Polls show little has changed in politics this year
FOR all the insults, scandals, fiery speeches, political stunts and leadership speculation, little appears to have changed on the Australian political landscape in 2012.
In fact, two polls out this week show the major parties have ended the year where they each began - with the Coalition well-positioned to win the 2013 election in a landslide.
Just as they did in January, both Newspoll and Essential have the Coalition enjoying a 54-46% two-party-preferred lead.
Any momentum Labor gained between September and October has been stopped in its tracks, with the party's primary vote taking a hit in both polls in recent weeks.
But despite Labor's diminishing support, Prime Minister Julia Gillard remains more popular than Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
However, voters remain less than enamoured with either leader.
On the question of who would make the better prime minister Newspoll and Essential again mirrored one another, with Ms Gillard holding a 43-34% lead over Mr Abbott.
Ms Gillard also enjoyed a better satisfaction rating - the difference between those who approve and disapprove - in both polls.
Ms Gillard's net satisfaction rating was -16 in both polls, while Mr Abbott's was -31 in the Newspoll and -23 in Essential.
Despite the gloomy end to the year, Ms Gillard was doing her best to remain upbeat on Tuesday.
She said next year's election would "not be decided on yesterday's polls".
"It will be decided on who has the best plans for the nation's future, who can ensure that the nation in an uncertain world is guided to a stronger future," Ms Gillard said.
Mr Abbott declined to comment on the Newspoll, saying Australians just "want a better life".
"I think they want a better government. I think they want less pressure on their cost of living and I think they want evidence that the government is focused on them, not focused on itself and every time politicians run a commentary on the polls I think they just reinforce the public's disdain for what they see as Canberra parliamentary games," Mr Abbott said.