There's a clear link between scandals and disunity in government ranks and the trajectory of the Newspoll two-party preferred figure.
WHY HAS TURNBULL'S POLL POSITION TANKED?
- Following the July 2, 2016, double-dissolution federal election which Malcolm Turnbull won by a single seat, the August 30 Newspoll put the coalition and Labor at 50-50.
- Since then the coalition has consistently trailed Labor in two-party terms.
- The downward drift for the Liberal-National coalition occurred at the same time there was furious political debate over a compulsory same-sex marriage plebiscite, giving voters a clear impression of disunity in the government.
- Turnbull endured a terrible 2016-17 summer, losing minister Sussan Ley over an expenses scandal, facing a series of stories exposing Centrelink's "robodebt" plan, the leaked feisty phone call with Donald Trump and Liberal senator Cory Bernardi quitting to form Australian Conservatives.
- By mid-February 2017 the Newspoll two-party rating for coalition sunk to 45 per cent.
- As the parliamentary year began, the coalition's stocks picked up, hitting 48 per cent in March as Turnbull legislated for an MP expenses watchdog and secured a small business tax cut, giving an impression of getting on with the job.
- The government kept its stocks around 47 per cent by thawing the Medicare rebate freeze in the May budget, introducing a levy on the much-hated banks, talking about cuts to power bills and revealing Gonski 2.0.
- However, it all went awry with the citizenship scandal claiming Barnaby Joyce and others, and by November 2017 the coalition's two-party position was back to 45 per cent.
- Passing laws to allow same-sex marriage and a lack of any major controversy over the 2017-18 summer break helped lift the coalition's vote to 48 per cent in the first Newspoll for 2018 (February 18) which slipped back a point since then.
- But the fallout from the Joyce scandal set the government back again.
- An Ipsos/Fairfax poll published on the Saturday before the expected 30th Newspoll showed voters didn't want a change of prime minister and had the government and Labor 48-52.