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Coalition's poll numbers fall after horror fortnight

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The government has lost further ground in Newspoll, now trailing Labor 46-54% in two-party terms, in the wake of the crisis over citizenship.

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This is the 18th consecutive Newspoll in which the government has been behind. The two-party fall comes after several polls in which the Coalition trailed 47-53%.

The early part of the poll fortnight was dominated by the issue of the postal vote on same-sex marriage. Then the declaration of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce that he had been informed he was a New Zealand citizen began a horror week for the government which ended with Fiona Nash, the deputy Nationals leader, announcing she had British citizenship.

Labor increased its primary vote by 2 points to 38%, while the Coalition fell one point to 35%. One Nation rose a point to 9%, equal with the Greens, who lost 2 points over the fortnight.

Malcolm Turnbull’s net satisfaction rating has plunged from minus 12 to minus 20 in the poll, published in Monday’s Australian. Bill Shorten’s net satisfaction also took a hit, deteriorating from minus 15 to minus 20.

Turnbull still has a significant lead as better prime minister – 43-33% – although the gap narrowed from the previous 46-31%

The poll contains encouraging news for the yes case in the postal ballot, with 63% saying they would vote yes to the plebiscite question, compared with 30% who would vote no. More than two thirds of people (67%) said they definitely intended to vote; another 15% said they probably would.

Nearly half (49%) said they were in favour of the postal plebiscite while 43% were opposed.

Asked whether parliament should provide guarantees in law for freedom of conscience, belief and religion if it legislated for same-sex marriage, 62% said yes and 18% said no.

The support for same sex marriage is strongest among younger voters, with 70% of those aged 18-34 in favour. It is lowest among those aged over 65, with only 49% supporting it.

The poll was of 1,675 people and taken between Thursday and Sunday.

Michelle Grattan is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Canberra.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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