Popularity of Australian government dips to 12-month low, Scott Morrison still the favorite

Scott Morrison, Australia's prime minister, removes his protective face mask after arriving for a signing ceremony with Yoshihide Suga, Japan's prime minister at Suga's official residence in Tokyo, Japan

Australia’s opposition Labor Party has taken an electoral lead over the ruling government for the first time after the latter’s popularity plunged to a 12-month low, according to a poll.

The latest edition of Newspoll published on Sunday night found that the Labor party leads the governing coalition 52-48 on a two-party preferred basis, reports Xinhua news agency.

It comes after the two parties spent the first two months of 2021 deadlocked at 50-50 and marks the first time Labor has led the coalition since March 15, 2020, when restrictions were first introduced to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Australia.

The poll revealed that popular support for the coalition has fallen three points to 39 per cent while that for Labor rose by two points to 39 per cent.

The poll was taken as the government faced the fallout from scandals.

Former government media adviser Brittany Higgins in late February went public with allegations that she was raped by a colleague in the parliament in the lead-up to the 2019 election and Attorney-General Christian Porter at the start of March identified himself as the minister accused of a historical rape.

Despite the ongoing crisis, support for Prime Minister Scott Morrison remained high.

Morrison’s net approval rating, which is calculated by subtracting his disapproval rating from his approval rating, was positive 28 per cent compared to positive 1 per cent for Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

Fifty-six per cent of voters chose Morrison as their preferred Prime Minister, down from 61 per cent in February, while 30 per cent picked Albanese.

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