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The Nightly poll puts Anthony Albanese ahead of Peter Dutton on trust, approval and economic management

Josh Zimmerman
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Anthony Albanese’s goal for a new year reset has flopped, with Newspoll showing Labor’s vote slipping, and a narrowing gap with Peter Dutton’s Liberals.
Anthony Albanese’s goal for a new year reset has flopped, with Newspoll showing Labor’s vote slipping, and a narrowing gap with Peter Dutton’s Liberals. Credit: Daniel Wilkins;Alan Chau

Anthony Albanese has a commanding lead over Peter Dutton on trust, approval and economic management — and is perceived as more in touch with average Australians than his Liberal opponent.

The temperature check — commissioned by The Nightly and carried out by Painted Dog Research — is a timely boost for the Prime Minister as he grapples with the fallout of the immigration detention debacle and calls for Federal intervention to tackle violence in Alice Springs.

In the wake of the failed Voice referendum, Mr Dutton has sought to frame Mr Albanese as disconnected from the issues that really matter to households.

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That has included dubbing Labor’s move to strengthen fuel efficiency standards a “ute tax” and accusing the government of strangling the economy in red and green tape over sweeping industrial relations reforms and proposed new “nature positive” environmental laws.

Despite those attacks, Painted Dog Research’s poll of 1014 Australians – conducted March 27 and 28 – found Mr Albanese was rated a better economic manager by 40 per cent of respondents, compared to just 29 per cent for Mr Dutton.

The remaining third put the pair on level pegging when asked who was better for the economy.

On the key issue of trust, Mr Albanese’s lead was even wider.

The Prime Minister was viewed as most trustworthy by 45 per cent of those surveyed, double the 22 per cent who backed Mr Dutton.

In a reminder of voters’ growing discontent with both major parties, 28 per cent of respondents said they trusted neither leader.

Asked who they believed was “more out-of-touch with Australians”, 40 per cent opted for Mr Dutton compared to 28 per cent for the Prime Minister. The remaining third were unable to split the men.

The poll also handed Mr Albanese a decisive win in the approval stakes.

Half of respondents (50 per cent) said they approved of the Prime Minister while 33 per cent disapproved, for a net approval rating of 17.

Mr Dutton enjoyed the backing of 33 per cent of those surveyed but was disapproved of by 44 per cent — returning a net approval rating of negative 11.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese walks past Australian Opposition Leader Peter Dutton during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, February 8, 2024. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese walks past Australian Opposition Leader Peter Dutton during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, February 8, 2024. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING Credit: LUKAS COCH/ LUKAS COCH

There was a clear gender divide across all four metrics, with women showing a much stronger preference for Mr Albanese while marking down the Opposition Leader.

On the issue of trust, just 17 per cent of female respondents said they preferred Mr Dutton — well below the 27 per cent recorded among men.

By contrast, Mr Albanese’s result on trust — preferred by 45 per cent of men and 44 per cent of women — was basically identical among both sexes.

The same pattern repeated on the economy, with Mr Albanese enjoying equal backing among men and women (40 per cent and 41 per cent) but women far less likely to nominate Mr Dutton (24 per cent versus 34 per cent of men).

A relatively high proportion of both men and women (42 per cent and 38 per cent) thought the Opposition Leader was out of touch with Australians.

But when it came to the Prime Minister, women were markedly less likely to share the same view (25 per cent) than men (33 per cent).

Mr Dutton’s net approval rating was also lower with women — negative 12, against negative 8 for men.

The opposite was true for Mr Albanese, who had a net approval rating of positive 15 with blokes and positive 19 with women.

Worryingly for the Liberals, Mr Dutton trailed Mr Albanese on approval across every state and territory and income bracket.

WA loomed as particularly strong for the Prime Minister, rating Mr Albanese the highest of all states on approval, trust, economic management and being in touch.

Mr Dutton performed strongest in his home state of Queensland and NSW – but still trailed Mr Albanese in all four metrics in both.

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