Popularity of Australian Opposition Leader drops dramatically: poll


CANBERRA, Sept. 11 -- The popularity of Australia's Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has plunged despite his party retained an election-winning lead in the polls.

The Australian Labor Party (ALP) maintained a 53-47 two-party preferred lead on the ruling Liberal National Party (LNP) in a Fairfax-Ipsos poll released on Monday.

The poll found that the popularity of ALP leader Bill Shorten had taken a significant hit, however, with his approval rating falling from 42 to 36 percent since May while his disapproval soared from 47 to 52 percent, leaving him with a net rating of -16 percent.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's rating has also taken a hit with his net rating falling from +1 percent in May to -5 percent on Monday.

Turnbull did significantly increase his lead as preferred PM, rising to 48 percent while Shorten fell to 31 percent.

The results came after months of fighting between the LNP and ALP with the government's narrow majority allowing it little leeway in passing major legislation.

Ipsos identified rising electricity prices, climate change and the uncertain future of Australia's energy market as the biggest concerns among voters.

Scott Morrison, Australia's Treasurer, was also given a big tick of approval by the 1,400 Australians polled by Ipsos, with 38 percent of whom saying he was their preferred treasurer over ALP counterpart Chris Bowen.

Overall, voters said that economic policy was a major strong point for the LNP over the ALP, with 39 percent identifying the LNP as best-equipped to manage the economy compared to 28 percent who preferred the ALP.