Australians see Malcolm Turnbull as a more capable leader than his opponent Bill Shorten, but lacking in empathy, according to a survey of 50,000 Fairfax Media readers.
The first analysis of the YourVote tool, which plots respondents' views on the political spectrum, also found Labor is starkly at odds with its base on the offshore processing of asylum seekers.
Readers were asked to rate the three party leaders from a scale of zero to 10 on how capable they were of running the country, and how much they understood the concerns of average Australians.
Mr Turnbull was awarded a mean score of 5.9 on capability to govern, but only 4.6 on empathy. Mr Shorten, meanwhile, averaged 5 on capability and 5.3 on empathy.
Coalition supporters overwhelmingly backed their leader as a better governor, awarding him a score of 8.3, while Labor supporters were cooler on their leader, scoring him at 6.7
Greens voters gave leader Richard Di Natale a score of 6.3 on his capability to govern, but 7.1 on empathy. They were also positive about Mr Shorten on both counts.
"Voters want both these qualities in leaders now: demonstrated capacity to lead the country versus being authentic and able to understand the lives of ordinary people," said the University of Sydney's professor Ariadne Vromen, a professor of political sociology who is advising Fairfax Media on the YourVote project.
"And it is also easy to see how each party is using these qualities to attack the other leader: Turnbull as out-of-touch and Shorten as not a capable economic manager."
On policy matters, the most divisive issue was the offshore processing of asylum seekers. Only 38 per cent of readers supported the regime, which has seen refugees and asylum seekers incarcerated on Manus Island and Nauru for long periods in poor conditions.
Just 24 per cent of Labor supporters wanted offshore processing to continue, despite the party's steadfast commitment to the policy. Among Coalition supporters, 73 per cent wanted the policy to continue - as well as 11 per cent of people likely to vote Green.
A slim majority (51 per cent) of respondents wanted the government to regulate for more affordable housing, even if meant raising taxes. This was backed by 66 per cent of people who identified as likely Labor voters, and 73 per cent of likely Greens voters. More than a quarter of Coalition supporters also backed the measure.
Housing affordability has been a significant issue in the election campaign, prompted by Labor's promise to abolish negative gearing except for new homes and reduce the capital gains tax discount.
On another controversial question, just over 50 per cent of readers agreed that "new mothers should not be able to claim paid parental leave from both the government and their employers", a reference to what has been labelled "double dipping".
The Coalition government, under then-prime minister Tony Abbott, vowed to end the practice in the 2015/16 budget. But the legislation failed to pass the Senate, and parents can still claim almost $12,000 from the government on top of their employer-funded benefits.
Among Coalition supporters, 65 per cent opposed double dipping, as well as 43 per cent of Labor supporters and 38 per cent of Greens supporters.
The data was collected from 50,000 Australians who took Fairfax Media's YourVote survey since it launched on Tuesday. People accessing the survey from outside Australia were not included in the analysis, as were those who spent less than a minute using the tool.
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