That was the front page headline in the Australian Financial Review as a result of the new Ipsos-Fairfax poll.
Actually Abbott’s ratings were below Gillard’s in important attributes.
Overall the two party preferred vote was less bad than other recent polls at 52-48 to Labor or 53-47 if minor party preferences were allocated according to stated voter preference. The focus has been on the personal ratings and the attribute poll, which you can see in detail here.
In personal performance Shorten has improved 2 points to +5, whereas Abbott has slumped from -7 to -19. Shorten is now preferred prime minister 47-39 compared to 41-41 last month.
In his ability to make things happen Abbott at 48 is below any recent PM, below Keating, Howard, Gillard or Rudd. At the same time Shorten at 36 is below any recent opposition leader.
Is it any wonder that a snicker went around the party room when Abbott spoke of their ‘year of achievement’?
Of the eleven attributes, Bill Shorten has a statistically significant lead on six; being viewed as more competent (58%), having the confidence of his party (71%), being open to ideas (68%), being trustworthy (44%), and having a firm grasp of social policy (62%). He is also seen as being more easily influenced by minority groups (44%).
In contrast, Tony Abbott has a statistically significant lead on only two attributes; having a clear vision for Australia’s future (49%) and having the ability to make things happen (48%).
Opposition leaders don’t rate on making things happen, which leaves vision.
On vision, Abbott is roughly where Gillard was in April 2013. It must be said that Shorten is also low for an opposition leader.
In competence Abbott rates well below Keating, Howard, Gillard or Rudd, and below the Abbott of 12 months ago.
Ditto for the ‘strong leader’ category.
The question now is whether Abbott is being permanently written off as a dud by the electorate or whether he can recover. Abbott has already lost authority in the party room. If this performance in the polls carries on for a few months next year, how Bolshie will the troops become?
With the government’s support falling only marginally but Abbott’s precipitously, the people seem to be making a personal point.
This is about you, Prime Minister.
Abbott, seen by the people to be incompetent and untrustworthy, is a liability for his government and an asset for the Labor Party.
While most of Australia relaxes over the Christmas break, the Prime Minister will spend the time in serious self-reflection. If he’s in any way competent.