Polling has given Labor a slight reprieve after a tumultuous end to the year, restoring its lead over the coalition.
Labor leads the coalition 52 per cent to 48 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis, the latest Newspoll in The Australian reveals, up from a 50-50 split in the previous poll.
But the coalition still leads Labor on the primary vote, by 36 per cent to 33 per cent.
Labor’s primary vote is six points lower than this time last year, while the coalition is up five points from its lowest figure recorded in this term of government, in September 2022.
Greens support was steady at 13 per cent while One Nation recorded a one-point increase to seven per cent. Support for the minor parties and independents category fell one point to 11 per cent.
Both Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton registered an increase in the number of people satisfied with their performance.
Mr Albanese’s approval ratings rose two points to 42 per cent and Mr Dutton also gained a two-point rise in approval to 39 per cent.
But Mr Albanese’s net approval remains in the red at minus eight, down from a high of 35 in mid-2022.
Mr Dutton’s net approval is slightly worse at minus nine.
Polling analyst Kevin Bonham said Labor had a “good run” and one of the longest honeymoon phases that’s been seen, but these didn’t last forever.
“It’s not very predictive at this stage what’s going to happen down the track,” he told AAP.
“I wouldn’t be too surprised if his ratings stay sort of somewhere around where they are now, or they might even get worse possibly.”
Cost of living pressures biting into household budgets were likely behind the fall in the prime minister’s approval ratings, Dr Bonham said.
Voters polled and their political leanings could lead to a slight variation in results, he added.
Net approval is determined by subtracting dissatisfaction from satisfaction rates.
When questioned about the polling, the prime minister pointed to inflation affecting the international economy as a major driver of cost of living pressures and spruiked the creation of 700,000 new jobs.
“I note that during 2023, whilst our opponents opposed our measures to provide support on cost of living, they haven’t come up with a single proposal – they have nothing positive to offer,” he told ABC Radio on Monday.
Labor would continue to roll out cost of living relief and fresh ideas, Mr Albanese said.
Nationals leader David Littleproud said the government had not done enough to ease pressure on households.
“Anthony Albanese had been focused all on the voice (referendum) this year rather than the cost of living crisis that Australians are feeling,” he said.
The survey of 1219 voters was conducted between December 11 and Friday.