Cash handouts, fuel excise cuts help the Coalition claw back poll support ahead

The cash handouts and fuel excise cut announced in last week’s federal budget have won the Morrison government back some much-needed support.

With an election expected to be called within days, the latest polling suggests the Coalition is closing the gap, with support for Labor slipping slightly.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down a handful of short-term cost-of-living savings in Tuesday’s budget, which Labor described as a clear attempt to buy votes ahead of the election.

These included a $250 payment to millions of welfare recipients and pensioners, a $420 payment to low and middle income earners at tax time and a halving of the fuel excise tax for the next six months.

The latest Newspoll released on Monday shows support for Labor suffering a minor tumble, but still strong enough to indicate an opposition victory.

The poll, conducted for The Australian, shows 38 per cent would vote for Anthony Albanese’s party to form the next government, a fall of three points.

The Coalition improved one point to 36 per cent.

The findings mean the contest has tightened to just two points from a six-point margin three weeks ago.

The Greens picked up two points to 10 per cent, while Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the United Australia Party remain unchanged on 3 per cent.

Anthony Albanese was unchanged on 42 per cent.

Mr Morrison has less than two weeks to call the federal election, which is expected to be held on either May 14 or 21.