Labor’s Newspoll lead unchanged since December as 62% support stage three changes
While two-party preferred polling is steady, a majority of Australians support Labor’s changes to the stage 3 tax cuts.

A national Newspoll, conducted January 31 to February 3 from a sample of 1,245, gave Labor a 52–48 lead, unchanged since the previous Newspoll in mid-December. Primary votes were 36% Coalition (steady), 34% Labor (up one), 12% Greens (down one), 7% One Nation (steady) and 11% for all Others (steady).

Anthony Albanese’s net approval dropped one point to -9, while Peter Dutton’s net approval was down four points to -13. Albanese led Dutton as better PM by an unchanged 46–35. The Poll Bludger has the Newspoll figures.

On the stage three tax cut modifications, 62% thought the government did the right thing by changing the tax cuts to give lower- and middle-income people a greater share, while 29% thought the government should have kept its promise and implemented the tax cuts without changes.

On whether voters would be personally better or worse off under the changes, 38% said they would be better off, 37% about the same and 18% worse off.

Here is a graph of Albanese’s net approval in Newspoll. His net approval is still well below zero, and hasn’t recovered to its level before the Voice referendum defeat.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the December 2023 quarter inflation report last Wednesday. Headline annual inflation was 4.1%, down from a peak of 7.8% in December 2022. The December quarter inflation was 0.6%, down from 1.2% in the September quarter, and the lowest quarterly inflation since March 2021. Lower inflation should assist Labor.

Essential poll: 48–46 to Labor

In last week’s federal Essential poll, conducted January 24–28 from a sample of 1,201, Labor led by 48–46 including undecided (49–46 in December). Labor has led by one-to-three points in all Essential polls since late October.

Primary votes were 34% Coalition (steady), 32% Labor (up one), 13% Greens (steady), 7% One Nation (up one), 2% UAP (steady), 7% for all Others (down two) and 5% undecided (steady). Analyst Kevin Bonham said Labor would have about a 53–47 lead in this poll by 2022 election preference flows. Essential’s respondent preferences have favoured the Coalition.

Albanese had a 47–41 disapproval rating (47–42 in November), while Dutton was at 43–38 disapproval (42–39 previously).

On the stage three tax changes, 47% (up six since November) said they should be revised so they mostly benefit those on low and middle incomes, 22% (up two) go ahead as originally planned, 19% (down three) deferred for those earning over $200,000 and 13% (down three) thought they should be cancelled altogether. I had more on these questions in November.

On the Israel-Palestine conflict, 67% (up five since November) said Australia should stay out entirely, 17% (steady) said it should provide active assistance to Israel while 16% (down five) believed Australia should provide active assistance to Palestine.

By 47–12, respondents thought things had improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the past ten years (42–10 in January 2023). On a separate national day to recognise Indigenous Australians, 40% (up seven since January 2023) did not support a separate day, 31% (down two) supported a separate day and keeping Australia Day and 18% (down eight) supported replacing Australia Day.

On the ABC, 39% thought news reporting and comment independent and unbiased, and 39% thought otherwise. On artificial intelligence (AI), 65% thought regulation should be mandatory. On AI opportunities and risks, 45% thought it carries more risk than opportunity, 21% more opportunity than risk and 33% that risk and opportunity are about the same.

Morgan poll and a second Queensland byelection

In last week’s federal Morgan poll, conducted January 22–28 from a sample of 1,688, Labor led by 50.5–49.5, a two-point gain for the Coalition since the previous week. Primary votes were 37.5% Coalition (up 1.5), 31% Labor (down 1.5), 13% Greens (up 0.5), 5.5% One Nation (up 0.5) and 13% for all Others (down one).

I covered the March 16 Queensland state byelection in Inala last fortnight. A second Queensland byelection will also occur on March 16 after Ipswich West’s Labor member Jim Madden resigned to contest the Ipswich local government elections on March 16.

At the 2020 state election, Labor defeated the Liberal Nationals by a 64.3–35.7 margin in Ipswich West. One Nation had finished second in 2017. While normally a safe Labor seat, One Nation won Ipswich West in 1998 and the LNP in 2012.

Biden wins 96% in South Carolina Democratic primary

At Saturday’s United States Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina, Joe Biden won 96.2% of the vote, Marianne Williamson 2.1% and Dean Phillips 1.7%. This result makes it all but certain that Biden will be the Democratic presidential nominee.

In the Republican presidential contest, Donald Trump leads Nikki Haley nationally by 73.6–17.2 in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate. The next important contest is the February 24 Republican primary in South Carolina, Haley’s home state. Trump leads by 61.8–31.7 in South Carolina polls.

Trump is very likely to effectively seal the Republican nomination on Super Tuesday March 5, when many states vote. By this date, 47.4% of Republican delegates to their July nominating convention will have been determined.

The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


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