• Poll shows Labor neck-and-neck with center-right opposition
  • Australian election due to be held within the next 12 months

Support for Australia’s center-left Labor government has slumped after a week of poor economic news and political tensions over immigration, according to a new poll, leaving Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s party at its equal lowest point since it won power two years ago.

In a Newspoll survey published by The Australian newspaper on Sunday, 50% of Australian voters surveyed said they supported the Labor government on a two-party preferred basis, while 50% said they were leaning toward the center-right Liberal National Coalition.

It’s Albanese’s worst polling result since November and far below the strong levels of support for his government shortly after it was elected in May 2022. The prime minister’s net satisfaction has also dropped to -7, down from a net rating of 0. Opposition leader Peter Dutton has enjoyed a boost to his popularity, though he still trails Albanese as preferred prime minister.

Australia is due to head to an election within twelve months.

The drop in support comes after a difficult week for the Albanese government, with new data last week showing Australia’s economy grew just 0.1% in the first three months of 2024 — below economist’s expectations. Year-on-year, Australia’s gross domestic product grew by 1.1%, also missing estimates.

It was the country’s weakest economic growth, outside of the Covid-19 pandemic, since the first quarter of 1992, when the country was emerging from a recession. Treasurer Jim Chalmers pointed to the result as vindication of his decision to boost government spending in the May budget, describing growth as “flat.”

It came just over a week after monthly inflation figures for April showed inflation was proving more sticky than expected in Australia.

The Albanese government also spent the past week defending its record on immigration after the opposition accused Labor of weakening deportation directions at the request of the New Zealand government. Following days of heated debate in Parliament, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles issued new directives on Friday intended to place a greater emphasis on community safety.

Written by:  @Bloomberg