Support for Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull hits 2-year high ahead of by-elections: Poll

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's popularity could help the government's chances in the five by-elections.
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's popularity could help the government's chances in the five by-elections. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Support for Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is at a two-year high, an opinion poll showed on Monday (July 16), a boost for the centre-right government ahead of a series of by-elections at the end of July.

The last Newspoll before the July 28 by-elections showed Mr Turnbull's personal popularity at 48 per cent, its highest since the 2016 general election, and above opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten at 29 per cent.

Mr Turnbull's popularity could help the government's chances in the five by-elections, one analyst said, despite Labor's 51-49 lead over the governing centre-right Liberal-National coalition.

"There will be some voters that vote on preferred leader. Turnbull will be pleased," said Sydney University's political scientist Peter Chen.

Local polling ahead of the by-elections suggested the vote was likely to be close in two contests.

The by-elections were triggered after opposition politicians were forced to resign over their status as dual citizens.

A victory would ease the pressure on Mr Turnbull, who holds a one-seat majority in parliament and has been forced by coalition partners to adopt policies he previously opposed.

 

In November 2017, Mr Turnbull announced a wide-ranging inquiry into the scandal-hit finance sector, reversing his government's opposition to such a probe.