Barnaby Joyce and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull celebrate at The Nationals Party at West Tamworth Leagues Club in Tamworth on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is campaigning in his former seat of New England.
Barnaby Joyce and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull celebrate at The Nationals Party at West Tamworth Leagues Club in Tamworth on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is campaigning in his former seat of New England. AAP Image - Tracey Nearmy

Coalition gains ground on Labor

MALCOLM Turnbull has received a significant boost from Australian voters in the latest Newspoll with the Coalition regaining some of the ground it had lost.

The last Newspoll, conducted by The Australian, showed Labor in front by 55 to 45 per cent. The numbers are now 53 to 47 per cent.

In other good news for Mr Turnbull, he has increased his lead over Bill Shorten as the country's preferred prime minister with the gap now at 39 to 33 per cent.

It halts a rocky few months for the government as parliament begins again on Monday with same sex marriage and citizenship questions facing many MPs on the agenda.

The Coalition's primary vote has improved from 34 to 36 per cent over three weeks.

Mr Turnbull yesterday spoke to The Australian about the "tough issues" facing the government.

"When you mark down what we have achieved, you can see that step by step, we're getting barnacles off the boat, we're making real changes resulting in real jobs and real investment," the Prime Minister said.

He said he didn't "run the government based on the Newspoll" and said nobody could claim he had broken any election promises.

"I have every confidence, every confidence, that I will lead the Coalition to the next election in 2019 and we will win it, because we are putting in place the policies that will deliver for the Australian people," he said.

Labor retains a strong lead over the Coalition and would take power with an advantage of more than a dozen seats if the latest Newspoll was repeated at an election, but the new figures show an improvement for Mr Turnbull and his government after weeks of terrible results.

But it's more bad news for Pauline Hanson's One Nation party after it captured a single seat in the Queensland election, it has seen its federal primary vote fall from 10 to 8 per cent as some voters swung back to the Coalition.

Labor has fallen to a primary vote of 37 per cent, down one percentage points over three weeks, while the Greens have increased their support by the same amount to 10 per cent.

The latest result is a rare lift in the Coalition's primary vote this year, on par with a two-point gain at the end of August but smaller than its three-point gain in late February.

This story was originally published in The Australian and is reprinted with permission.



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