Dutton takes lead as preferred PM for the first time

Kat Wong
AAP
New poll shows the Coalition leads Labor 36 to 28 on Primary vote.

Australians are finally taking to Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, with voter ratings of Anthony Albanese continuing to drop as they turn to the coalition for national security and economic management.

The Resolve Political Monitor, conducted for the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, found 36 per cent of voters backed Mr Dutton as their preferred prime minister compared to 35 per cent who supported Mr Albanese.

This is the first time the opposition leader has taken the lead in the race for voter sentiment in this survey.

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About 40 per cent of voters prefer Mr Dutton and the coalition as economic managers compared to 24 per cent who prefer Mr Albanese and the Labor Party, while 23 per cent ranked Labor and the prime minister as best to manage national security and defence compared to 42 per cent who favoured the opposition.

Though the primary vote for the coalition has remained steady at 36 per cent, the Labor Party’s support fell from 29 to 28 per cent, its lowest in three years.

Peter Dutton and Anthony Albanese in parliament
Economic and security issues have boosted voter support for opposition leader Peter Dutton. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Despite the dire outlook, cabinet minister Tanya Plibersek insisted Labor’s policies would help alleviate the cost of living pressures.

“We’re not focused on the polls, we’re focused on doing the right thing for Australian people,” she told Sunrise on Monday.

Ms Plibersek pointed to the government’s tax cuts, student debt relief and investment in Medicare.

The results come as the coalition reignites Australia’s climate wars by threatening to scrap emissions reduction targets that had been agreed to under the Paris climate agreement.

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce said the poll reflects Australians’ opinions on this discussion.

“Mr Albanese is concentrating on Paris and climate and these things and the issue is the rest of the world is they can’t pay for their groceries, their power bill,” he said.

A majority of survey respondents said it was most important to keep the cost of living low while seven per cent named environment and climate change as the highest priority.

Voters preferred Labor’s management of environment and climate with 24 per cent favouring the government compared to 22 per cent who preferred the opposition.

Meanwhile, the Greens’ primary vote grew from 12 to 14 per cent.

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