Josh Frydenberg said there was a “message” in the Coalition’s latest drop in the polls as the treasurer tries to position the government as the underdog ahead of the next election.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg claimed the latest Newspoll shows Australians ‘continue to get it very tough’ but have doubled the government’s toll during the pandemic.
The Morrison government fell to its lowest point since Scott Morrison took over from his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull when the Coalition fell far behind Labour, according to Newspoll published in The Australian.
Labor leads the coalition 56-44 in the Preferred Two Party (TPP) stakes, while Mr Morrison now holds a slender lead of two points over his counterpart Anthony Albanese in terms of preferred Prime Minister.
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Mr Frydenberg said he remained confident, drawing comparisons to polls ahead of the 2019 election, which showed the government heading for a significant defeat.
“I don’t need to remind you and the media that the only poll that matters is election day,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky News Australia host Peter Stefanovic on Monday.
“We were delisted in 2019, many obituaries were written by the media and our political opponents who got ahead of themselves.”
He said the poll highlighted the continued struggle of Australians throughout the pandemic, but added the government was “heeding this message”.
As daily record coronavirus cases began to decline, hospitalizations and economic factors continued to affect households.
Consumer confidence has plunged in recent weeks as tens of thousands of people across the country have been plunged into COVID-19 isolation.
“There is a message in this Newspoll. And it is that many Australians continue to do it very hard, ”said Mr Frydenberg.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic, we had a frustrating summer with the massive spike in Omicron cases; many Australians have had their holidays disrupted and we are heeding that message.
The Treasurer acknowledged the Government was out of the polls 18 months after peaking the TPP’s lead over Labor of 52-47 at the height of the first wave of the pandemic.
“The Prime Minister, I and our colleagues have all said we are coming from behind, it is a very difficult environment but there are no rules in this pandemic,” he said.
The election is expected to take place in May and the government is expected to use an end-March budget to organize its election campaign.
The Newspoll survey, commissioned by The Australian, was conducted from January 25-28, with 1,526 voters polled online.