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14 February 2016
By Matt Hrkac

Honeymoon is finally over for Malcolm Turnbull

The latest Essential Research poll has pegged the two-party preferred result at 51-49 in the Coalition's favour, where it has remained steady for the better part of a month. Roy Morgan's latest polling, which to date has credited the Coalition with its biggest leads since Malcolm Turnbull took the Liberal leadership, has seen the Coalition's lead slashed from 55-45 to 52.5-47.5; with both Labor and the Greens moving up on the primary vote. 7 News' ReachTEL polling has only recorded a slight drop in support for the Coalition, 54-46 in the Coalition's favour, down from 55-45, but nonetheless see's a continuation of the same trend, which is all but confirmed in the latest Ipsos poll.

It looks like the gloss is finally starting to wear off of Malcolm Turnbull's leadership; with the last few months being marred by cabinet sackings and by extension, multiple cabinet reshuffles, toying around with basically the same policy ideas that made Tony Abbott so utterly unpopular with the electorate, and of course the backgrounding of the Hard Right within the Coalition, the same people Turnbull has to bend to, doesn't help his cause either. It is also looking more and more likely that an early double dissolution will be all but off the table, not that it was likely to begin with, with these polling results.

However, it appears that only the Coalition's two-party preferred result, and to a lesser extent it's primary vote, have been hammered to the point that the Coalition's vote is now below that of it's 2013 election result. Turnbull's own personal ratings have also been hit, but not as badly. For example, Turnbull is still miles ahead of Bill Shorten as preferred Prime Minister, and we'll have to wait and see whether this downward trend continues or whether these polling results were merely a case of what goes up, must come down.

What these polling results confirm the most is the fact that it wasn't the leader that was the problem, it was and still is the policies. Under Malcolm Turnbull's leadership, the Coalition's core priorities and policies have not changed. Sure, there has been some serious dressing up, but the substance hasn't changed one bit. They are still going after the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. Turnbull is still beholden to the Hard Right when it comes to environment and climate change policy; and on social policy such as marriage equality. People are finally starting to see what has been pretty obvious from day one: That nothing has changed.

Turnbull faces two choices: Stand up to the Hard Right within his party and set his Government's course for a future Australia that takes science and innovation seriously, and that gives the poor and vulnerable a fair go; or remain beholden to the Hard Right within his party and ultimately face the same fate as Tony Abbott.

About the author:

Matt Hrkac is a writer and photographer based in Geelong. He has particular interests in politics, elections, social movements and the trade union movement. If you like what you see here, please consider giving a small donation to help cover the expenses.

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