PM’s popularity wanes in latest poll

Public dissatisfaction in the Prime Minister has reached its lowest point since former PM Tony Abbott was ousted by Malcolm Turnbull in September.

The latest Newspoll, published in The Australian showed Mr Turnbull’s approval rating had dropped to 44 per cent – 16 points below his peak in December, 2015.

Also worryingly for the Prime Minister, his dissatisfaction rating had jumped three points to 41 per cent in the last fortnight.

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In primary terms, approval for the Coalition sits at 43 per cent, while Labor lags behind on 35 per cent.

Despite the Prime Minister’s significant drop, he still remains Australia’s leader of choice by quite a margin, with a preference vote of 55 per cent compared with Labor Leader Bill Shorten’s 21 per cent.

The poll follows a week of tension within the Coalition, after Mr Turnbull referred a leaked white paper to the Australian Federal Police, and former Prime Minister Mr Abbott said he was “flabbergasted” at what he perceived as plans to delay the construction of submarines.

Speculation around the possibility of an early double dissolution election has also risen, with Cabinet Minister George Brandis making a surprise promise that a plebiscite on gay marriage would be held after the election – before the end of 2016.

Aside from suggesting an early election may be on the cards, the promise angered a number of conservative Liberal backbenchers, who said they were not consulted about the decision.

Labor jumped on the division between the Coaltion to announce it would introduce a gay marriage bill into parliament within 100 days of winning the election this year.

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