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Abbott and Shorten lose steam: poll


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Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have both taken a blow to their popularity following the federal budget, according to a new poll.

The Newspoll, published in The Australian, also shows voters’ support for independents and micro-parties has increased to a record 17 per cent.

On a two-party preferred basis the coalition trails Labor 47 per cent to 53 per cent.

The Abbott government’s primary vote remains lower than before the budget, but increased by one point to 37 per cent in the past fortnight.

Labor fell one point to 36 per cent and the Greens dropped two points to 10 per cent.

Abbott has a dissatisfaction rate of 61 per cent, his worst since becoming prime minister, while Shorten’s rating of 45 per cent is his worst since taking over the Labor leadership.

Both leaders’ approval ratings also dropped, with Abbott falling three points to 30 per cent and Shorten tumbling eight points to 34 per cent, despite jumping seven points immediately after the budget.

Shorten is still preferred prime minister, despite falling five points to 40 per cent, while Abbott went up two points to 37 per cent.

The latest survey polled 1155 people.

A separate survey showed another problem for the Prime Minister, with new research showing Australians’ faith in Abbott has slipped since he took office.

Abbott was 75th in last year’s Reader’s Digest trust rankings, published in June 2013, three months before the federal election.

But the 2014 rankings put him 79th out of 100 well-known Australians – 10 spots behind Malcolm Turnbull, who sparked leadership speculation in early June after being spotted dining out with Senate powerbroker Clive Palmer.

Treasurer Joe Hockey was 77th on the list, which was compiled by surveying a representative sample of 1200 Australians.

While Abbott’s trust ranking was not great, there was worse news for opposition leader Bill Shorten, who finished joint 81st with Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce.

It was another bad year for politicians generally, with the profession remaining rooted to the bottom of the trust rankings, along with salespeople, sex workers and call-centre staff.

Paramedics were the most trusted professionals for the 10th year in a row, followed by firefighters, rescue volunteers, nurses and doctors.

“Politicians have never fared well in the trust stakes but, in recent times, it seems Australians have been particularly unimpressed,” Reader’s Digest said.

Neurosurgeon and founder of Cure For Life Foundation Charlie Teo retained his status as Australia’s most trusted individual, while pioneering burns specialist Dr Fiona Wood retained the number two spot followed by cancer vaccine immunologist Ian Frazer.

It was a mixed year for business leaders with billionaire casino mogul James Packer finishing in 85th spot following his Bondi brawl with Nine Network boss David Gyngell.

Electronics entrepreneur Dick Smith ranked 10th.

Rolf Harris, currently standing trial for sexual assault in London, was 91st.

And the least trusted Australian?

Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby was 99th on Reader’s Digest list, followed by her sister Mercedes in 100th.

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