Labor takes strong lead over Peter Dutton, new research shows

Voters have given the federal government a significant boost by increasing core support for Labor to 42 per cent and cutting the Coalition to just 30 per cent in another sign of a powerful shift since the May election.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has kept his personal advantage over Opposition Leader Peter Dutton to lead by 54 to 19 per cent when voters are asked to name their preferred prime minister.

Albanese and Labor also lead on more than a dozen key policy questions when Australians are asked which side of politics would perform best on issues such as the economy and national security – an issue on which Dutton and the Coalition held a narrow lead last month.

The exclusive survey, conducted by Resolve Strategic for this masthead, reveals a fall in support for the Greens, from 13 to 11 per cent over the past month, and steady support for independents, at 8 per cent nationwide.

The results come after a week in parliament that saw the government secure the passage of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, its workplace relations laws, tax breaks for electric vehicles and more generous childcare subsidies.

While Labor won power with a primary vote of only 32.6 per cent in May, the Resolve Political Monitor has recorded much stronger support for the party over several surveys including a primary vote of 42 per cent in August and again in this latest track.

The Coalition gained a primary vote of 35.7 per cent at the May election but voters cut their support to 28 per cent in the August survey before a slight increase in later surveys, followed by a fall from 32 to 30 per cent over the past month.

The Resolve Political Monitor surveyed 1611 eligible voters from Wednesday to Sunday, a period that included a growing debate about rising household costs, calls for action to address energy prices and a focus in parliament on former cabinet minister Stuart Robert and his links to a company that helped win government contracts.

Asked to name their preferred prime minister, voters chose Albanese over Dutton by 54 to 19 per cent in the latest survey compared to 53 to 19 per cent in November and 53 to 18 per cent in October, confirming the dramatic turnaround since the election campaign when Albanese lagged slightly behind the previous prime minister, Scott Morrison.

Resolve director Jim Reed said more people were starting to use their “hypothetical votes” since the election to support Labor.

“You often see a steep change in vote and leadership ratings after a change in government. There are many factors at play in this new incumbency effect,” he said.

“I’d say that the change for Albanese is a more significant one, though.

“The feedback we were getting through the research is that people were primarily voting against Scott Morrison, and weren’t quite sure about Albanese as the agent for change. Indeed, they often described him as not visible, nervous, having no charisma, not being across the detail.

“But he seems to have blossomed in their eyes, especially in becoming a more relaxed speaker and holding his own on the international stage.”

Because the Resolve Political Monitor asks voters to nominate their primary votes in the same way they would write “1” on the ballot papers for the lower house at the election, there is no “uncommitted” or “undecided” category in the results, a key difference with some other surveys. The margin of error for the national results was 2.4 percentage points.

The survey also asks respondents – who are chosen to reflect the wider population by age, gender and geography – which party and leader they believe is best to handle a series of policy areas.

The latest survey found Labor and Albanese held the lead in all 17 of these policy areas including a small advantage on national security and defence, regarded as a traditional strength for the Coalition and the single issue where the Coalition and Dutton had the edge one month ago.

While 33 per cent of voters thought Labor and Albanese were best to manage national security and defence, 32 per cent named the Coalition, 29 per cent were undecided and 6 per cent preferred others.

On foreign affairs and trade, 45 per cent preferred Labor and Albanese while 25 per cent named the Coalition and Dutton.

On economic management, Labor and Albanese led by 38 to 31 per cent and on managing national finances they led by 36 to 33 per cent.

With the government claiming it will “get wages moving” after the passage of its workplace relations laws last week, the new survey found that 45 per cent of respondents believed Labor and Albanese were best to manage industrial relations compared to 20 per cent who preferred the Coalition and Dutton.

Asked which side was best on jobs and wages, 47 per cent backed Labor and 22 per cent backed the Coalition.

As with the results on preferred prime minister, the latest Resolve Political Monitor found that voters had a higher regard for Albanese than for Dutton on their performance as leaders.

Asked about Albanese in the latest survey, 60 per cent of voters said he was doing a good job and 24 per cent said he was doing a poor job, resulting in a net performance rating of 36 points.

His net rating rose from 29 per cent one month ago and has returned to the same level it was in August, the first Resolve Political Monitor after the election.

Asked about Dutton, 28 per cent said he was doing a good job and 43 per cent said he was doing a poor job, producing a net rating of minus 14 points.

His net rating fell from minus 12 one month ago and is now at its lowest level across the five Resolve Political Monitor surveys conducted since he became opposition leader.

When voters were asked which of the two sides had the party and leader they considered best, 46 per cent said Labor and Albanese were competent while only 19 per cent backed the Coalition and Dutton. Asked which side was honest and trustworthy, 35 per cent named Labor and Albanese while 15 per cent named the Coalition and Dutton.

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