Bill Shorten was the most unpopular Labor leader in more than 30 years, costing the party significant votes in this year's election, a new study shows.
"Bill Shorten's popularity represented a historic low for any major party leader in recent times and this undoubtedly disadvantaged Labor," report authors Sarah Cameron and Ian McAllister said.
Very few voters were drawn to Labor on leadership and lack of trust in Mr Shorten exacerbated Labor's economic disadvantage.
The leadership cost Labor 4 per cent of votes, they estimate. While only 7 per cent of voters said they cast their votes on leadership, 76 per cent of those voted for the Coalition.
Australian National University Trends in Australian Political Opinion report, out on Monday, said elections from 2010 and 2016 were won by unpopular leaders competing against even more unpopular opponents.
But the 2019 election broke that trend, with Mr Morrison the most popular leader to win an election since Mr Rudd in 2007.
Bill Shorten was disliked, with a voter rating of 3.97 at the election, well below the neutral point of 5.
Every other Labor leader of the past 30 years has topped 5 except Julia Gillard, who fell to 4.89 after becoming party leader. Mark Latham scored 5.04 in likeability and Bob Hawke trumped everyone, at 6.22.
Voter dislike of Mr Shorten was also reflected in Labor's own election review which put his unpopularity at the centre of the party's shock election loss. When Mr Shorten won a leadership ballot over Mr Albanese in 2013, he did so with the backing of his parliamentary colleagues - Labor's wider membership preferred Mr Albanese in a ratio of 60:40.
He was to some extent the victim of a general decline in voter regard for leaders, with Scott Morrison the only leader to top 5 since the Rudd/Howard election of 2007, with an overall likeability rating of 5.14. He was exceptionally popular among Liberal voters, tthe ANU pair found.
Mr Shorten fell behind the minor party leaders too, with the Nationals' Michael McCormack on 4.38 and the Greens' Richard Di Natale on 4.02. Malcolm Turnbull, who wasn't even in the race, rated 4.76.
Voters don't think much of either Mr Morrison's or Mr Shorten's intelligence, with 72 per cent assessing Mr Morrison as intelligent and 63 per cent Mr Shorten. Most leaders of the past quarter century have rated much higher, with 89 per cent describing Paul Keating as intelligent, 90 per cent for Mr Howard and 92 per cent for Mr Rudd. Only Mssrs Latham (73 per cent) and Abbott (69 per cent) have plumbed the depths of Mssrs Morrison and Shorten.
Mr Morrison was regarded as honest by 49 per cent of voters, a higher rating than for many leaders of recent years (34 per cent rated Mr Shorten as honest).
Across the board, Mr Morrison rated slightly higher on personality traits than Mr Turnbull, whom he ousted as leader last year. Mr Turnbull is considered decidedly more intelligent and knowledgeable than Mr Morrison (84 per cent of voters consider Mr Turnbull intelligent and 78 per cent knowledgeable, compared with 72 per cent and 68 per cent for Mr Morrison). But Mr Morrison is considered a stronger leader (63 percent, compared with Mr Turnbull's 52 per cent), more compassionate (51 per cent compared with 44 per cent for Mr Turnbull), and more voters rate him honest and trustworthy.
Despite that, voters overwhelmingly disapproved of the way Mr Turnbull was ousted by Mr Morrison, with 74 per cent disapproving. No coup has had such as high disapproval rating since Julia Gillard ousted Kevin Rudd in 2010.
Mr Shorten was rated marginally intelligent and knowledgeable, but only 37 per cent regarded him a strong leader, 34 per cent honest, 30 per cent trustworthy and 21 per cent inspiring - well below Labor's primary vote of 33 per cent. No leader has had so few people regarding them as inspiring in more than 25 years.