Cost of living focus as Labor vote drops in new poll

The Albanese government has flagged a focus on cost of living measures as support for Labor dips in a new poll ahead of the May budget.

A Resolve poll published by Nine newspapers on Monday asked voters about cost of living pressures, with 55 per cent saying they would struggle to raise the few thousand dollars needed for a major expense.

The poll also found Australians are most concerned about grocery costs (55 per cent) and utility bills (37 per cent).

The government was focused on delivering cost of living relief rather than mulling its electoral prospects, cabinet minister Bill Shorten said.

"I'm concerned for Australians who are doing it tough, I'm not worried per se about the government's electoral fortunes," he told ABC radio on Monday.

The poll found Australians are most concerned about grocery costs.
A poll has found Australians are most concerned about grocery costs (55 per cent). (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Interest rate hikes had put pressure on household budgets so the government had worked to ensure the right fiscal measures were in place to allow the independent Reserve Bank to look at monetary policy at future meetings, Mr Shorten said.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers foreshadowed cost of living relief in the federal budget and further help "if it's affordable".

"We want our cost of living help to be part of the solution to inflation rather than part of the problem and so that will be a feature as well," he told reporters in Canberra.

But Liberal senator Hollie Hughes accused the government of breaking the trust of voters after promising cheaper power bills and mortgages at the last election on top of backflipping on its pledge to keep the original stage three tax cut package.

"(Labor) went to an election with a pledge for $275 to come off power bills," she told Sky News.

"How many lies can this Labor government tell?"

Labor and the coalition are neck and neck at 50 per cent each after preferences were distributed.

But Labor's primary vote is down two percentage points to 30 per cent against a one percentage point rise for the coalition to 36 per cent.

However, the Resolve Political Monitor also shows Prime Minister Anthony Albanese leading Opposition Leader Dutton on the preferred prime minister stakes, at 41 per cent to 32 per cent.

This tallies with a Newspoll conducted by The Australian, which shows Mr Albanese remains the preferred prime minister over Mr Dutton at 48 per cent compared to 35 per cent.

Labor's primary vote sits at 33 per cent, below the coalition at 38 per cent, according to the same poll.

But on a two-party preferred basis, Labor narrowly leads the opposition at 51 per cent to 49 per cent - unchanged from the previous poll.

The Newspoll also asked voters about Labor's Future Made in Australia Act, which will deploy public funds to give viable zero carbon industries and projects a leg-up so they can attract more private investment.

It found 56 per cent of voters agreed the government should actively invest in such projects, against 38 per cent who disagreed.

The 2024/25 budget will be handed down on May 14.

The Newspoll of 1236 voters was conducted online between April 15 and April 18.