Polls turn against Aus PM Gillard
Sydney - Australian
Prime Minister Julia Gillard lost her election lead to the opposition Saturday,
with polling showing her party's popularity sinking to levels that prompted the
shock axing of her predecessor.
suffered a spectacular reversal of fortunes in the campaign's second week, with
damaging leaks and the ghost of hospitalised former leader Kevin Rudd dogging
her bid to return the ruling Labor party to office.
vote slumped to 48 percent against the conservative Liberal/National
coalition's 52%, the latest Nielsen poll showed, a six percentage point shift
away from Gillard's centre-left party.
primary vote bled six percentage points in the week to 36% while the coalition,
led by Tony Abbott, gained four points to a commanding 45%.
numbers are similar to those recorded in early June, which Labor considered so
dangerous to its re-election chances it took the massive gamble of dumping
first-term prime minister Rudd in favour of Gillard, his deputy.
replicated at the August 21 polls the polling would translate to an
election-winning 4.7% swing against Labor and put Abbott's conservatives in
first female leader, Gillard enjoyed a brief honeymoon with the public, with an
initial poll bounce of 14 points after she deposed Rudd in a lightning
partyroom coup last month.
gloss appears to have come off her leadership, with her preferred prime
minister rating down 13 points Saturday to 49%, against Abbott's 41%.
formerly stratospheric rating among women had levelled to an even split with
struggled to make headway this week as her campaign was hit with damaging
high-level leaks claiming she had opposed popular welfare increases, and
widespread speculation Rudd had spilled the information to the press.
he would "never comment" on Cabinet discussions and was committed to
a Labor victory, as he was hospitalised for gall bladder surgery on Friday.
leaks dominated headlines on Saturday, with the Weekend Australian newspaper
reporting that Gillard had sent her former bodyguard to critical national
security briefings in her place when she was deputy leader.