Australians prefer dumped Rudd to PM Gillard: Poll

Kevin Rudd was dumped by Julia Gillard in sudden Labor Party coup last June.

Last Updated: Apr 18, 2011, 13:37 PM IST

Sydney: Most Australians would prefer former leader Kevin Rudd to return as prime minister instead of Julia Gillard staying in the top job, a poll released on Monday showed.

The Nielsen/Herald survey showed that Rudd, who was dumped by Gillard in a brutal and sudden Labor Party coup last June, led his former deputy 55 percent to 38 percent in a head-to-head match-up for preferred prime minister.

"The former prime minister has redeemed himself in the eyes of voters," the Sydney Morning Herald said in a page one story.

Gillard was comfortably ahead of conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott (50 percent to 42 percent) and tracking slightly better than Rudd at the time of his ousting when he dropped to just 41 percent approval.

But the poll of 1,400 voters underlined dissatisfaction with Gillard, with respondents for the first time more likely to say they disapproved of the prime minister`s performance than approved by 50 percent to 45 percent.

The poll said support for Labor was the lowest it had been in 15 years.

The Labor government, in which Rudd now serves as foreign minister, would win only 44 percent of the vote compared to the opposition Liberal/National coalition`s 56 percent if an election had been held last weekend, it said.

The poll is the latest to serve as a warning to Labor that the electorate is uncertain about its decision to press ahead with a tax on carbon emissions, a policy the opposition has said it will reverse if elected.

It found that while 34 percent of Australians support the scheme designed to curb Australia`s carbon pollution, opposition to a carbon price had risen three points since the previous month`s survey to 59 percent.

Gillard`s government has also promised tough budget cuts when it announces national finances on May 10, as it draws back spending in a bid to balance the books by 2012-2013.

Bureau Report