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Australian PM takes poll lead
Julia Gillard leads Tony Abbott in opinion polls a week before national elections.
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2010 06:13 GMT
Latest opinion polls show Tony Abbott, pictured, trailing the incumbent PM [AFP]

Julia Gillard, the incumbent Australian prime minister, has regained her lead in opinion polls ahead of national elections next weekend, a poll published on Saturday showed.

The country's first female prime minister's Labor party saw a four-point jump in primary and overall vote, leading Tony Abbott's conservative Liberal-National opposition coalition 53 per cent to 47 per cent in the latest Nielsen poll.

The poll, published in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, showed some 59 per cent saying they believed Labor would win the election to Abbott's 27 per cent, and Gillard had closed the gap in seats critical to her bid for office.

As preferred prime minister, Gillard led Abbott by 52 per cent to 38 per cent, the Nielsen survey of 1,356 voters found.

The August 21 election will decide the fate of the government's planned 30 per cent mining tax on big iron ore and coal projects, and its plans for a $33bn national broadband network.

A separate Newspoll in the must-win states of Queensland and New South Wales (NSW), and Gillard's home state of Victoria, showed the prime minister was on track to scrape into government.

"Possible gains in Victoria would mean Labor could govern in its own right by the narrowest of margins," said The Australian newspaper, which published Newspoll.

Strong showing

Gillard performed strongly in the campaign's fourth week - the period during which the surveys were conducted.

By contrast, Abbott attracted widespread derision with a vow to scrap the government's National Broadband Network, and floundered over details of his own cheaper but slower internet scheme when quizzed on national television.

"Labor's in front and is likely to win, but government is still there for the taking for Tony Abbott"

The Australian newspaper based on Newspoll 

The Nielsen poll found more people disapproved of Abbott's performance than approved (48 per cent to 45 per cent), giving him a net negative for the first time in the campaign.

Gillard's approval rating rose to 54 per cent and her disapproval dropped to 36 per cent.

The Newspoll of 3,351 voters in marginally-held seats showed a significant swing to Gillard in Victoria, countering considerable gains by Abbott in Queensland and New South Wales (NSW).

"Labor's in front and is likely to win, but government is still there for the taking for Tony Abbott," The Australian said.

Critically, Gillard looked to hold onto the bellwether electorate of Eden-Monaro, just outside the capital Canberra, according to Newspoll.

Every government which has won office since 1972 has taken the seat.

Source:
Agencies
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