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Dud and dudder: Morrison, Joyce least liked leaders in 30 years


Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce were the most unpopular coalition leaders in more than 30 years, new analysis shows.

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A poll of 3500 voters found the former prime minister and Nationals leader were the least liked leaders of their respective parties since 1987.

The findings from the joint ANUpoll and Comparative Study of Electoral Systems survey also showed people who voted for so-called teal independents were more likely to be tactical Labor or Greens voters, rather than dissatisfied Liberals.

According to the poll, Morrison had a popularity rating of 3.6 out of 10, the lowest ranking for a Liberal leader, falling from a rating of 5.1 in the wake of his 2019 election victory.

The results were even more dire for Mr Joyce, with a rating of three, and lower than the 4.1 rating during his previous stint as Nationals leader.

Newly elected prime minister Anthony Albanese had a rating of 5.6, which was higher than his predecessors such as Bill Shorten and Julia Gillard.

However, he was rated lower than the high of Kevin Rudd in 2007 (6.3), Bob Hawke in 1987 (6.2) and Kim Beazley in 1998 (6.1).

The study’s co-author Ian McAllister said the popularity of party leaders was a bigger factor at the recent election compared to previous polls.

“Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce were very unpopular and both were especially not popular with their own voters,” he said.

“How the coalition handled the Covid-19 pandemic was a major factor in determining their leaders’ popularity among voters.”

The survey found that young, highly educated and those from capital cities were more likely to have changed their vote at the May election.

Policy areas such as climate change, improving the Australian political system and issues around race were also identified as key issues where coalition voters switched parties.

Prof McAllister said the poll also examined the impact of teal independents at the election.

“We found teal voters appear to more likely be tactical Labor or Greens voters than dissatisfied Liberal voters,” he said.

Of those who voted for teal independents, 35 per cent voted for Labor in 2019, 23 per cent had voted Green and 19 per cent had voted Liberal.

Polling also showed young people were more likely to vote based on policy areas, rather than strictly along party lines.

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