Melbourne: Australia`s ruling Labor party is heading for a huge defeat in the upcoming elections in September and Prime Minister Julia Gillard`s popularity is on the wane, according to new national polls.
The latest Newspoll conducted over the weekend gave a strong lift to opposition leader Tony Abbott in the preferred Prime Minister stakes, `The Australian` reported.
The survey is being dubbed as a complete reversal of fortune for the Australian Labor party from the summer-holiday affected January poll, and a much-needed personal boost for the opposition leader Abbott.
The poll puts Labor`s primary support at 32 per cent, a wipeout of the six-point gain recorded between December and January, as the opposition`s support rose four percentage points to 48 per cent in the past three weeks, the daily said.
The Greens steady on 9 per cent and "others" going from 9 per cent to 11 per cent since the poll in January, the two-party-preferred figure has the Coalition, a group of centre-right conservative parties in the opposition, back with a huge election-winning lead of 56 per cent to 44 per cent, it said.
Labor`s primary vote is back to the level it was at the end of the parliamentary year in December, and the Coalition`s primary support is the highest since July last year.
On a two-party-preferred basis, using preference flows at the 2010 election, the Coalition has its biggest lead since July, it further said.
A Galaxy poll has put Labor`s support at 35 per cent and the Coalition`s at 48 per cent which gives a two-party- preferred lead for the Coalition of 54 per cent to 46 per cent.
Apart from the party votes, the Newspoll revealed the biggest shift in sentiment in the past three weeks has occurred on the question of who would be the better Prime Minister, with Gillard`s clear six-month lead over Abbott coming to end as she announced the election for September 14 this year.
Gillard`s support as preferred Prime Minister fell four percentage points from 45 per cent to 41 per cent, while Abbott`s support rose six points from 33 per cent to 39 per cent.
The two-point lead in Gillard`s favour is the closest the two leaders have been since September last year.
Gillard`s 41 per cent is the lowest since August last year and Abbott`s 39 per cent is the highest he has had since July last year.
There were also real shifts in personal standing of the individual leaders, with dissatisfaction rising from 49 per cent to 52 per cent for Gillard, while satisfaction with the job she is doing dropped from 38 to 36 per cent, the same level as at the end of last year.
Satisfaction with Abbott`s job as Opposition Leader jumped to a four-month high of 33 per cent, up from 29 per cent in January and 28 per cent in December, while dissatisfaction went down from 58 to 56 per cent in the poll.