Labor back on track: pollster

A new opinion poll shows Labor’s decision to dump Kevin Rudd in favour of Julia Gillard has put the party back on track, the man behind the research says.


The Nielsen poll, published in Fairfax newspapers on Monday, shows federal Labor leading the coalition 52 to 48 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

The government’s primary vote is 39 per cent, compared with the coalition’s 42 and the Greens’ 13 per cent.

Nielson research director John Stirton says the poll is more realistic than the big boost Ms Gillard received immediately after knifing Mr Rudd late in June, when Labor recorded a primary vote of 47 per cent.

“(But) it’s much better for Labor than the early June numbers (when) Labor was on 33 per cent,” he told ABC Radio.

“The changeover has given Labor the boost they needed.

“They’re in front and they’ve got a primary vote that can deliver victory.”

Mr Stirton said with Greens preferences Labor would win an election “fairly clearly” on Monday’s numbers.

Ms Gillard leads Opposition Leader Tony Abbott 56 per cent to 35 in the preferred prime minister stakes.

On the issue of asylum seekers, 44 per cent of voters think the coalition would better handle the boats, while 42 per cent favour Labor’s approach.

“That’s a bit closer than I expected and probably the coalition expected or Labor expected,” Mr Stirton said.

“In that sense, that’s a good result for Labor.”

Last week, Ms Gillard announced the government would reintroduce offshore processing of asylum claims.

The government is in negotiations with East Timor regarding the possibility of building a regional refugee processing centre on the island state.

A separate Galaxy poll, published in News Ltd newspapers on Monday, also has Labor ahead 52 to 48 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, but trailing 39 to 42 on the primary count.

According to Galaxy, 63 per cent of voters approve of Ms Gillard’s tougher stance on asylum seekers, while 26 per cent disapprove and 11 per cent remain undecided.

But 59 per cent of punters think the proposal wasn’t well thought out, compared to just 25 per cent who said it was.