Anthony Albanese has been called a ‘weak’ prime minister and a ‘beta male’ who is a ‘follower, not a leader’ and is not doing enough to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
Mr Albanese, who led Labor to victory in the May 2022 federal election, has also been described as ‘bland’.
The shock name calling emerged in focus groups carried out in marginal seats in Queensland and South Australia by RedBridge for News Corp.
It followed polling that showed Mr Albanese’s popularity was in freefall as voters abandoned Labor after an embarrassing string of policy failures.
That poll showed the Prime Minister’s approval rating had sunk to its lowest level since Labor won power 18 months ago.
Anthony Albanese (pictured right with his partner Jodie Haydon) has been called a ‘weak’ prime minister and a ‘beta male’ who is a ‘follower, not a leader’
The government’s vote fell four points to 31 per cent in just three weeks, while the Coalition’s rose a point to 38 per cent – its highest support since the election in May 2022.
On a two-party preferred basis, Labor and the Coalition are tied 50-50 in the poll, which would likely lead to Labor losing five seats and its majority if an election was held now.
The dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister continued with personal attacks, such as one who said Mr Albanese ‘wants to be liked but without making strong decisions’.
The focus groups were held in the knife-edge seats of Brisbane, Griffith and Ryan in Queensland and Sturt and Boothby in South Australia – electorates where people are doing it tough economically.
‘He hasn’t really addressed cost-of-living and I get there’s global factors at play but I don’t think he’s done much concrete action on it,’ one participant said.
Australia’s cost-of-living and Labor’s failure to make a dent in it was the factor that the focus groups kept coming back to, with some complaining Mr Albanese spends too much time out of the country.
‘I just don’t see a lot of action on cost-of-living pressures. He’s missing in action and now he’s running off overseas again,’ one said.
Even the rugby league team the Prime Minister follows came in for criticism, with a voter saying ‘he plays on Australian colloquialisms and wears that bloody Rabbitohs cap, it makes me cringe. It looks so staged.’
One voter said Mr Albanese ‘wears that bloody Rabbitohs cap, it makes me cringe. It looks so staged’. The Prime Minister is pictured wearing a Rabbitohs scarf
The only sliver of light for Mr Albanese is that some voters see him and Labor as bad, but not as bad as the alternative.
One pointed out that the government is ‘still dealing with all the debt that the previous government left’, while another said compared to Opposition leader Peter Dutton, Mr Albanese is ‘the lesser of two evils’.
‘I only see worse and worser in politics now. Albanese is worse but not worser,’ another said.