Support for Aus PM surges to record high

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Canberra, (Asian independent) Popular support for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has surged to a record high amid the coronavirus crisis, according to a new poll.

The latest edition of Newspoll published on Sunday night revealed universal support for the Morrison government’s A$130 billion ($77 billion) wage subsidy scheme, reports Xinhua news agency.

Morrison’s response to the pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented turnaround in support for a sitting Prime Minister.

He now leads Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Opposition Labor Party, by 53-29 in the preferred Prime Minister stakes after having fallen behind his counterpart during the bushfire crisis.

Morrison’s net satisfaction rating has turned around from negative 22 in January to positive 26 — the highest rating since former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the height of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2009.

His governing coalition now leads Labor 51-49 on two-party preferred terms, a three-point swing from trailing 48-52 at the beginning of February.

The poll was conducted as the spread of COVID-19 in Australia began to slow significantly as a result of strict social distancing measures and border closures implemented by the state and territorial governments.

It found that Australian voters remain most concerned about the impacts of the virus on the economy, with 84 per cent of respondents worried compared to 76 per cent in the middle of March.

Satisfaction with federal, state and territory governments’ economic response to COVID-19 has risen from 33 to 47 per cent.

However, the portion of people worried about the preparedness of the public health system has risen from 51 to 57 per cent.

The poll comes as the number of coronavirus cases in Australia as of Monday was 5,687, with 35 deaths.