Morrison Preferred PM with 56 Percent Approval: Newspoll

Morrison Preferred PM with 56 Percent Approval: Newspoll
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks to the media at Parliament House on April 11, 2019 in Canberra, Australia.(Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison's personal approval rating has jumped in the latest political polling by The Australian's Newspoll (image). Morrison is now the preferred prime minister with an approval rating of 56 percent over Labor leader Anthony Albanese who scored 28 percent.

Of those surveyed, 68 percent were satisfied with the way Morrison is doing his job as the prime minister. This is the first time since 2008 that an Australian prime minister has had such a high approval rating.

Only 5 prime ministers have reached above 60 percent in approval ratings since the inception of the poll. Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnball, John Howard, and Bob Hawke all achieved over 60 percent. The highest approval rating was 73 percent achieved by former prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2008.

Morrison's approval rating has been increasing since the beginning of April, managing to jump over 30 percentage points from 37 in January.

January was a difficult period for the Morrison government as the prime minister was facing public disapproval over his handling of the bushfire crisis in the summer months.

At the time, research company Essential noted that 57 percent of Australians believed the prime minister could have handled the bushfire crisis better.

Approval Rating Due to Good Governing

University of Tasmania researcher and poll analyst Kevin Bonham believes that Morrison has had a boost from his handling of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. Bonham wrote on Twitter that there is often a bump in a prime minister's approval rating during times of crisis, like the Port Arthur massacre, Gulf War, and 9/11 among others.
But on April 5, he said in his blog that this does not mean the figures are just a reaction to the actual crisis event. Instead, he believes that they are thanks to Morrison's handling of the situation.
"Australia is currently doing very well at keeping both the growth of the virus (given our high testing rates) and the death rate down, compared to other countries of similar size and especially similar political culture," Bonham said.

Coalition Approval Rating Slides

The current approval boost for Morrison has not translated into gains for the Coalition in the polls. Currently, the Newspoll survey has the two-party preferred vote showing a 50-50 split between the Coalition Party and the Labor Party. That is nearly a 2 percent swing toward the opposition Labor Party by voters since the May 2019 election.

The Greens Party and One Nation Party have also suffered a small loss in voter preferences with voters moving back toward the major parties.

The survey was conducted by YouGov for The Australian newspaper and interviewed 1,519 respondents online, between April 22 and 25.

Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.