Julia Gillard`s popularity slides down: Polls

The rise in Australian PM`s disapproval was statistically significant.

Updated: Feb 14, 2011, 13:09 PM IST

Melbourne: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard`s popularity has plummeted down with the Coalition grabbing 54 percent two-party lead, according to the latest national poll.

The result is said to be the biggest lead for the opposition over the Gillard government in Age-Nielsen polls.

The Coalition`s two-party vote was up three percentage points since November, with Labor`s down three points, `The Age` report said.

However, Gillard`s announcement on flood levy, introduced into Parliament last week, was supported by 52 percent, while almost two-thirds approve of her response to the summer`s natural disasters - despite criticism that she looked "wooden".

The national poll, taken on Thursday to Saturday, came at the end of a difficult week for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, with leaks about a row with his deputy Julie Bishop and controversy over remarks he made in Afghanistan last year.

Labor`s primary vote fell three points since November to 32 percent; the Coalition was up three to 46 percent, while the Greens were down a point to 12 percent.

Gillard`s approval was down two points to 52 percent; her disapproval rose four points to 43 percent.

The rise in disapproval was statistically significant, but the movements in voting numbers were not.

Gillard has been more popular with women than with men (55-48 percent).

The poll shows the government making little progress with the carbon price.

With a proposal for a July 2012 start to a price going to a cross-party committee this week, people remain split 46 percent in favour and 44 percent against, the same as last October.

The 54-46 percent vote is based on preference flows at the election, giving the Coalition probably its best lead since 2005.

If preferences are distributed by how people say they would allocate them, the result is 53-47 percent, the best opposition lead since May.