Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited a winery near Launceston on Friday. Photo: Andrew Meares Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

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Voters expect Malcolm Turnbull to survive but his preferred prime minister rating is sinking and his personal approval is lower than Julia Gillard’s when she failed to secure a majority against a less popular Tony Abbott in the 2010 “dead-heat” election.

The result, contained in the latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll, is a blow to Coalition morale and explains why its campaign turned noticeably negative in week two with warnings that a Labor government would bungle border protection and see an increasing number of illiterate refugees taking Australian jobs.

Adding to the Coalition’s woes, it also lost its Fremantle candidate Sherry Sufi on Friday, who resigned after past comments on same-sex marriage and indigenous constitutional recognition embarrassed his party.

Mr Turnbull’s approval now stands at a net rate of plus 10 per cent derived from 48 per cent of voters approving of his performance as prime minister, minus the 38 per cent who disapprove. Ms Gillard had been at plus 12.

But 57 per cent of voters – up 4 per cent in just two weeks – still think the Coalition will be returned at the July 2 double dissolution election.

And Mr Turnbull retains a useful 17-point lead as preferred prime minister in the head-to-head contest against Bill Shorten at 47-30. However, this had been as high as 67-21 in October.

Voter confidence in a Coalition victory aside, the national survey conducted from Tuesday May 17-19, reveals the election itself remains finely balanced with the Coalition only fractionally ahead according to preferences as cast at the last election in 2013.

Support for the Coalition is holding at 51-49, although when the 1497 respondents were asked who will receive their second preference at the ballot box in July, the difference between the Coalition and Labor evaporated leaving it at 50-50.

The Turnbull government’s May 3 budget, unveiled just days before the election was called, had as its centrepiece, a $48 billion 10-year tax cut plan that would see company tax reduced from 30¢ to 25¢ in the dollar from 2026-27. The government calls this its “national plan for jobs and growth” but it looks to have delivered only a “dead cat bounce” from voters who favour the higher tax route to fund schools and hospitals.

It comes as the Treasury and Finance departments warned that only spending cuts or a dramatic increase in tax receipts could repair the budget to surplus in the medium term, which they said would be “crucial for Australia to maintain its top credit rating”.

Bill Shorten’s approval remains in negative territory but is improving having achieved his lowest negative rating in almost a year. Forty per cent of respondents approved of the way Mr Shorten was doing his job whereas 46 per cent did not, giving him a net approval of minus 6.

But pollster Jessica Elgood said Mr Shorten’s standing remained “extremely low” compared to other opposition leaders, making his task difficult.

She said the most noticeable aspects of the poll were that voters were yet to engage with the election, and that Mr Turnbull’s standing “has continued to slide”. This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名购买.