Tony Abbott’s Knightmare Continues As His Approval Rating Plummets

Like him, hate him, feel wildly indifferent about him, whatever. No matter what your personal feelings are towards Prime Minister Tony Abbott, there’s no denying that the pressure on him right now is unprecedented – at least during his tenure in the nation’s top political job – with a storm of controversy and a media assault being waged the likes of which haven’t been seen since the relentless wave of anti-Government sentiment unleashed by the News Limited-backed campaign against the Rudd and Gillard Labor Governments.

Though, at least on paper, it may seem like the latest round of ill will brought upon him by the Knightmare furore might have run its course, it’s clear that his public perception has suffered as a result. And this is none more evident than in the latest opinion polls, which show that his approval ratings have taken a massive hit.
ReachTEL has released the results of a poll taken in the days following the Australia Day blunder, and the numbers are bleak. On a two party preferred basis, the ALP has seen a one point gain, extending their lead over the Coalition to 54% to 46% – the highest margin that Labor’s lead by since May of last year.
But even more shocking is Abbott’s own approval rating, which has fallen by a whopping 9.5 points to just 21.6%, with his disapproval rating soaring by the same margin, up to 61.6%.
As far as who the public prefers as Coalition leader, Abbott, on 18.1%, trails Malcolm Turnbull by a significant margin, leading from the front with a preferred leader rating of 44.6%.
And as for the Knightmare scandal, a mere 12.1% of people polled approved of the move, whilst the overwhelming majority of 71.5% vehemently did not.
On the other side of the ledger, however, things aren’t exactly rosy either. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten‘s approval rating did rise by 5.8 points, but only to a total of 27.1%. His disapproval rating, however, sits on 38.3%, suggesting respondents are preferring a “lesser of two evils” type situation.
With numbers like these it’s no surprise that even the usually staunchly pro-Liberal News Limited is turning on Tony Abbott, with the Courier Mail making him out to be a clown, Andrew Bolt calling his decisions “pathetically stupid,” Alan Jones suggesting he’s fallen out of touch, and head honcho Rupert Murdoch calling for the resignation of Abbott’s controversial Chief of Staff Peta Credlin.
If nothing else, with the numbers from the public and the growing voice of concern from usually supportive sectors of the media, you’d imagine it’s getting harder and harder for fellow Liberal MPs to run the risk of appearing stubborn and foolish by continually backing the embattled PM within the public sphere.
You can’t help but feel that, at some point soon, this is all going to come to a spectacular head.
Photo: Cameron Spencer via Getty Images.