Abbott, down from 16 points in the quarter that captured her misogyny speech to parliament.
On a party basis, Labor's support among women dropped from 36 to 34 per cent, leaving the Coalition with a 10-point primary vote advantage at 44 per cent.
The use of gender politics also appears to have cost Ms Gillard support among men, with a record low level of satisfaction among male voters with the way the Prime Minister is doing her job and a corresponding jump in support for Mr Abbott.
Labor's total primary vote has crumbled in NSW, South Australia and Western Australia, where on the basis of preference flows at the last election the Coalition has two-party-preferred leads of between eight and 24 percentage points. The falls for ALP support in WA and South Australia suggest Labor could be almost wiped out in both states.
Posted by Geoff Seidner at 12:38 pm