The Morrison government’s handling of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 during summer has led to a voter backlash, with the Coalition falling behind Labor in a new opinion poll.
The Resolve Political Monitor poll, published on Tuesday in the Nine newspapers, has Labor leading the government 35 per cent to 34 on primary vote.
The Coalition’s vote fell by five points from 39 to 34, while Labor increased its primary vote by three points from 32 to 35 since the last poll, conducted in November.
The drop in support for the government comes amid widespread criticism for its handling of the Omicron variant in recent weeks, including shortages of rapid antigen tests and critical supply chain issues.
While the election is just months away, Scott Morrison is still ahead of Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister, but the margin has narrowed.
Mr Morrison once enjoyed a double-digit lead, but his support fell from 40 to 38 per cent, while Mr Albanese increased by two points from 29 to 31 per cent.
Surveyed voters said the Coalition would perform best at economic management and national security compared to Labor, but the opposition was preferred to handle health and aged care.
According to the poll, Mr Morrison’s net approval rating is at minus nine, unchanged from the previous poll with 41 per cent saying he was doing a good job as prime minister, while 50 per cent said he was doing a poor job.
However, while his approval has gone up one point, the number of people who disapproved of his performance also went up by one.
Mr Albanese’s net performance has improved in the past two months, rising from minus 14 to minus seven.
The poll found 34 per cent of respondents said the opposition leader was doing a good job and 41 per cent said he was doing a poor job.
Former opposition leader Bill Shorten told the Nine Network the election would be close and Labor wouldn’t be complacent.
“I think that we are very competitive, and I don’t think that anyone in Labor, from Anthony down, is counting their chickens until they hatch,” he said.
The federal election is due to be held by May 21.
It is expected to be called just after the brought-forward federal budget is delivered on March 29.
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