SYDNEY: Support for the Australian government has fallen to its lowest level this term amid outbreaks of Covid-19.
According to the latest Newspoll, which was published on Sunday night, the opposition Labor Party now leads the governing coalition 54-46 percent on a two-party preferred basis.
The coalition’s primary vote – the portion of voters intending to give the party their first preference votes at the next election – fell to 36 percent, its lowest level since March 2019.
By comparison, primary support for Labor increased to a three-year high of 40 percent. The poll was conducted amid Australia’s biggest wave of coronavirus infections.
The country reported a new record number of locally acquired Covid-19 cases several times in the past 10 days with outbreaks of the Delta variant in the two biggest cities of Sydney and Melbourne continuing to grow. However, Newspoll found that support for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison grew as his party lost ground.
Half of the respondents to the poll chose Morrison as their preferred prime minister – up from 49 percent earlier in August – compared to 34 percent for Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, down from 36 percent.
The number of voters satisfied with Morrison’s performance increased to 49 percent while those dissatisfied fell to 47 percent, restoring his positive net approval rating. Albanese had a net rating of negative seven points.
A separate poll of 15,000 Australians published by YouGov on behalf of the Australian Conservation Foundation on Sunday revealed widespread support for greater action on climate change in all 151 federal electorates. It found that 67 percent of voters believe the federal government should be doing more to address climate change.