Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s public approval rating hit its lowest level since the pandemic began amid growing frustration over lockdowns and a sluggish vaccination drive, according to a poll published on Monday.
A Newspoll conducted for The Australian newspaper showed Morrison’s public support dropped four points to 47%, the lowest level since he fielded criticism early last year over his government’s response to devastating bushfires.
Morrison’s Liberal-National Party coalition government is also trailing opposition Labor on a two-party preferred basis, where votes for minor parties are distributed, by 47-53. If the poll result were replicated at an election, the conservative government would lose office to centre-left Labor.
Morrison has been under fire for a slow vaccine rollout which critics said had plunged large parts of the country into a cycle of stop-and-start lockdowns to quell outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant.
Approval of Morrison’s handling of the pandemic has almost halved from a high of 85% in April last year, during the peak of the first wave of infections, to 48% in the latest survey.
Sydney and Melbourne – Australia’s two largest cities – are under hard lockdowns while southeast Queensland, home to the third-largest city of Brisbane, came out of strict stay-home orders on Sunday.
Snap lockdowns, tough border controls and swift contact tracing have helped Australia keep its pandemic numbers relatively low, with just over 36,250 cases and 938 deaths.
Photo: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. EPA-EFE/LUKAS COCH