Big-spend budget does little for the government

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Both leaders’ personal approval ratings worsened somewhat in the poll, although Anthony Albanese took more of a hit than Scott Morrison, writes political columnist MICHELLE GRATTAN.

THE government has failed to get any electoral “bounce” from last week’s budget, despite it being widely seen as good for the economy, according to Newspoll.

Michelle Grattan

Labor retains a two-party lead of 51-49 per cent, although there was a two point fall in its primary vote, to 36 per cent. The fall was matched by a two point rise in support for the Greens, to 12 per cent.

The Coalition was stable on 41 per cent primary vote.

Publishing the results, The Australian reported it was the most well-received budget since the Howard-Costello days, with 44 per cent saying it would be good for the economy, and only 15 per cent believing it would be bad. This was the largest margin since 2007.

But voters found it harder to get a clear fix on what it would mean for them personally. They were evenly divided, with 19 per cent each side, on whether they would be personally better or worse off financially from the budget.

A record 62 per cent could not say whether they would be better or worse off.

While the budget contained tax cuts for low and middle income earners and a child care package, much of the big spending was directed to particular areas, such as aged care and mental health, rather than affecting the financial position of people more widely.

Both leaders’ personal approval ratings worsened somewhat in the poll, although Anthony Albanese took more of a hit than Scott Morrison.

Dissatisfaction with Albanese increased three points to 46 per cent, while his satisfaction rating decreased a point to 39 per cent. His net rating is minus seven.

Satisfaction with Morrison fell a point to 58 per cent, and dissatisfaction increased a point to 38 per cent. His net approval is plus 20.

Morrison led Albanese as better prime minister 55 per cent (down a point) to 30 per cent (stable).

In Queensland selling the budget, Morrison said on Sunday: “The recovery cannot be taken for granted. The recovery can be lost. The hard won gains of Australians, particularly over these last 18 months, can be lost unless we keep doing what’s working. And this is working.”

Also in Queensland, Albanese said: “Quite clearly, Scott Morrison has a plan to just get through the next election and then we’ll see cuts, because we know from this government, just like we saw in 2014 when it first came to office, that they will make cuts, they will return to type.”

Michelle Grattan is a professorial fellow at the University of Canberra. This article was originally published on The Conversation

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Michelle Grattan
Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra, Michelle Grattan is one of Australia's most respected and awarded political journalists.

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