If the Nine and Seven’s Network’s debate worms were any guide to his election chances, Tony Abbott better get a wriggle on, especially with women.
But Prime Minister Julia Gillard has work to do on climate change and her move against former Labor leader Kevin Rudd.
The worms put Ms Gillard well ahead of Mr Abbott in the final analysis of Sunday night’s leaders’ debate
Nine’s worm handing a 63 per cent to 37 victory to the Prime Minister while Seven’s worm handed the ALP 53 per cent of the audience vote.
The worm also showed that Women scored Ms Gillard more highly, giving her a 66-34 win over the opposition leader.
The men’s verdict was narrower, but still decisive, giving Ms Gillard the win 61 per cent to 39.
Mr Abbott scored negatively, particularly with women, each time he criticised Ms Gillard personally.
But he was strongest when he discussed his support for paid parental leave and his plans to introduce a wider paid parental leave system in government.
His claim that a return of Labor would lead to more waste such as that seen with the schools building and home insulation programs also resonated strongly with the sample audience.
Ms Gillard scored most highly with both men and women, but especially with women, when she discussed the My School website and plans to further improve school and trades education.
The so-called East Timor solution for a regional processing centre was a low-point for Ms Gillard, and changes to tax rebates and the pension to improve the living standards of families and older people.
Talk of Ms Gillard’s leadership on climate change was a high point for Mr Abbott.
Men and women enthusiastically supported his assertion that her community forum on climate change was really no policy at all.
Ms Gillard’s refusal to say when and how she had warned Mr Rudd about the fate of his government before she moved to take the leadership also proved unpopular.