Scott Morrison’s popularity has taken a hit after weeks of criticism over his handling of sexual assault claims and alleged bad behaviour inside Parliament House.
The prime minister’s approval rating dropped seven percentage points to 55 per cent in the past fortnight according to a Newspoll published by The Australian on Monday.
“It’s no surprise to see that reflected,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
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“But the prime minister knows his focus must be on helping to steer our country through a pandemic which is ongoing.”
The polling, conducted between Wednesday and Saturday, updates figures from two weeks earlier and spanned a period when the coalition faced pressure over its handling of rape allegations, the national March 4 Justice and gender equity issues.
Mr Morrison last week tried to apologise for his failings, saying “blokes don’t always get it right”, after copping widespread criticism for his failed attempt to reset debate on the treatment of women.
The prime minister will this week shuffle some ministerial portfolios after the absence of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Attorney-General Christian Porter, who is due to return to work after taking leave amid historical rape allegations.
Queensland MP Andrew Laming will not recontest his seat after getting a dressing down from the prime minister for his social media conduct towards women.
The Newspoll popularity result is the first time since March 2020 that Mr Morrison’s rating has dropped below 60 per cent.
The survey of 1517 voters showed Labor with 52 per cent of two-party preferred votes, leaving the Coalition with 48 per cent, which is unchanged from earlier in March.
Mr Morrison leads the ‘better prime minister’ stakes 52 per cent to 32 per cent for Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, with 16 per cent of respondents uncommitted.
© AAP 2021