PM's approval slumps as public shows support for fixed terms

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard's net approval rating has dropped 11 points in a month as the government's poor start to the year continues.

The weekly Essential poll shows those who approve of the job Ms Gillard has been doing dropped from 41% in January to sit at 36% in the latest poll, while the number who disapprove was up six points to 55%.

It left her with a net approval rating - the difference between those who approve and those who don't - of -19.

The news was much better for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who enjoyed a seven-point jump in his net approval rating to -17.

Those who approve of Mr Abbott's performance was up three points to 36%, while his disapproval rating dropped 4% to 53%.

Mr Abbott has also narrowed the gap considerably on the question of who would make the better prime minister.

A month ago he trailed Ms Gillard 42-33, but in the latest poll the margin has been slashed to two points, 39-37%.

The Coalition also extended its two-party-preferred lead over Labor 10 points, 55-45%.


Call for fixed terms

AUSTRALIANS would welcome a switch to four-year, fixed terms for our federal politicians, an Essential poll shows.

Essential asked almost 1900 people if they favoured set election dates every four years as opposed to the current system in which the government can choose a date chooses the election date at three-year intervals.

Just 23% of respondents told Essential they wanted to keep the current system, while a massive 63% supported a switch to fixed, four-year terms.

The support for change was consistent across all demographic and voter groups.

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