It is no surprise the first federal opinion poll of 2022 was loaded with bad news for the Morrison government.
The LNP, and the Prime Minister, have had a horrible start to the year with COVID-19 deaths now topping hundreds a week, hospitalisations soaring to almost 5000, nearly 400 people in intensive care, and case numbers impossible to accurately discern.
Ambulance services are stretched to the limit, important "elective" surgeries are being cancelled, workers are threatening to strike against changes that would expose them to workplace infection, and RAT kits are still almost impossible to find.
The situation in Australia is as dire as it has ever been and will likely get worse before it gets better as millions of people return to work and to school at the end of the month. Mr Morrison, who urged premiers and chief ministers to "open up" before Christmas despite the already alarming Omicron variant surge, has been widely blamed for the setbacks.
That was reflected in this week's Resolve survey which saw the Coalition's primary vote fall from 39 per cent to 34 per cent, a five-point drop, since last November. Labor, by contrast, has seen its primary vote jump three points from 32 per cent to 35 per cent.
That said, it is surprising given the close association Mr Morrison has had with many of the Coalition's recent misfortunes - including the refusal to issue RAT kits free of charge and the bungled deportation of Novak Djokovic - that Anthony Albanese has not crept ahead as preferred PM. Mr Morrison is preferred by 38 per cent of survey respondents compared to 31 per cent for Mr Albanese. The Labor leader has managed to make up a lot of ground however. Last July 45 per cent of respondents preferred Mr Morrison over Mr Albanese who was languishing on 24 per cent.
Given the poll numbers Mr Morrison has little choice but to push the election back as far as he can go, possibly into May. He would be taking heart from early reports Omicron might be peaking - especially in the eastern states, and banking on an influx of RAT kits in the first weeks of February.
This election is still very much anybody's to win or lose.
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