A LIBERAL LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE BEFORE THE NEXT ELECTION?
WHY THERE WON'T BE
* The Newspoll result was one of only a number of factors cited by Malcolm Turnbull as the reason for ousting Tony Abbott. The economy, poor decisions (such as knighthoods) and lack of consultation with MPs were also reasons.
* In any case, the Newspoll has a margin of error of 2.5 points, which theoretically could make a 52-48 to Labor result in fact a dead-heat.
* Turnbull has consistently led Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister.
* MPs are hopeful the Budget will lift the government's stocks, especially income tax cuts for families and a raft of policies aimed at Baby Boomers.
* Turnbull and his cabinet ministers have been addressing the concerns of backbenchers (no matter how minor) including funding for local projects and setting up inquiries into MPs' favourite topics. This is crucial to shore up numbers in the party room, not to mention get some voter kudos.
* There is no clear alternative leader, nor is there evidence that a change would vastly improve the party's poll position.
* The transaction cost of following Labor in dumping two sitting prime ministers is way too high to contemplate.
* There is still plenty of time for Labor to trip up. The deadline for an election is May 2019.
* There is no Liberal party room meeting scheduled until federal budget day, May 8, and there is little chance Liberal MPs would want to spoil the party that day.
WHY THERE COULD BE
* There is little evidence to suggest the Newspoll will turn around, given voters locked in their support for a change to Labor just after the 2016 election.
* While voters appreciate more jobs have been created, they feel aggrieved by slow wages growth, the rising cost of living (including energy and health), and not getting their fair share of economic good times.
* Turnbull doesn't go in hard enough to personally attack Bill Shorten, who has a weak personal rating in polls. Turnbull may be a good leader in government, but the Liberals need a tough campaigner to win the election.
* The Liberals need a leader who represents the traditional conservative base better than Turnbull, who is considered a moderate.