By Colin Packham
CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s personal approval rating has fallen to its lowest level in 18 months, a widely watched poll showed on Monday.
A Newspoll conducted for The Australian newspaper showed satisfaction with Morrison’s performance dropped to 44%, the lowest level since March 2020 when he fielded criticism over his government’s response to devastating bushfires.
The poll findings are a blow to Morrison’s hopes that easing COVID-19 restrictions and signs of a stronger economy will aid his re-election prospects when he returns to polls by May 2022.
While Australians have previously been as frustrated by Morrison’s performance, he has always enjoyed a strong lead over his rival, Labor leader Anthony Albanese.
But denting his election prospects further, the latest Newspoll showed Morrison’s lead over Albanese as preferred prime minister is now down to its lowest level,
The Newspoll showed Morrison’s Liberal-National Party coalition government continues to trail the opposition Labor on a two-party preferred basis by 47-53, unchanged from the previous poll earlier this month.
If the poll result were replicated at an election, the conservative government would lose office to centre-left Labor.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Diane Craft)